Liverpool needed a thunderous Philippe Coutinho strike to banish the demons of last season's 6-1 loss at the Britannia. However, no matter how satisfying the late winner may have been, the overall performance was not so good.
Find out what we learned from the narrow victory below:
The Reds struggled to create chances for the majority of the game and this is largely down to the workmanlike presence of England internationals Jordan Henderson and James Milner.
The duo will always give it their all and have the stamina to outrun anyone, however so can Arturo Vidal and Ivan Rakitic yet their work rate is never the first, second or even third thing you say about them.
That Henderson's and Milner's main strengths is their work rate screams out one thing: They are limited. With the two of them in the middle the Reds were drawn into a midfield scrap and left the attacking quadruple of Jordan Ibe, Adam Lallana, Coutinho and Christian Benteke isolated.
This often meant the Brazilian, who is the most creative of the four, was forced to drop away from his position to receive the ball and then surge forward back into his original place - this wastes time, energy and allows the opposition to regroup.
The switch freed up Coutinho to stay further forward and focus on dribbling past defenders in the final third instead if picking up the ball on the centre circle. He had two moments where he caused real panic in the Stoke area, the latter resulting in the goal he scored.
Aside to the extra man in midfield, the advantage to using 4-3-3 is that it enables Henderson and Milner to do what they do best: Roam around energetically and find pockets of space to run into whilst someone else protects them. Indeed, Henderson's chipped cross to Benteke and Milner's flick inside the box all happened after the introduction of Can. Furthermore, because the England duo are full of stamina, they will also track back once the attack has ended.
An added bonus is Can is a technical player. Although raw in terms of experience, he can dictate the pace of game from deep and is built like a powerhouse. Doubts remain over his positionally sense but for now a three-man midfield with him anchoring it gives Liverpool the best balance.
2) Joe Gomez looks a solid Premier League player
The former Charlton Athletic player made his Liverpool and Premier League debut today and in an unfamiliar position at left-back. Nonetheless, the 18-year-old made it look like a day in the park as he looked composed running forward and never shirked challenges - an accusation thrown at his more experienced teammate Alberto Moreno.
Gomez had a solid pre-season but there is a world of difference between friendlies and competitive games. That said the Catford-born defender held his own and looks to have secured his name in the matchday squad. instead of bouncing in and out of the academy like many his age do.
Rodgers, a manager famed for wanting to play out of the back will be delighted Gomez looked to do exactly this on every occasion as opposed to thumping the ball into touch. There were at least two times where that led to a scary moment showing that while he is a talent prospect, he still has a way to go.
Many of the Anfield faithful led themselves to get carried away when Ibe made his first start for the club last season in the Merseyside derby against Everton at Goodison Park.
The former Wycombe star struck the post in a 0-0 draw and was vote Man-of-the-Match. His directness and ability to shoot has impressed fans of the Reds, leading many to suggest he is better than Raheem Sterling who inadvertently left the club in a distasteful manner.
Against Stoke he was shown up to be one dimensional and over dependant on his right foot as he struggled to shimmy his way out of being marked.
Ibe's trajectory has been amazing but with the likes of Roberto Firmino and the ambidextrous Lallana more versatile in their game, the 19-year-old will have to be patient and watch a fair amount of matches on the bench.
Liverpool's biggest summer transfer signing had a rather quite game but that is down to resolute defending and poor service. Every game will not be as congested as this one was and that is encouraging seeing that Coutinho almost played in the former Aston Villa striker on multiple occasions.
It was also pleasing to see the Belgian try and turn in behind and get onto the end of through balls from the former Inter Milan playmaker. We all know the striker can finish, is relatively quick and monstrously strong. In more open games he will definitely prove to be worth the money if today's performance is anything to go by.