Liverpool travel to Stoke City’s Britannia Stadium on Saturday – a bogey ground for the reds; we have never won a league match there.
Although the reds have won a League Cup game back in 2000 there, since Stoke returned to the top flight of English football the reds have yet to pick up more than a point on their travels to The Potters.
The reds were roundly outplayed last season in one of the many depressing away fixtures in the Premier League. Both clubs have started this season undefeated in the League, and both have seen large scale transfers – the majority of Stoke’s being done towards the end of the transfer window. As a result a whole host of new players could turn out for Stoke, and their fans will be keenly anticipating the welcome of several new faces.
Wilson Palacios and Cameron Jerome were amongst the players, joining Stoke alongside former Liverpool man Peter Crouch. All three could make their debuts. The reds too will have a couple of new faces available for potential selection – with both Craig Bellamy and Sebastian Coates joining the club since our last Premier League game two weeks ago.
Steven Gerrard is not likely to be ready for this fixture as his recuperation continues. Charlie Adam is understood to have shaken off an injury picked up on international duty. Glen Johnson is also back in training. Carragher and Agger are likely to continue their centre-back partnership, although Sebastian Coates could find himself a place on the bench as he is eased in to Anfield life.
Possible Stoke XI: Begovic; Huth, Woodgate, Shawcross, Wilson, Pennant, Delap, Palacios, Etherington, Walters, Crouch.
Possible LFC XI: Reina; Johnson, Carragher, Agger, Enrique, Henderson, Adam, Lucas, Downing, Kuyt, Suarez.
Liverpool have started the Premier League season in better form than last year, with 7 points from their opening 3 games.
Stoke have the chance to leapfrog the reds. They have a win and two draws (5 points) from their opening 3 games. Stoke held Chelsea to a 0-0 draw at the Britannia on the opening day of the season.
Recent history favours Stoke City. They have a good record at home against the top sides, who often struggle to cope with their long set-pieces and more physical nature.
Roy Hodgson’s Liverpool were beaten 2-0 in the corresponding fixture last season. Lucas Leiva even being handed a red card towards the end of the game in a frustrating day for the reds. This season’s starting XI could feature only 4 players who started in that game back in November 2010.
Pre Match Press Conference
The bookmakers are sitting on the fence somewhat. Liverpool start as favourites at 5/4. The draw and a Stoke win can be had for 9/4.
Dirk Kuyt is one goal away from scoring his 50th Premier League goal for the reds. If you think he will grab a goal on the day it is 17/10. Or he is 7/1 to be first goalscorer. Jordan Henderson is 16/1 to be the opening scorer.
Interestingly the shortest odds for correct score are on a 1-1 draw. That is 5/1. A Liverpool 3-2 win is at 33/1, with an optimistic 3-0 at 20/1.