LIVERPOOL suffered their first defeat of the season as they were beaten 1-0 in controversial circumstances by Stoke City at the Britannia Stadium.
The Reds were left to reflect on a host of missed chances and two penalty decisions which both went against them.
The first enabled Jonathan Walters to fire home the only goal of the game midway through the opening 45 minutes.
Kenny Dalglish's men should have had a spot-kick of their own at the death when Matthew Upson handled inside the box but to their disgust Mark Clattenburg waved their protests away.
Dalglish made just one change to the side which beat Bolton 3-1 a fortnight earlier as Martin Skrtel returned to the starting line up in place of the injured Martin Kelly.
Skrtel was preferred to fit again Glen Johnson as the Reds boss looked to combat Stoke's aerial threat.
Johnson was joined on the bench by Andy Carroll as well as new signings Craig Bellamy and Sebastian Coates.
Stoke handed a debut to former Reds striker Peter Crouch with fellow new arrivals Wilson Palacios and Cameron Jerome named among the substitutes.
Luis Suarez starred in a lively start to the contest and unleashed a powerful 25-yard drive narrowly over the bar.
Suarez and Skrtel both narrowly failed to convert Charlie Adam's corner at the back post but as the first half wore on Liverpool lost their way.
The Potters went in front in the 21st minute. Walters tangled with Jamie Carragher in the box and after the Stoke striker hit the deck theatrically referee Clattenburg pointed to the spot.
Replays showed Carragher had an arm around Walters but he was already falling into the Reds defender.
Walters made the most of Clattenburg's generosity as he lashed the spot-kick past Pepe Reina.
The Reds almost levelled four minutes later but after Asmir Begovic flapped at Jordan Henderson's cross, Ryan Shawcross produced a fine goal-saving block to thwart Suarez.
Too often Liverpool conceded possession cheaply and struggled to build up momentum but they still conjured the better chances.
Skrtel lashed over the bar after being teed up by Suarez and just before the break the Uruguayan tested Begovic at his near post.
In the second half Liverpool stepped up a gear and just past the hour mark they should have equalised.
Jose Enrique's pass put Henderson clean through but with time to pick his spot he fired tamely straight at Begovic.
The keeper parried and then blocked Henderson's attempt from the rebound before Upson denied Henderson for a third time.
The ball dropped to Adam but Shawcross and Begovic combined to somehow shovel the ball behind and Stoke survived.
With 23 minutes to go Dalglish made a double change as he brought on Carroll and Bellamy in place of Kuyt and Henderson.
Liverpool dominated the closing stages but Downing nodded straight at the keeper, Suarez shot just wide from 20 yards and then Bellamy missed a free header.
In stoppage time Upson got away with handling in the box as Suarez tried to flick the ball past him.
There was still time for one more opportunity as Begovic dropped the ball inside the box but with the net gaping Suarez drilled wide to complete a miserable afternoon for the Reds.
Stoke: Begovic, Huth (Wilkinson 64), Shawcross, Upson, Wilson, Pennant, Delap (Palacios 71), Whitehead, Etherington (Jones 68), Walters, Crouch. Not used: Sorensen, Whelan, Shotton, Jerome.
Liverpool: Reina, Carragher, Skrtel (Johnson 81), Agger, Jose Enrique, Kuyt (Carroll 67), Adam, Lucas, Henderson (Bellamy 67), Downing, Suarez. Not used: Doni, Maxi, Coates, Spearing.
Referee: Mark Clattenburg (Tyne & Wear)