Liverpool blank Stoke 1-0 to open EPL season

London: Simon Mignolet saved a last-gasp penalty to earn Liverpool a 1-0 win over Stoke City on the opening day of the new Premier League season at Anfield on Saturday.

The Belgian goalkeeper, a £9 million ($13.9 million, 10.6 million euros) signing from Sunderland, parried Jon Walters` 89th-minute spot-kick and then brilliantly blocked Kenwyne Jones` follow-up after Daniel Agger was penalised for handball.

The game, the first domestic league match in the world to be played with goal-line technology in place, was ultimately decided by a low 20-yard strike from Daniel Sturridge in the 37th minute.

Liverpool`s fluid forward line of Sturridge, Philippe Coutinho and debutant Iago Aspas impressed in the absence of the suspended Luis Suarez, but it was Mignolet who proved the hosts` saviour.

Later on Saturday, David Moyes`s reign as Manchester United manager will begin in earnest when the defending champions travel to Swansea City.

Pre-match attention has focused on whether or not Moyes will field unsettled striker Wayne Rooney, who did not feature in last weekend`s 2-0 win over Wigan Athletic in the Community Shield.

The 27-year-old striker has been the subject of two unsuccessful bids from Chelsea and missed United`s entire pre-season campaign through injury, but he played for England in Wednesday`s 3-2 friendly win over Scotland.

Arsenal begin their campaign at home to Aston Villa, while Moyes`s successor as Everton manager, Roberto Martinez, takes his new side to Norwich City.

Elsewhere, Sunderland host Fulham and Southampton visit West Bromwich Albion, while promoted Cardiff City will play their first top-flight match in 51 years at West Ham United.


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