Match ends, Liverpool 4, Stoke City 1.
Liverpool 4-1 Stoke City
Substitute Divock Origi scored twice as Liverpool made short work of Stoke to leapfrog their opponents and go eighth in the Premier League.
A long-range shot from Alberto Moreno put the Reds ahead before Bojan escaped his marker to nod in Stoke's equaliser.
Daniel Sturridge put away Sheyi Ojo's cross to regain the lead and Origi then headed in, before his attempted cross drifted in after the break.
Stoke rarely threatened apart from a late run from Mame Biram Diouf.
Origi or Sturridge? Or both?
By making seven changes to his starting line-up, including first Premier League starts for Ojo and Kevin Stewart, Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp revealed his priorities for the season's run-in.
The lure of European silverware - and the resulting Champions League place - means their Europa League quarter-final second leg against Borussia Dortmund on Thursday now takes precedent over their vanishingly slim chances of gate-crashing the Premier League top four.
Klopp opted to play Origi as a lone striker in the first-leg draw in Germany and Sturridge looked lively in the first half as he attempted to win back his place for the return against Dortmund.
After Moreno's opener, the England international rattled the advertising hoardings with a powerful low shot and showed excellent instincts to get on the end of Ojo's cross to score.
But Origi also took his chance to shine, adding muscular movement to the Liverpool attack after coming on at the break. The Belgian might have had a hat-trick had he managed to keep a header on target from a Moreno cross.
The two worked well in tandem as Sturridge completed 90 minutes for the first time since 28 February, but surely it is a case of either or against Dortmund on Thursday.
Stoke's wait goes on
Stoke have now won just three times in 61 league meetings at Liverpool.
Before the match, Potters' manager Mark Hughes had noted, rather hopefully, that that win - like this match - was on Grand National weekend,
But his side were relegated to rank outsiders as soon as Liverpool moved two goals clear early in the second half.
Hughes instead will have to take the long-term view. His side are in the same ninth place that they managed in in his previous two seasons at the club, seven points off last season's total of 54 with five games remaining.
Record signing Giannelli Imbula showed he can provide a platform for Stoke's attack to shine, but his good work went to waste as the likes of Ibrahim Afellay and Xherdan Shaqiri faded from the game.
Understudies to principals
Klopp's fourth home league win since taking charge in October took the Reds to within nine points of fourth-placed Manchester City, but perhaps more valuable were the lessons he will have learned about some of his fringe players.
Joe Allen, who is likely to step up from understudy to first-team regular after Jordan Henderson's injury, used the ball intelligently while Ojo showed electric pace to beat Shaqiri and set up Sturridge's goal.
Klopp also got several reminders of his side's weak points though as Ryan Shawcross and Philipp Wollscheid won headers in dangerous areas just as 5ft 7in Bojan did to score his goal.
Man of the match - Joe Allen
What they said:
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp: "Today, I'm really proud. We made changes and it was a completely new formation. I'm sure the players have never played together before in this line-up.
"Stoke played 70 to 80% long balls to Peter Crouch, and you have to be tuned into that. It was a smart performance.
"Divock is still a young lad. We have to be patient. He can play together with Daniel.
"There's absolutely no doubt about that. We hope it stays like this that we have two strikers available like this because we have a big number of games to go."
Stoke manager Mark Hughes: "Once goals go in, it becomes difficult. It could have become embarrassing for us. It was damage limitation in the end.
"I was reasonably happy with the first-half performance, even though we were behind. But we kept on letting ourselves down by not switching on when the ball went dead.
"It was a difficult day, where we didn't acquit ourselves well enough.
"Today's result has hurt us obviously. We allowed Liverpool to go above us and teams around us are picking up points. But when we have a setback, we almost always bounce back, and we need to do that."
The stats you need to know
- Liverpool have won five of their last six league meetings against Stoke, with the other game being a 6-1 loss on the final day of last season.
- Liverpool netted four goals in a game at home for the first time under Jurgen Klopp.
- Daniel Sturridge has been directly involved in seven goals in seven Premier League appearances against Stoke with four goals and three assists.
- Alberto Moreno scored his first Premier League goal since December 2014, ending a run of 42 games without a goal.
- James Milner has provided more assists than any other Liverpool player in all competitions this season with 10.
- Bojan scored in consecutive Premier League appearances for the second time this term. The Spaniard had gone 11 games in all competitions without a goal before this run.
- Divock Origi, who netted his first Premier League brace, has scored in back-to-back games for Liverpool for the first time.
Liverpool meet Borussia Dortmund at home in the second leg of their Europa League quarter-final on Thursday before travelling to Bournemouth on Sunday in the Premier League. Stoke have an eight-day break before playing Tottenham at home next Monday.
- 4K Touré
- 54OjoSubstituted forOrigiat 45'minutes
- 24AllenSubstituted forLucasat 78'minutes
- 11FirminoSubstituted forLallanaat 63'minutes
- 44B Smith
- 17ShawcrossBooked at 82mins
- 3PietersBooked at 26minsSubstituted forMuniesaat 82'minutes
- 22ShaqiriSubstituted forDioufat 71'minutes
- 27BojanSubstituted forJoseluat 71'minutes
- Mark Clattenburg
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Liverpool 4, Stoke City 1.
Attempt blocked. Nathaniel Clyne (Liverpool) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Adam Lallana.
Corner, Stoke City. Conceded by Kolo Touré.
Attempt blocked. Peter Crouch (Stoke City) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Mame Biram Diouf.
Nathaniel Clyne (Liverpool) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Foul by Ibrahim Afellay (Stoke City).
Corner, Liverpool. Conceded by Ryan Shawcross.
Attempt blocked. Adam Lallana (Liverpool) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Kevin Stewart.
Substitution, Stoke City. Marc Muniesa replaces Erik Pieters.
Ryan Shawcross (Stoke City) is shown the yellow card.
Substitution, Liverpool. Lucas Leiva replaces Joe Allen.
Kevin Stewart (Liverpool) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Giannelli Imbula (Stoke City).
Foul by James Milner (Liverpool).
Mame Biram Diouf (Stoke City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
James Milner (Liverpool) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Peter Crouch (Stoke City).
Adam Lallana (Liverpool) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Foul by Peter Crouch (Stoke City).
Joe Allen (Liverpool) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Geoff Cameron (Stoke City).
Substitution, Stoke City. Joselu replaces Bojan.
Substitution, Stoke City. Mame Biram Diouf replaces Xherdan Shaqiri.
Kevin Stewart (Liverpool) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Peter Crouch (Stoke City).
Foul by Adam Lallana (Liverpool).
Erik Pieters (Stoke City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Attempt missed. Xherdan Shaqiri (Stoke City) left footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Bojan with a headed pass.
Attempt missed. Kevin Stewart (Liverpool) left footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the left.
Goal! Liverpool 4, Stoke City 1. Divock Origi (Liverpool) right footed shot from a difficult angle and long range on the left to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Alberto Moreno.
Substitution, Liverpool. Adam Lallana replaces Roberto Firmino.
Attempt missed. Divock Origi (Liverpool) header from very close range is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Alberto Moreno with a cross.
Corner, Liverpool. Conceded by Erik Pieters.
Attempt missed. Kevin Stewart (Liverpool) header from the centre of the box misses to the left. Assisted by James Milner with a cross following a corner.
Corner, Liverpool. Conceded by Jakob Haugaard.
Attempt saved. Roberto Firmino (Liverpool) right footed shot from a difficult angle on the right is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Nathaniel Clyne.
Philipp Wollscheid (Stoke City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Joe Allen (Liverpool).
Corner, Stoke City. Conceded by Simon Mignolet.