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Liverpool 4, Stoke City 1: First Thoughts

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Jürgen Klopp's faith in his depth options is repaid with aplomb.

Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

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Liverpool 4 Moreno 8', Sturridge 32', Origi 50', Origi 65'
Stoke City 1 Bojan 22', Player XX'

  • Pre-game Thoughts: Now that's what we call rotation. A couple first choice guys, a couple subs, a couple yutes. If this lineup can pull out the result against a nearly first-choice Stoke City, it goes a very long way towards Liverpool's collective confidence for a run-in that still offers sixth place and a trophy.

  • A backpass from Skrtel to start that Mignolet puts out of bounds, and a turnover from Stewart in a dangerous position. Get those nerves out early, lads.

  • 4-3-3 with Milly sporting the armband and Skrtel's sporting a shiner. Battlewound Skrtel is generally a form Skrtel.

  • Stewart with an outstanding turn in midfield to shield possession from Imbula's telescoping legs after Moreno's pass was a shade off.

  • ***GOAL*** Moreno 8' You beauty!!! Milner takes the short corner from the left channel, absolutely no one steps up on Moreno, and he reminds the world what his left boot is capable of. What a strike!

  • Moreno literally the furthest Red forward, to the tune of getting called offside after getting put through on goal. If that's not indicative of the guy's role in Klopp's gameplan, we don't know what is.

  • Two of Mignolet's three clearances from pass backs have failed to clear the midfield line. Just saying.

  • Studge's wonderfully executed clearing pass from a corner springs a Bobby Digital break, but the Brazilian's low cross in fails to evade the black shirts charging back on defense.

  • Peter Crouch and Xherdan Shaqiri should be tapped up for Twins 2.

  • ***GOAL*** Bojan 22' The Catalan forward simply waltzes up completely unmarked to flick the inswinging Shaqiri cross home. You cannot do a worse job tracking a forward on a set piece.

  • A Crouch header finds its way into the net, but gets called offside. Studge puts a crack from 20 yards just wide. We got a ballgame breaking out here, folks.

  • Our heart bleeds with that shot of pouty Hendo in the stands.

  • ***GOAL*** Sturrdige 32' Ojo's growing up. His drift from the right side of the pitch to stitch possession all the way over to the left side ends with him chipping a gimme to the far post for the arriving Sturridge. Danny is quick to heap praise on the youngster, and that was about as fine an example of head's up wide play as Liverpool have had all year.

  • Shaqiri peeps Shawcross being guarded by Wee Joe Allen on a set piece, and the Englishman damn near finds the far post on the flicked header. Yep, Joe Allen on Shawcross.

  • And on a subsequent set piece, Skrtel is lined up on Bojan, while Clyne is on Crouch. This is the sort of stuff that has Klopp rockin about 35% more gray in his beard than he began the year with.

  • Halftime: Set pieces, then. And Xherdan can prolly lay off the deadlifting for a couple years, maybe. Our halftime team talk involves bacon, eggs, and butter coffee. You tried butter coffee, yet?  It's weird, but we kinda like it.

  • Origi on for Ojo, which has got to be down to injury, which /sigh...

  • ***GOAL*** Origi 50' Nicely worked short corner sees Milner put in an beautiful ball off his left, that finds a wide open Divock. Huge.

  • Pieters' clearance slams off a charging Firmino and nearly loops into goal!

  • Imbula is quite impressive.

  • Shaqiri, again, with a peach of a set piece delivery that finds Cameron for a pirouetted header, but great athleticism from Mignolet to pop it over the bar.

  • Does it count as Shaqiri falling down if there is no actual down for him to fall to?

  • Continuing the work they put in during the first half against Southampton, Sturridge and Origi are taking turns dropping deep, while the other makes the diagonal run across the backline. It's clearly a training ground tactic at play, and it's a joy to behold.

  • #Kololol

  • Firmino getting in on the act now, following up a spank at the near post with a through ball that almost finds a drifting Origi.

  • And now we're cooking with gas. Firmino finds Studge on the edge of the box, who off-foots a backheel to put Moreno through, who rakes one across the face of goal onto Origi's fivehead for a shot put just wide. Sexy, sexy stuff.

  • Adam Lallambchops on for Firmino. Clearly an eye on Thursday there from Klopp, because Firmino was really coming to a boil in this second half.

  • ***GOAL*** Origi 65' Sprinting twinkle toes from the left, to a cut in for a deadly cross that Studge would have gotten to if it hadn't already been going into goal. We got ourselves a monster in Divock Origi, folks.

  • STURRIDGE GRABBING HIS THIGH KLAXON

  • Joe Allen winning the ball off Cameron in midfield is a reminder that this blue-collar midfield trio has really done the job for Klopp today. Milner's cross is as close as it got to spectacular from the three, just quietly making things easier for the forward and back lines.

  • Papa Lucas is back! Precautionary move for Allen after the Welshman appeared to have rolled his ankle a bit.

  • Suffice it to say James Milner is continuing his rich vein of form from central midfield. 

  • You ain't right for that one, DStudge. Also, a full 90 from DS15!

  • YNWA rings in the job done, and now Tuchel's Dortmund.

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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 have full coverage and lively in-game discussion for every match this season.