Goals galore at the Britannia in a 5-3 thriller that proved to be a very physical battle from the start.
And from that start is where Liverpool prospered just five minutes in. Defender Aly Cissokho from just outside the arc of the penalty area tried a shot that looked to be well wide, but it met with the torso of Stoke defender Ryan Shawcross.
Liverpool doubled their lead with a controlled finesse shot from the right side of the goal. Who else, but the league’s leading goal scorer, Luis Suarez.
But less than ten minutes later stoke would answer to Liverpool’s top scorer with an ex-Liverpool scorer. Peter Crouch catches the away defence off guard and the big man scores to make the score 2-1 Liverpool.
Five minutes later it was another former red in Charlie Adam who would tie up the game. A small slip allowed Charlie Adam perfect positioning behind the football and just 20 yards out which is when Adam pulled his left leg back and scored a laser into the right side of the goal making it 2-2. Four minutes of stoppage time after that and both teams went level into the dressing room, Stoke certainly the happier of the two.
Controversy just five minutes into the second half when 18 year old Raheem Sterling went to ground with what seemed to look like a soft challenge. Nevertheless the penalty was given to Liverpool and it was captain Steven Gerrard who stepped up and coolly slotted home the pen into the bottom right corner for the 3-2 lead.
Cards were prevalent mid-way through the second half, the first going to Liverpool defender Aly Cissokho after clattering face to face with a Stoke winger.
Five minutes later Stoke would share the bookings as well after Ryan Shawcross dished out some harsh defending Luis Suarez in the midfield.
The SAS made its return as Daniel Sturridge was swapped on for young Brazilian Philippe Coutinho in the 65th minute. Bringing on Sturridge proved to be a smart move for Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers when in the 70th minute Luis Suarez scored another one of his classic after a spot on pass from Daniel Sturridge.
Stoke made a swap four minutes after the goal as Steven N’Zonzi replaced Stephen Ireland and it had its benefits as well when the 84th minute came and Jonathon Walters scored what looked to be an easy save for Simon Mignolet making the score 3-4 to Liverpool with just minutes remaining on the clock.
But it was too little too late and the English half of the SAS would drive that point home in the 87th minute when he forced in a previously saved effort from goalkeeper Jack Butland who made his first Premier League appearance for Stoke.
Referee Anthony Taylor blew the whistle after 95 minutes of thrilling football at the Britannia with the final score Stoke 3, Liverpool 5.
Liverpool will head home and host Aston Villa on the 18th and travel to either Bournemouth or Burton Albion on the 25th for their FA Cup tie and just three days after that Anfield will be rocking when rivals and family members Everton will make the annual visit for what could be a potential top four deciding match.