An early wonder strike from Luis Suarez opened the scoring for the Reds but it was soon cancelled out by Peter Crouch, who headed the away side on level terms four minutes later.
Liverpool dominated for much of the game but had to wait for Stewart Downing to help them clinch the win with a goal in the 57th minute.
Jose Reina - 5.5
Reina was largely unbothered by Stoke's physical presence but he really should have done better for Crouch's goal.
He took things for granted and failed to even try to get past Shotton to challenge for the ball - a certain symptom that goalkeepers are pampered like they are a endangered species nowadays.
Martin Kelly (Off 89') - 5.5
His link-up play down the right was so poor that it should be called a 'link-down' play instead. Kelly didn't help defensively either after he was booked for a poor challenge on Ethertington minutes into the match. Glen Johnson clearly holds the upper hand in the battle for the right-back position.
Jamie Carragher - 7
Carragher seems to enjoy physical battles like these, the traditional defender that he is. The veteran made several crucial headers and interceptions which otherwise would have seen chances fall to Crouch and Walters instead.
Martin Skrtel - 8
He's half the reason why Liverpool's defense is so hard to deal with. With other half (Daniel Agger) injured, Skrtel stood up to the plate and made sure that Stoke's crosses and balls lumped into the box were easily dealt with.
Jose Enrique - 6.5
Given the liberty to go forward, Enrique partnered well with Downing on the leftn but both were equally poor in terms of delivery. The next step is to get these two whipping pinpoint crosses at Carroll's ponytail and Dalglish will have himself a team that most will envy.
Jay Spearing - 7
Kept it simple and tidied the midfield. It's one of those rare days that Lucas Leiva isn't missed in the Liverpool midfield and Spearing can claim credit for it.
Maxi Rodriguez (Off 61') - 5.5
Given a berth in the starting line up in view of Liverpool's midweek match but Maxi didn't do himself good with an ineffective performance. He looked positively drab compared to Gerrard.
Stewart Downing - 6.5
As mentioned earlier - go sign up for 'Bend it like Beckham' classes with Enrique! Credits to Downing though - his partnership with Gerrard, Suarez and Carroll seems to be developing nicely.
Steven Gerrard - 7
Gerrard didn't have a particularly bad game, but one can't help but ask for more from Captain Fantastic himself. The derby hero drew all the attention from the Stoke midfield and struggled to make his mark on the game.
Andy Carroll - 5
For his bulk and strength, Carroll should really relish physical battles like these but he ended up looking like the skinny kid at rugby lessons being pushed around all the time.
His sole significant contribution was... Blimey, I can't remember!
Luis Suarez (Off 89') - 7.5
Suarez was slow to warm up to the game but got going at full force once he scored the brilliant goal in the 23rd minuite. The Uruguayan was in the midst of everything good in the Liverpool attack from then on.
Now, if only he can cut out his unpleasant attitude and the tendency to gravitate horizontally towards the ground.
Dirk Kuyt (On 61') - 6
As per usual, Kuyt came on and shored up possession for his side.
Jordan Henderson (On 89') - N/A
(However, I can reveal that the office let out a collective groan when his number came on the board.)
Sebastian Coates (On 89') - N/A
Thomas Sorensen - 6
He could do little about Suarez's goal but managed a few stops to keep his side in the running till the final whistle.
Andy Wilkinson - 6
Stayed back to guard the flank well, much like an old-school full back, to much effectiveness. Then again, perhaps it was because he was up against Maxi Rodriguez.
Robert Huth - 7
Solid at the back, Huth had Carroll at the back of his pocket and won almost every aerial battle that came his way.
Ryan Shawcross - 7.5
An examplary performace from Shawcross gave Liverpool's attack very few chances in the box. Not afraid to crunch in with the tackle, Shawcross managed to get it right, not giving away fouls outside his area unnecessarily.
Ryan Shotton (Off 61') - 6
His long throws are always a useful tool for Stoke but Shotton offered little else in terms of attack as a full-back. On the bright side, he did well enough to force Enrique and Downing wide and make the cross instead of cut in to shoot.
Dean Whitehead (Off 74')- 6.5
Whitehead kept it simple and swept up the midfield easily, pushing up accurate passes to ease the pressure on his side while setting off counter-attacks.
Glenn Whelan - 6
His presence in the midfield helped close the space off the Liverpool midfield and he was useful as an outlet to link up with the strikers as well.
Matthew Etherington (Off 72') - 4
A poor game from Etherington, who was closed down and shut off from the game by Spearing way too easily.
Marc Wilson - 5.5
Tasked to take care of Suarez when he goes to pick up the ball from midfield, Wilson did a commendable job throughout, with the sole exception of when Suarez managed to score the goal which put Liverpool ahead.
Jon Walters - 5.5
He was always trying to get under the Liverpool defenders' skins, but Walters didn't quite manage to get into scoring positions enough and didn't pose a threat.
Peter Crouch - 7
Crouch won most of his aerial battles but couldn't do much with the ball after he headed it. Kudos to him, though, for finally scoring his first goal against his former side in his tenth attempt with, what else, but a header.
Jermaine Pennant (On 61') - N/A
Cameron Jerome (On 72') - N/A
Rory Delap (On (74') - N/A