The Reds may yet to Champions League contenders
This could be the fortnight that decides whether or not Liverpool can be genuine contenders for Champions League qualification.
I’ve always been insistent they would fall short with the current squad, particularly with the Luis Suarez situation hanging heavy over them.
Now, though, the clouds are starting to clear.
Suarez has resolved his differences with Brendan Rodgers and I’d be amazed if he doesn’t come straight back into the team when his suspension ends next month.
And if Liverpool, having missed out on Willian of Anzhi Makhachkala, can snare left winger to join left-back Aly Cissokho, then I believe they can launch a serious bid for a top-four berth.
I’m told that when Suarez held talks with Rodgers, he requested he was joined by captain Steven Gerrard.
And I wouldn’t be surprised if there was an agreement made that if Liverpool don’t win Champions League qualification this season, he would be allowed to leave.
I’d expect Suarez to net another 20 goals this campaign if the evidence against Stoke is anything to go by.
The way the team is set up, it is made for the Uruguayan. Liverpool created plenty of chances against the Potters, and should have not needed Simon Mignolet’s late penalty save to ensure the victory.
There were enough positives to take from the performance. Stoke pack defence and you have to be clever to play against them, and for the first hour Liverpool were comfortable until they began to get a bit edgy towards full-time.
Mignolet, though, saved the day. I’ve said before that it’s a lot different being a goalkeeper at a top team than at a Premier League outfit that’s perhaps outside the top six or seven.
The Belgian came for a few crosses which he didn’t need to on Saturday, and he was definitely nervy at times.
I don’t see Mignolet as a goalkeeper who comes for crosses a great deal. And that’s fine. If you are a centre-back playing in front of him, then you know what to expect and deal with it accordingly.
But perhaps Mignolet, on his first game, wanted to impress and tried some things he normally wouldn’t.
It remains to be seen whether he will be good enough for Liverpool.
I remember when Bruce Grobbelaar first started playing and it was like ‘Oh my God, who is this nutcase?’ But he had great ability and presence and Brucie turned himself in a top-class goalkeeper, and Liverpool will hope the same happens with Mignolet.
All Premier League goalkeepers are good shot-stoppers, although not too many can come for crosses.
The best ones are those who can prove great keepers even when they have very little to do. It’s all a matter of concentration.
I wouldn’t be overly worried if Liverpool now didn’t buy another centre-back. Provided they don’t lose anyone, I believe they have enough strength in depth, and anyway at this stage in the transfer window you aren’t going to get a decent centre-back without spending a shedload of money.