Coutinho magic sinks Stoke in opener
Attendance: 27, 654
Phillipe Coutinho`s world class finish was the difference between Liverpool and Stoke at Britannia Stadium in the new season`s curtain raiser.
The Brazilian midfielder struck a superb effort from 35-yards in the dying moments of the game to give Liverpool all three points and helps to exact revenge on the Potters after last season`s mauling.
Mark Hughes gave debuts to former Liverpool full back Glen Johnson and Ibrahim Afellay, whilst Geoff Cameron partnered Marc Muniesa in the centre of defence in the absence of club captain Ryan Shawcross.
Brendan Rogers also handed debuts to Joe Gomez, Christian Benteke and James Milner, with Dejan Lovren starting in the heart of the defence.
The fixture was a lacklustre encounter with only a few chances throughout the game.
In a novel turn of events, Glen Johnson made his Stoke debut against the team that released him last summer, and was really impressive throughout the game. The full back showed some nice touches throughout the game and was unlucky not to open the scoring.
The former England international found space in the middle of the penalty area but struggled to get the ball out of his feet and could only blast over.
Charlie Adam nearly found the back of the net against his former side when he whipped in a dangerous freekick that nearly sneaked into the far corner, but Mignolet tipped wide.
Both Liverpool and Stoke struggled to really create any chances throughout the game as the game was mainly played in a crowded midfield.
Potters new signing Ibrahim Afellay showed a number of good touches for the Potters on his debut, dribbling confidently and showing off some nice footwork.
He could have got on the scoresheet, but his well-executed volley was blocked by Clyne.
With the game seemingly petering out into a draw, which would have been a fair result, Coutinho picked the ball up in the midfield and turned Steve Sidwell superbly before setting himself, and letting fly. His strike curled, dipped and beat Jack Butland in the Stoke goal, to send the 2,000 Liverpool fans wild.