It wasn’t always pretty, and for long stretches Liverpool looked at risk of falling into the same old narrative of missing their chances and allowing a late equaliser. In the end, though, they got their victory over Stoke City. A rather comfortable one, even, by the final scoreline.
Up until Mohamed Salah’s introduction as a second half substitute and his two goals, though, it had been a tight and nervy outing. To Liverpool’s credit, though, it had also been a tight and nervy outing that hadn’t seen Stoke get many good chances at getting themselves an eqauliser.
"We know it’s always a tough place to come here away to Stoke and that is why it’s an important win for us,” centre half Joe Gomez told the club’s official website following the victory on Wednesday. "We got the clean sheet and that was our main focus at 3-0 up to try and see it out.
"We have let a few leads slip and as a back four it’s one of our focal points in an away game. As soon as we score we think, 'let’s keep a clean sheet', because if you do that you win, so it’s massive for us. Hopefully we can try and keep as many as we can.”
There was some good fortune involved, though. Stoke could have gotten themselves a late goal but missed their chance to make the scoreline a little more respectable. And a Simon Mignolet incident in the first half probably should have ended in a Stoke goal or a red card for the ‘keeper.
If that moment had gone differently, the story of the rest of the game might well have, too. It didn’t, though, and outside that one potentially catastrophic moment in the first half, Liverpool kept Stoke looking rather less than dangerous until Salah’s introduction and goals sealed the game.
"He’s in amazing form and the goals he brings to the team are massive for us,” Gomez added. "Not just him, our attacking force is so strong and we still had him to bring on. Especially in this period now it’s going to be gruelling so we all have to be ready to do our bit."