Clearly Xabi Alonso's presence in the midfield is sorely missed.
History repeated itself between Stoke and Liverpool, at the Britannia stadium this time. Stoke, with their stubborn defence and annoying Olympic-worthy throw-ins equipped with towels at the sidelines to wipe the ball; Liverpool, unable to get behind the generous space that Stoke's back 4 has left behind for us to exploit, but of course, how can we rely on Kuyt to do justice for almost 60 minutes of the game.
Rafa was either a) high on his medication or b) got his head stuck among the clouds on the fact that he managed to slam S.A.F with some really impressive stats and analysis. Why he chose a 4-5-1 formation in an away game, with Kuyt as lone striker, when Torres and especially Keane has proven they could deliver the goods lately, is beyond my comprehension.
Stoke was the more dangerous side during the first half. Delap went close to scoring, but his shot hit the woodwork. Shawcross almost stole 3 points from us but his goal was ruled offside. Stoke added a lot of pressure with their incessant attackings and new signing, Etherington, who was an instant hit on the pitch and with the fans. Kuyt's header on the 9th min was off-target, and that was probably Liverpool's best chance in the first half.
Second half saw Liverpool sustaining most of the possessions, but with Lucas Leiva playing, it's highly doubtful anything brilliant will come off from midfield. More so since he is quite fond of giving away silly free kicks and losing the ball. Again, not sure why Rafa decided to substitute Riera, to bring in Torres. He should have taken out Leiva or Benayoun, and get Keane in on the action as well. Gerrard almost nicked one in, but like Delap, the woodwork denied him. Wonder what Maradona thinks of our lacklustre performance :\
And so Liverpool missed another golden opportunity to go 6 points clear at the top. Fergie is probably getting a kick out of this, and let's hope Gene Hackman does good on Super Sunday.