Liverpool are inching closer to a top four Premier League finish – but they seem determined to do it the hard way.
With one eye clearly on next week’s Champions League semi-final second leg against Roma, Jurgen Klopp’s side were held scoreless by relegation-threatened Stoke City at Anfield on Saturday afternoon.
However, the home side nearly stole it at the death. With just minutes remaining in normal time Gini Wijnaldum’s cross into the box struck Stoke defender Erik Pieters in the box before being cleared. Despite the furious protestations of the Liverpool players, referee Andre Marriner waved the complaints away and the Reds were left frustrated and angry.
Nailed on penalty as Pieters handles in the box. Marriner says no. #LFC
— James Pearce (@JamesPearceEcho) April 28, 2018
That’s YET ANOTHER STONEWALL PENALTY.
— Empire of the Kop (@empireofthekop) April 28, 2018
The draw leaves Liverpool needing three points from their final two league games in order to cement a place in next season’s Champions League. Alternatively, avoiding defeat against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge next week would achieve the same aim (or, indeed, if Chelsea drop points in two of their last three games).
Stoke, meanwhile, are now three points from 17th-placed Swansea with just two games remaining. Should Swansea defeat Chelsea on Saturday evening that lead will be extended to six points – and with Stoke’s inferior goal difference, such a result would ll-but confirm Paul Lambert’s side’s relegation to the Championship.