Final, 2-1 Livepool: Liverpool is through to the last eight of the Carling Cup. It was a largely pulsating encounter, with Suarez the star of the show.
We saw a fine show of character by Liverpool in coming back from a goal down. It would have been easier for the players to hang their heads and say, “here we go again,” but Suarez picked them up and carreid them past Stoke.
92nd minute, 2-1 Livepool: Liverpool looks like it will pass this trickiest of tests, but it’s not over yet. By the way, Suarez is smiling on the sidelines.
89th minute, 2-1 Livepool: Crouch nearly gets on the end of a desperate ball floated into the box. How did he miss that? A couple of minutes ago, Suarez was replaced by Kuyt, but was limping. Will he be fit to face West Brom on Saturday? Time will tell.
84th minute, 2-1 Liverpool:It looks like Liverpool will go through to the quarterfinals because Luis Suarez just scored his second of the half! He was left unmarked in the area by Shawcross and headed a cross past Sorensen.
84th minute, 1-1: The Welshman combines with Carroll and nearly beats Sorensen from the top of the area. Carroll and Bellamy linked well, as described in “Plan Rafa.”
83rd minute, 1-1: Bellamy enters for Maxi. The out-of-favor Argentina international started brightly, but didn’t match the pace of the game going on around him. We almost forgot he was out there for much of the second half. And by “almost,” we mean “completely.”
79th minute, 1-1: With the prospect of extra-time looming, this would be a perfect time for Steve Gerrard to come on and impact the game. Dalglish didn’t include him in the squad and it’s understandable. But — as the saying goes — ’tis better to have Gerrard and not need him than to need Gerrard and not have him.
76th minute, 1-1: End-to-end action is on display here at the Brittania. It’s not resulting in chances on goal for either team, but both teams are attacking. You have to wonder how long they’ll be able to maintain this pace. Both played last weekend.
70th minute, 1-1: Seeing Coates with solid headers and tackles in this second half. It’s the ultimate test of a defender who’s made a mistake. How he reacts and recovers tells you a lot about him.
66th minute, 1-1: Pennant and Jerome have come on for Shotton (he of shattered confidence?) and Etherington.
59th minute, 1-1: Just kidding about that VCR bit. We’re hip over here. Roku, Slinbox and those other gadgets will let you see the goal. Or check this space later. We will post that Suarez goal for your viewing pleasure.
54th minute, 1-1: Suarez scores a wonderful, curling goal! He takes a long pass on left corner of the area, puts a touch through Shotton’s legs and curls a shot past the outstretched Sorensen. Set your VCR’s for whichever highlight show you watch. You’ll want to see it again and again.
51st minute, 1-0 Stoke City: Liverpool misplacing far too many passes in the early part of second half. The Reds only showing real danger on the counterattack.
46th minute, 1-0 Stoke City: Skrtel comes on for Carragher, who’s picked up an injury (or so we hear).
Halftime, 1-0 Stoke City: Liverpool by far the better team in this one, yet trailing 1-0 in a bad case of deja vu. Coates was doing just fine until he was pinned against the sidelines. Why was he out in that position? Walters took it off him all too easily. Jones got it where he is at his most dangerous.
42nd minute, 1-0 Stoke City: A mistake by Coates leads to Stoke City goal. It’s Kenwyne Jones with a header from close range, but Walters was the creator. Coates had him shielded and lost it instead of sheapherding it out into touch. Walters took it off of him, drove up the line, cut in and crossed to Jones. Stoke leads against the run of play. Stop me if you’ve heard this one before.
38th minute, 0-0: Kelly cuts in and powers a shot from outside the area on goal with his left foot. He’s been getting forward a little more than usual to good effect. We haven’t heard a peep out of Etherington so far. Is it a cause and effect relationship? Or is the effect an effect of the cause? Does that even make sense?
35th minute, 0-0: Walters scores with a header off a Delap missle, but the referee’s already blown his whistle. He gave Reina a push and it was spotted.
30th minute, 0-0: After 30 minutes, I’m seeing nothing wrong with Coates. It’s a brawn-on-brawn matchup between him Jones. As I said in last week’s (shameless plug) mailbag, he needs an experienced defender next to him to flourish. There’s nothing wrong with that. He’s still a kid.
26th minute, 0-0: Carroll picks up a loose ball in the area and hits a weak shot that Sorensen handles easily. Suarez and Maxi had the defenders mesmarized, with the Argentine trying in vain to unleash a shot. Its path was blocked and it fell to the big Englishman.
21st minute, 0-0: Carragher sees yellow for a clumsy challenge on Whelan.
