The game got off to a flying start when Ryan Shawcross brought down Luis Suarez in the penalty area inside the first minute, and Steven Gerrard stepped up to slot the ball home calmly from 12 yards. But the response from the hosts was instant, as John Walters equalized just minutes later.
The home side then went on to take the lead, as Kenwyne Jones met a Matthew Etherington corner with a powerful header. The Potters later went two up, as Jones flicked a long throw on to Walters, who scored his second of the match.
The visitors found themselves with a chance to take the lead inside the first minute, as Suarez cut into the penalty area from the right wing and was brought down by Shawcross. Gerrard stepped up and drove the ball low and hard into the bottom left hand corner of the net past a helpless Asmir Begovic.
But Stoke was instant with its reply, gaining an equalizer just minutes later. A long ball from the hosts’ defense found Kenwyne Jones, who towered above Daniel Agger to flick the ball into the Liverpool 18-yard box. Walters latched onto the ball and slotted smartly past Pepe Reina.
Pulis’ men then took the lead, after a Matthew Etherington corner was met by a towering Jones, who evaded the attentions of Agger and Gerrard with ease. Glen Johnson was the man on the line, but pressure from Shawcross prevented the right back from making the clearance.
The visitors came close to equalizing at the beginning of the second period, as substitute Raheem Sterling raced past Shawcross and crossed towards Suarez. The Uruguayan did well to escape Robert Huth at the near post, but diverted the ball off the outside of the near post.
The Potters then added to their lead, after a long throw from Geoff Cameron was flicked on to Walters by the impressive Jones. The Ireland international finished emphatically, taking the chance quickly by volleying the ball into the top corner.
Shawcross nearly conceded a second penalty, as Downing went down under a challenge from the center back just outside the penalty area. The former Aston Villa winger took the free kick himself, but failed to test Asmir Begovic after blasting straight into a crowd of players.
Liverpool never really looked like getting back into the game, however, as a combination of determination and a fantastic work-rate ensured Stoke kept possession and continued to threaten the visitors’ goal until the final whistle.