Stoke City 0-1 Liverpool: Philippe Coutinho's wonder goal helps Reds conquer Britannia Stadium
Liverpool secured all three points in their opening fixture against Stoke City thanks to a stunning late winner from midfielder Philippe Coutinho. The Merseysiders travelled to the Britannia stadium with memories of an agonising 6-0 defeat just three months ago from last season still hovering over them. However, Brendon Rodgers’ men attained retribution of some sort after the Brazilian’s blistering effort found its way past Stoke goalkeeper Jack Butland to deliver an away victory for The Reds.
In what was a hard-fought encounter and with very few openings in front of goal for both teams, Liverpool started with their four new summer signings including Christian Benteke up front and James Milner featured in his first game for the Scousers. Stoke City had former Liverpool right-back Glen Johnson in their squad while both Dutch duo Marco van Ginkel and Ibrahim Afellay made their debuts for the club.
Although it was Liverpool who dictated the play in the initial stages of the encounter, Stoke managed to create the first real opening through John Walters whose headed effort drifted just wide, but the linesman ruled it as offside.
Johnson could have been the man ironically to put Mark Hughes’ side in front in the 36th minute but the England international put his shot off target and over the bar. Both James Milner and Martin Skrtel were booked for their rash tackles during the first half as both sides headed into their dressing rooms with the score still at 0-0.
Second half resumed and it was the same story as both sides found it difficult to create chances. Mame Biram Diouf was very close to meeting Charlie Adam’s delivery from the free kick but goalkeeper Simon Mignolet managed to push it aside from any danger. Roberto Firmino got in with 13 minutes remaining but it was his Brazilian compatriot who stole the show late on.
The deadlock was broken late in the 85th minute as Coutinho’s quick turn left the Stoke defender dead after which he unleashed a stunning curler to break all Stoke hearts as Rodgers’ men commence their season with a victory.
Here is the video of Coutinho’s goal:
Newcastle United and Southampton settle with a draw, Arsenal lose against West Ham
Elsewhere, Newcastle United and Southampton played out a 2-2 draw in an early Sunday kickoff at St. James Park as Papiss Cisse and debutant Georginio Wijnaldum, who was purchased this summer from Dutch giants PSV Eindhoven, scored for the Magpies as both sides shared the spoils in their opening fixture.
The Saints took the lead in the 24th minute through Graziano Pelle who headed home Cedric's cross into the right corner past Newcastle goalkeeper Tim Krul. However, Cisse levelled things up just before half-time as the striker chested the ball into the net from a yard out.
Mclaren’s side took the lead early in the second half as Wijnaldum completed a dream start to his Premier League career after the Dutch midfielder executed a neat headed finish in the 48th minute. However, Southampton substitute Shane Long saved his side from dropping all three points as his late equaliser allowed both sides to settle for a point.
Meanwhile, Arsenal succumbed to a 2-0 defeat at home courtesy of two goals from Cheikhou Kouyate and Mauro Zarate. The Gunners failed to penetrate The Hammers’ defense for the entire 90 minutes as Arsene Wenger’s campaign kicked off on the worst possible note. Read the entire match report here.