Stoke City survived an early scare to beat Liverpool 3-1 at the Britannia Stadium, absorbing a Steven Gerrard penalty kick before replying through Jonathan Walters twice, his strikes sandwiching a Kenwyne Jones header.
To say that the opening few minutes were eventful would be something of an understatement. Within thirty seconds of kickoff, Liverpool won their first penalty of the Premier League season when Ryan Shawcross Ryan Shawcrossed Luis Suarez, who Luis Suarezed in response. Howard Webb pointed straight to the spot, and Gerrard slotted past Asmir Begovic for a 1-0 lead.
Shawcross ended up with a booking for his part in the opener, which means a suspension for the Potters centre back, and Geoff Cameron managed to double up on Stoke bannings within a minute when he too picked up a yellow card, this time for a late tackle on Lucas Leiva. But it wasn't all bad news for the hosts -- far from it, in fact -- because they were on level terms in very short order.
It was a pretty typical Stoke goal. Begovic punted forward, Jones flicked on, and Walters took advantage of a slip from Martin Skrtel to latch onto the ball and slip a shot past Pepe Reina to make it 1-1. And they weren't done there, either. seven minutes later, slack marking on a corner kick allowed Jones to squirm free and squeeze in a header at the near post, quickly reversing Liverpool's early advantage and forcing their visitors to press for an equaliser.
It didn't work very well. There was some promising play (mostly via Suarez), but it was Stoke who looked the more dangerous, and indeed the Potters doubled their lead when Walters did superbly to chest down a long throw and volley past Reina shortly after the interval.
That was to be the last major action of the match. Suarez might have gotten himself sent off for going in high and late on Begovic on an unwinnable ball. So too might have Cameron, who tempted fate when he wiped out Jose Enrique while already on a booking. As for scoring, however... well, it wasn't on, and Liverpool ended up condemned to defeat, their sixth of the season.