Premier League - Suarez scores on Liverpool debut

Wed, 02 Feb 21:55:00 2011

Luis Suarez made a dream debut as he came off the bench to score Liverpool's second goal in a comfortable 2-0 Premier League win over Stoke City at Anfield.

Kenny Dalglish's side opened the scoring on 47 minutes when Raul Meireles thumped home from 12 yards after the ball broke to him in the area from Steven Gerrard's free-kick.

Suarez was given a standing ovation when he replaced Fabio Aurelio on 63 minutes for his first taste of the Premier League since his £22.8 million switch from Ajax during the January transfer window.

The Uruguayan forward made an instant impact on 79 minutes as he dashed onto Dirk Kuyt's pass before rounding Stoke keeper Asmir Begovic to net despite Andy Wilkinson's best attempt to keep the ball out.

Wilkinson looked on in horror as his clearance hit the net via a post from five yards out as Suarez ran away to celebrate with the home fans.

Suddenly, fallen idol Fernando Torres and his £50 million move to Chelsea on Monday seemed like a million miles away from the thoughts of the home diehards.

Suarez had helped his side to three points in his first outing with Liverpool's new £35 million Andy Carroll, ruled out of the match due to injury, sporting a huge smile in the stands. The pair will be hoping for similar moments this season.

The night began well for Liverpool as Carroll was paraded in front of the home fans before his new side set about the visitors with some relish.

Stoke manager Tony Pulis flooded the midfield with five men to negate the threat of Liverpool, who began with Kuyt reverting to his role from his days at Feyenoord playing as the lone striker. It was a tactic that proved effective as Liverpool sealed their third straight win.

Stoke's last goal at Anfield remains an effort by Paul Bracewell in the 1980s. They did little to threaten on this trip to the old ground as Norwegian striker John Carew grew increasingly isolated the longer the game went on.

Begovic enjoyed a fine match for the visiting side. He somehow managed to get a fist on Glen Johnson's powerful header from Danny Kelly's cross on 35 minutes to prevent a certain goal.

Liverpool missed a glorious chance to net when the brilliant Kuyt headed wide from Steven Gerrard's cross a minute later before Begovic performed another minor miracle to save from Kuyt's throbbing shot on 42 minutes.

The home side deservedly struck a couple of minutes into the second period when Meireles finished from 12 yards out after Gerrard's free-kick bobbled around the area.

Sotirios Kyrgiakos, who won his personal battle with Carew, had the presence of mind to leave the ball for the Portuguese midfielder to finish with some venom.

Stoke's best moment of the evening arrived on 62 minutes when Jermaine Pennant threaded a decent pass through to Carew.

The Norwegian striker whacked a shot across the face of goal that was unlikely to test Jose Reina from a tight angle. Reina also made a save from Jon Walters in the closing minutes, but the goalkeeper spent most of the match as a spectator.

Suarez finished matters off with a goal that allowed the home fans to enjoy the last 10 minutes.

Gerrard saw a volley fly over the bar while Begovic saved Suarez's shot from distance, but 2-0 was a fair reflection of the evening's action.

Stoke lost Abdoulaye Faye to what appeared to be a hamstring injury midway through the second half in what proved to be a joyless night for Pulis and his players.

Eurosport

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