Liverpool Book Place At Wembley Semi Final
|Suarez dedicated his goal to Fabrice Muamba...|
Pulis's side entered the game in the sort of fashion we were all expecting, they got stuck in and attempted to break down the passing movement especially within the Liverpool midfield. It took it's time to work but eventually Stoke did begin to frustrate Liverpool.
Despite Stoke's best efforts, it was Liverpool that grabbed the first goal. A superb finish from Luis Suarez left Stoke keeper Sorensen stunned as the Reds went 1-0 up.
Liverpool couldn't celebrate for long though as Stoke found themselves with a cluster of corners to take advantage of. Despite the fact that their last corner that led to the goal blatantly wasn't one, Liverpool quite frankly should have dealt with the threat better.
The corner was whipped in by Matthew Etherington and it was Andy Carroll who made the mistake of letting Crouch free in to space. The ex Liverpool man easily headed home whilst Liverpool made calls for obstruction to Reina.
In my opinion Reina wasn't really being obstructed and it seemed unlike him to just allow himself to be bossed around, he didn't seem to fight for his place in that corner whereas to me it looked as though he could of and should of.
This didn't matter though because Stoke were now level and to save themselves a replay Liverpool would need another goal from somewhere.
Things stayed level into extra time and at this stage it looked like the game could go either way.
It was refreshing to see the introduction of Maxi Rodriguez and great to see him set up Suarez for Liverpool's first but it was clear that at some stage either himself or Downing would need to be subbed to provide Liverpool with another angle. For me, there was too much focus on balls in from the wing and play needed to be pushed into the centre because Stoke were dealing well with the crosses and corners.
Just before the hour mark the Reds managed to find another goal. An accidental one two between Steven Gerrard and Stewart Downing allowed the number 19 to take another touch and give himself enough space to put his effort past Sorensen. Another great goal for the Reds.
After this goal Stoke introduced Pennant to the play whilst Liverpool took off Maxi and replaced him with Dirk Kuyt. The Reds weren't quite out of danger yet and whilst Kuyt offers options in attack we also know how tenacious he is in getting possession back and also defending where needs be.
Stoke also introduced Cameron Jerome ten minutes later as they tried to enhance their attack. But it was too little too late. Liverpool held on to their 2-1 lead and successfully booked themselves a place in the FA Cup semi finals at Wembley.
Liverpool have drawn Everton or Sunderland. If Everton can get through their replay then what a fantastic day out at Wembley that would be!
Next up for Liverpool is Queens Park Rangers.