Stoke City 6: Diouf 22' 26', Walters 30', Adam 41', N'Zonzi' 45', Crouch 86'
Liverpool 1: Gerrard 70'
- Pre-match thoughts: In Steven Gerrard's final match, he started along with no less than six other midfield players scattered throughout the starting eleven. Emre Can was at right-back again, Joe Allen and Lucas were restored to the side to join Jordan Henderson, and Philippe Coutinho and Adam Lallana were the only "forwards" that started with Raheem Sterling relegated to the bench. It was confusing.
- And it was pretty not good, as it turned out. Stoke had a cluster of early yellow cards, with Charlie Adam arguably doing enough to get sent off for two separate incidents, but Lallana and Coutinho were mostly left alone to battle Stoke's physical defenders going forward. Lallana curled a decent chance just outside the post with his left foot for the best part of the early going.
- And then Stoke scored five goals. Emre Can was at fault for each of the first three, literally heading it to Jon Walters two feet in front of the Liverpool goal, and errors from Mamadou Sakho and Lucas contributed to the fourth. Steven N'Zonzi's curler--Stoke's fifth--was an unstoppable shot to round out the first half scoring. Five goals. Five. F-I-V-E.
- Half-time thoughts: Everything hurts. That very well could be a half that ends Brendan Rodgers' tenure as manager. Confusing selections, no answers evident, and those five goals conceded. FIVE.
- The manager responded by bringing on Kolo Toure and Jordon Ibe for Can and Alberto Moreno and switching to three at the back. Ibe was positive on the left, and Liverpool managed to create a few chances in the first twenty minutes, including an open look for Lallana that was saved by Asmir Begovic.
- Rickie Lambert arrived at the Red Wedding just in time to challenge for an aerial ball that ended up with Gerrard free on goal to roll past Begovic for a consolation goal. It was emotional despite the scoreline, heightened by the misery that Liverpool had brought upon themselves with the abysmal first half display.
- Liverpool were well on top even though it was meaningless, with Ibe leading the way and some energy going forward. Adam Lallana was denied another potential penalty on a clear foul by Erik Pieters, but the 5-1 scoreline makes it easy to swallow the whistle.
- Peter Crouch capped off the scoring with a header that shouldn't have been made so easy by Sakho and Toure.
- Full-time thoughts: Everything still hurts. Roll on the summer, and whatever may come with it. Goodbye (and really really sorry) Stevie.
We'll be back shortly to take an in-depth look at everything that happened in today's game with the full recap. Until then, let us know your take on the ups and downs of the match in the comments, and if you haven't already, join the community on the Liverpool Offside, where we'll continue to focus on all things Liverpool in what's sure to be a lively summer.