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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 the season remaining and could fall further behind when 17th-placed Swansea take on Chelsea at 17:30 BST.While winless in 12 league games, Stoke secured their third straight draw at Anfield and face relegation rivals 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
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 waived 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.It is doubtful Stoke would have been in such trouble had they shown such defensive stoicism earlier in the season.
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 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 following an uninspiring display.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 weren't 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)
[img]data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAIAAAAAAAP///yH5BAEAAAAALAAAAAABAAEAAAIBRAA7" data-src="https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/onesport/cps/{width}{hidpi}/cpsprodpb/14472/production/_101085038_gettyimages-952321188.jpg" data-sizes="auto" alt="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).
It's 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.
Paul Lambert has taken charge of more Premier League games at Anfield without ever losing than any other manager in the competition (5 - W2 D3).
Mohamed Salah had seven shots in the game (none on target), the most he has had without scoring in a single game for Liverpool in all competitions.
What's next[/img]

Line-ups
Match Stats
Live Text
Line-ups
Liverpool
1Karius
12Gomez
4van DijkBooked at 88mins[/i]
17Klavan
18Moreno
66Alexander-ArnoldSubstituted forMilnerat 65'minutes
14Henderson
5Wijnaldum
11Salah
9Firmino
28IngsSubstituted forClyneat 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[/i]
25CrouchBooked at 36mins[/i]Substituted forFletcherat 65'minutes
Substitutes
7Ireland
16Adam
20Cameron
24Fletcher
29Haugaard
32Sobhi
40Campbell
Referee:Andre MarrinerAttendance:53,255
Match Stats
Home TeamLiverpoolAway TeamStokePossessionHome72%Away28%ShotsHome20Away5Shots on TargetHome2Away1CornersHome9Away2FoulsHome7Away14
Live Text
Posted at
Match ends, Liverpool 0, Stoke City 0.
Full Time
Posted at 90'+7' Second Half ends, Liverpool 0, Stoke City 0.Posted at 90'+4' 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.Posted at 90'+3' Corner, Liverpool. Conceded by Badou Ndiaye.Posted at 90'+3' Attempt blocked. Jordan Henderson (Liverpool) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.Posted at 90' Attempt missed. Alberto Moreno (Liverpool) left footed shot from the centre of the box is too high. Assisted by Georginio Wijnaldum.Posted at 90' Attempt blocked. Nathaniel Clyne (Liverpool) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked.Posted at 89' Attempt blocked. Mohamed Salah (Liverpool) left footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Alberto Moreno.Posted at 88' 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.Posted at 88' 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.
Booking
Posted at 88' Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.Posted at 88' Foul by Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool).Posted at 88' Xherdan Shaqiri (Stoke City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.Posted at 87' Corner, Liverpool. Conceded by Ryan Shawcross.Posted at 86' Corner, Liverpool. Conceded by Badou Ndiaye.Posted at 85' Offside, Liverpool. Mohamed Salah tries a through ball, but Georginio Wijnaldum is caught offside.Posted at 84' Corner, Liverpool. Conceded by Ramadan Sobhi.Posted at 84' Corner, Liverpool. Conceded by Badou Ndiaye.Posted at 84' Attempt blocked. Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by James Milner.Posted at 83' Jordan Henderson (Liverpool) wins a free kick in the defensive half.Posted at 83' Foul by Kurt Zouma (Stoke City).Posted at 82' Foul by James Milner (Liverpool).Posted at 82' Darren Fletcher (Stoke City) wins a free kick in the attacking half.Posted at 80' Delay over. They are ready to continue.Posted at 79' Delay in match Alberto Moreno (Liverpool) because of an injury.Posted at 79' Delay in match Badou Ndiaye (Stoke City) because of an injury.Posted at 77' Foul by Nathaniel Clyne (Liverpool).Posted at 77' Mame Biram Diouf (Stoke City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.Posted at 76' Corner, Liverpool. Conceded by Xherdan Shaqiri.Posted at 76' Corner, Liverpool. Conceded by Badou Ndiaye.Posted at 75' Corner, Liverpool. Conceded by Kurt Zouma.Posted at 71' Foul by Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool).Posted at 71' Mame Biram Diouf (Stoke City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.Posted at 70' Offside, Stoke City. Ramadan Sobhi tries a through ball, but Mame Biram Diouf is caught offside.Posted at 67' Attempt missed. Alberto Moreno (Liverpool) left footed shot from outside the box misses to the right. Assisted by James Milner.Posted at 67' Attempt saved. Nathaniel Clyne (Liverpool) header from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Ragnar Klavan.Posted at 66' Attempt blocked. Mohamed Salah (Liverpool) left footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Alberto Moreno with a cross.
Substitution
Posted at 65' Substitution, Liverpool. Nathaniel Clyne replaces Danny Ings.
Substitution
Posted at 65' Substitution, Stoke City. Darren Fletcher replaces Peter Crouch.
Substitution
Posted at 65' Substitution, Liverpool. James Milner replaces Trent Alexander-Arnold.
goal
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