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Stoke 'in the fight' to avoid relegation after Liverpool draw - Paul Lambert

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Last two games not for faint-hearted - Lambert

Stoke City are still "in the fight" to avoid Premier League relegation after their hard-fought draw against Champions League semi-finalists Liverpool, says manager Paul Lambert.

The Potters are three points adrift of safety with just two games of their season remaining, although the three teams directly above them - Southampton, Swansea and Huddersfield - all have a game in hand.

While winless in 12 league games, Stoke secured their third straight draw at Anfield and face Crystal Palace and Swansea in their final two matches.

"All I wanted was to go into the last few games with a chance of staying up," Lambert told BBC Sport.

"Hopefully results will go our way. This is not for the faint-hearted. We are in a fight. I will take the fight for anything, and so will the lads."

Liverpool winger Mohamed Salah missed the chance to break the record for most goals in a 38-game Premier League season when he clipped wide after being sent clear on goal after five minutes.

That let-off focused the visitors, who could have won the game late on but Ryan Shawcross poked narrowly wide moments after Liverpool had a penalty appeal for handball against Erik Pieters turned down.

"We deserved it - we came with a good gameplan and played a really good game; the commitment, throwing bodies into challenges, and we might have sneaked it," said Lambert, who replaced Mark Hughes in January.

"If we had played like that from the start of the season, I would not be here and they would be cruising in the league."

Pieters stars for dogged Potters

Premier League bottom six

Stoke's resolute defensive performance was epitomised by Pieters.

The Dutch defender, who was at fault for Salah's chance, rarely let the Liverpool winger get more than an arm's length away from him for the rest of the game.

"I thought Pieters played brilliantly" said Lambert. "Salah has been on fire this season but Erik was outstanding."

Pieters was canny in how and when he fouled Salah - harassing but never aggressive enough to pick up a booking - while he was on hand to fell the Egyptian before he could get a shot away with Jack Butland out of his goal following a poor spill by the Stoke keeper.

Pieters was lucky too. Liverpool should have had a penalty when Georginio Wijnaldum's cross struck the Stoke defender's arm on 87 minutes but referee Andre Marriner and his team waved away the hosts' appeals.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp told BBC Sport it looked a "clear" penalty and that his side "should have got more penalties" in the league this season.

Lambert said: "If that was a penalty we may as well all just have left. It is never a penalty. You can understand Jurgen Klopp's frustration about it but it's no penalty."

The visitors were physical but not excessively so - capable of frustrating an in-form attack that has scored 80 Premier League goals this season, with Kurt Zouma also impressive in defence.

And they had a chance to steal a shock win two minutes from time as Mame Biram Diouf's effort evaded Loris Karius and the back post, with Shawcross stealing in but unable to turn it in.

Ultimately it was not enough for victory but it was enough to stave off relegation - for now at least.

Salah's off day

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Liverpool 0-0 Stoke: Jurgen Klopp is happy with the point after the draw with stoke

Salah will have to wait at least another week to set a new record for most goals scored in a Premier League season since the league was cut to 20 teams in 1995.

His 32nd strike seemed like a formality when Jordan Henderson slid a pass from deep through a chasm in the Stoke defence to play Salah through, but his chip over Butland drifted wide.

It set the tone for a rare off day for both Salah and Liverpool, with the hosts creating little of note until the 20th minute when Salah played in Trent Alexander-Arnold on the overlap but the right-back could not get the ball out of his feet.

Danny Ings then had a goal disallowed for offside shortly before the break after he crashed a volley high past Butland from a narrow angle when Wijnaldum's blocked shot fell to him, just the wrong side of the last man.

After the interval, passes became wayward, crosses were not quite met and frustration showed for a Reds side showing five changes from the team that glided past Roma on Tuesday.

"I saw everything I wanted to see except fluency and fun and joy, it is hard on a day like this. Stoke were a little lucky in some situations," said Klopp.

"We had to make changes, that is always a bit of a rhythm breaker, in the final third everything is instinct between the regulars, and we missed a bit of that. But no-one was seriously injured so we carry on."

Liverpool's second straight league draw against relegation candidates may not be ideal preparation but they can move on quickly by focusing on Wednesday night in Rome.

Man of the match - Erik Pieters (Stoke)

Erik Pieters tackles Mohamed Salah
Pieters should have conceded a penalty late on and also made an error in allowing Salah through on goal early on. But inbetween, the Dutch defender harried Liverpool's most dangerous player out of the game

Lambert frustrates Liverpool again - match stats

  • Liverpool failed to score at Anfield in the league for the first time in nine games (since a 0-0 v West Brom in December), after scoring 27 in total in the eight before that.
  • Stoke City are without a win in 12 Premier League games, their longest run without a victory in the top flight since December 1984 (17).
  • Theirs is also the current longest winless run across the top four divisions of English football.
  • The Potters are without a win in 13 away league games (D6 L7), since a 1-0 win against Watford in October.
  • Lambert has taken charge of more Premier League games at Anfield without ever losing than any other manager in the competition (5 - W2 D3).
  • Salah had seven shots (none on target), the most he has had without scoring in a single game for Liverpool in all competitions.

What's next?

