Stoke 3-1 Liverpool

Kenwyne Jones scores for Stoke against Liverpool

Stoke City extended their unbeaten Premier League run to nine games with an impressive Boxing Day victory over Liverpool.

The Reds have never won in the league at the Britannia Stadium - and manager Brendan Rodgers fared no better than his predecessors despite seeing his side take an early lead.

Steven Gerrard put the visitors ahead with a penalty after Ryan Shawcross fouled Luis Suarez but Jon Walters and Kenwyne Jones led a stunning response with two quick goals to put Stoke in front.

Walters scored a spectacular third just after half-time as Stoke did not simply overpower Liverpool but also showed more quality in crucial areas.

Stoke's victory moves them up to eighth place in the table and also means they have gone 16 games unbeaten at their hostile home fortress.

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And it was easy to see why as they showed tremendous character and heart to sweep aside their early setback and run out thoroughly deserved winners.

Liverpool were just too lightweight and ineffective in too many areas, with the battling Suarez a glowing exception.

Rodgers will be desperate for to arrive in January to flesh out a squad that currently lacks the quality required.

Stoke's fans had already marked out Suarez as the villain of the piece even before he tumbled as Shawcross hauled him down from behind in the second minute.

Amid a tumultuous, angry response from the home support Gerrard remained calm to convert the penalty - Liverpool's first spot-kick in 31 games.

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Rodgers blames poor defending

If Liverpool thought this early strike would dent Stoke's self-belief they were sadly mistaken and the hosts were level inside three minutes, Walters beating Pepe Reina with a powerful finish after Martin Skrtel slipped as he tried to deal with a long ball.

The game was turned on its head inside 12 minutes as Liverpool failed to deal with Stoke's trademark aerial power. Jones beat Daniel Agger to Glenn Whelan's corner at the near post to head in.

Stoke were pressurising Liverpool in all parts of the pitch and it took a magnificent Reina save to stop Matthew Etherington's rising drive, and at the other end Gerrard was narrowly off target after good work by Stewart Downing, with Suarez also testing Asmir Begovic.

Rodgers replaced Suso, who looked out of his depth, with Raheem Sterling at the start of the second half, only to see Stoke extend their lead within four minutes of the restart.

Suarez had just failed with an opportunist attempt when Walters showed great technique to master Jones's flick from Andy Wilkinson's long throw, control with his chest and volley high past Reina.

Liverpool's main threat throughout was Suarez, the Uruguayan tirelessly chasing every lost cause. He became even less popular with the Stoke fans after a high challenge on Begovic that brought a yellow card from referee Howard Webb.

But for the remainder of the game Stoke contained what little Liverpool threat there was to emphasise their steady progress this season.

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