16th minute, 0-0: Agger, Lucas, Suarez and Maxi combine for perhaps Liverpool’s most flowing move of the season. Good combination work and a flick from Maxi get it to Lucas. He cuts it across to the open Suarez, but his finish is lacking. Sorensen makes the save.
13th minute, 0-0: Suarez cleverly tries to chip Sorensen from 10 yards out. His shot is saved. This one’s being played at a mid-winter pace. Liverpool is counterattacking quickly and look like they could get an early breakthrough by catching their hosts while they’ve ventured forward.
Ninth minute, 0-0: Carroll tests Sorensen early from distance, but the stand-in ‘keeper saves. The rebound falls to Suarez, but he can’t strike it cleanly.
Eighth minute, 0-0: Liverpool getting some decent possession in the Stoke end, but Spearing blasts his shot well over the bar.
Pregame: No shortage of surprises when one scans the teams. Coates comes into the starting 11 in a makeshift defense. It looks like Agger will man the LB role slot.
Spearing and Henderson come into an energetic-looking midfield. Gerrard rests ahead of the weekend’s league game.
Maxi will play the role of creator-in-chief and it will be interesting to see where he lines up. Spearing and Lucas can man the central roles, but that puts the onus on Henderson to deliver a good performance on the right wing.
Carroll comes back into the first 11, partnering with Suarez. Does he ever rest? Does he even need it?
Stoke goes with their dependable GK Sorensen for cup games, sparing Liverpool of the goalkeeper that tormented its attackers with a string of superb saves in their last meeting.
Pennant drops to the bench, making for an, um, functional-looking midfield.
Last meeting’s goalscorer Walters partners with Jones up front.
2:30 p.m. ET: Here are the lineups:
Pepe Reina (25), goalkeeper
Martin Kelly (34), right back
Jamie Carragher (23), center back
Sebastian Coates (16), center back
Daniel Agger (5), left back
Lucas (21), midfielder
Jay Spearing (20), midfielder
Jordan Henderson (14), midfielder
Maxi (11), midfielder
Andy Carroll (9), forward
Luis Suarez (7), forward
Doni (32), goalkeeper
Fabio Aurelio (6), defender
Martin Skrtel (37), defender
John Flanagan (38), defender
Charlie Adam (26), midfielder
Dirk Kuyt (18), midfielder
Craig Bellamy (39), forward
Thomas Sorensen (29), goalkeeper
Marc Wilson (12), defender
Jonathan Woodgate (39), defender
Ryan Shawcross (17), defender
Robert Huth (4), defender
Glenn Whelan (6), midfielder
Ryan Shotton (30), midfielder
Rory Delap (24), midfielder
Matthew Etherington (26), midfielder
Kenwyne Jones (9), forward
Jonathan Walters (19), forward
Carlo Nash (27), goalkeeper
Matthew Upson (20), defender
Salif Diao (15), midfielder
Jermaine Pennant (16), midfielder
Wilson Palacios (40), midfielder
Cameron Jerome (33) forward
Peter Crouch (25), striker
12 a.m. ET: Liverpool returns to the scene of one the season’s great disappointments Wednesday. Stoke City’s Brittania Stadium is the venue in the question. It was here that the Reds fell 1-0 to their stingy hosts on Sept. 10, despite dominating the game.
Wednesday’s revenge mission comes in the Carling Cup round of 16. Though it’s not an English Premier League game, the atmosphere at the Brittania will be pulsating as always. The winner advances to the quarterfinals, while the loser’s quest for this particular piece of silverware ends.
Stoke City is in the midst of a particularly grueling stretch of its season. Wednesday’s game will be the Potters’ fourth — and toughest on paper — since Oct. 15. Their last game was Sunday’s 3-1 away loss to Arsenal and the rapid succession of games tests the physical limits of manager Tony Pulis’ players.
The Reds are becoming the Carling Cup’s ultimate road warriors. Wednesday’s game will be Liverpool’s third consecutive away trip in the competition. It has the advantage of an extra day of rest between its last game –- Saturday’s 1-1 home draw against Norwich City -– and Wednesday’s.
Manager Kenny Dalglish noted how disappointed his players were after consecutive draws against Manchester United and Norwich. They had plenty of opportunities to win both. He hopes they will channel that emotion into something supporters have yet to see this season: a comprehensive and decisive victory over their opponents.
Join us Wednesday at 2:45 p.m. ET, when the Reds look to conquer the Brittania and advance in the Carling Cup. We will have all the action on our Liverpool Live Blog.