Liverpool play Roma in their Champions League semi-final second leg at 19:45 BST on Wednesday, 2 May before travelling to Chelsea on Sunday, 6 May (16:30 kick-off).

Stoke host Crystal Palace on Saturday, 5 May at 12:30.

Line-ups

Liverpool

  • 1Karius
  • 12Gomez
  • 4van DijkBooked at 88mins
  • 17Klavan
  • 18Moreno
  • 66Alexander-ArnoldSubstituted forClyneat 65'minutes
  • 14Henderson
  • 5Wijnaldum
  • 11Salah
  • 9Firmino
  • 28IngsSubstituted forMilnerat 65'minutes

Substitutes

  • 2Clyne
  • 6Lovren
  • 7Milner
  • 22Mignolet
  • 26Robertson
  • 29Solanke
  • 58Woodburn

Stoke

  • 1Butland
  • 6Zouma
  • 17Shawcross
  • 15Martins IndiSubstituted forSobhiat 52'minutes
  • 3Pieters
  • 22Shaqiri
  • 4Allen
  • 27Ndiaye
  • 2Bauer
  • 18DioufBooked at 42mins
  • 25CrouchBooked at 36minsSubstituted forFletcherat 65'minutes

Substitutes

  • 7Ireland
  • 16Adam
  • 20Cameron
  • 24Fletcher
  • 29Haugaard
  • 32Sobhi
  • 40Campbell
Referee:
Andre Marriner
Attendance:
53,255

Match Stats

Home TeamLiverpoolAway TeamStoke
Possession
Home72%
Away28%
Shots
Home20
Away5
Shots on Target
Home2
Away1
Corners
Home9
Away2
Fouls
Home7
Away14

Live Text

Match ends, Liverpool 0, Stoke City 0.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Liverpool 0, Stoke City 0.

Attempt missed. Georginio Wijnaldum (Liverpool) header from the centre of the box is high and wide to the right. Assisted by James Milner with a cross following a corner.

Corner, Liverpool. Conceded by Badou Ndiaye.

Attempt blocked. Jordan Henderson (Liverpool) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

Attempt missed. Alberto Moreno (Liverpool) left footed shot from the centre of the box is too high. Assisted by Georginio Wijnaldum.

Attempt blocked. Nathaniel Clyne (Liverpool) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked.

Attempt blocked. Mohamed Salah (Liverpool) left footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Alberto Moreno.

Attempt missed. Ryan Shawcross (Stoke City) left footed shot from the right side of the six yard box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Mame Biram Diouf following a set piece situation.

Attempt missed. Mame Biram Diouf (Stoke City) left footed shot from a difficult angle on the left misses to the right. Assisted by Kurt Zouma with a headed pass following a set piece situation.

Booking

Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Foul by Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool).

Xherdan Shaqiri (Stoke City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Corner, Liverpool. Conceded by Ryan Shawcross.

Corner, Liverpool. Conceded by Badou Ndiaye.

Offside, Liverpool. Mohamed Salah tries a through ball, but Georginio Wijnaldum is caught offside.

Corner, Liverpool. Conceded by Ramadan Sobhi.

Corner, Liverpool. Conceded by Badou Ndiaye.

Attempt blocked. Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by James Milner.

Jordan Henderson (Liverpool) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Kurt Zouma (Stoke City).

Foul by James Milner (Liverpool).

Darren Fletcher (Stoke City) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

Delay in match Alberto Moreno (Liverpool) because of an injury.

Delay in match Badou Ndiaye (Stoke City) because of an injury.

Foul by Nathaniel Clyne (Liverpool).

Mame Biram Diouf (Stoke City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Corner, Liverpool. Conceded by Xherdan Shaqiri.

Corner, Liverpool. Conceded by Badou Ndiaye.

Corner, Liverpool. Conceded by Kurt Zouma.

Foul by Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool).

Mame Biram Diouf (Stoke City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Offside, Stoke City. Ramadan Sobhi tries a through ball, but Mame Biram Diouf is caught offside.

Attempt missed. Alberto Moreno (Liverpool) left footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by James Milner.

Attempt saved. Nathaniel Clyne (Liverpool) header from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Ragnar Klavan.

Attempt blocked. Mohamed Salah (Liverpool) left footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Alberto Moreno with a cross.

Substitution

Substitution, Stoke City. Darren Fletcher replaces Peter Crouch.

Substitution

Substitution, Liverpool. Nathaniel Clyne replaces Trent Alexander-Arnold.

Substitution

Substitution, Liverpool. James Milner replaces Danny Ings.

goal

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Man City34293298257390
2Man Utd34235665263974
3Liverpool362012480374372
4Tottenham34208666313568
5Chelsea35206960342666
6Arsenal341761166462057
7Burnley361412103532354
8Everton36139144254-1248
9Leicester351111134952-344
10Newcastle35118163544-941
11Crystal Palace36911164154-1338
12Bournemouth36911164260-1838
13Watford35108174260-1838
14Brighton35813143247-1537
15West Ham34811154263-2135
16Huddersfield3598182756-2935
17Swansea3589182752-2533
18Southampton35614153554-1932
19Stoke36612183265-3330
20West Brom36513183054-2428
View full Premier League table

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