Liverpool will be looking to avenge the humiliating defeat they suffered at the hands of Stoke City last season, where they lost 6-1. This will be the perfect chance for redemption as the Reds can hope to begin their season with a victory to soothe the effect of that crushing loss.
Liverpool without Steven Gerrard will be difficult to watch, especially for his fans. New captain Jordan Henderson seemed pretty confident about beating Stoke City at the Britannia stadium this Sunday. Henderson has said that they’re eager to win, despite returning to the scene of their biggest defeat in over 50 years less than three months later. Brendan Rodgers, who many expected could lose his job after the Reds’ dismal run, will be under greater scrutiny than ever before in his trophy-less three year reign.
Stoke City will be looking to continue their spell over the Reds like last time. Barcelona winger Adama Traore is rumoured to have met Stoke club officials, with Aston Villa also showing major interest. He would become Stoke’s fifth signing in three years from Barca, following Marc Muneisa, Bojan, Moha and Ibrahim Afellay. Hughes has also not given up on being able to break the club transfer record to sign Ukraine and Dynamo Kiev’s 25-year-old winger Andriy Yarmolenko.
So far, the Reds have had no issues, except for the one concerning Daniel Sturridge. The team seems to be fit and confident enough to take on Stoke City at the Brittania stadium, aiming to seal an opening game victory.
On the other hand, Stoke have been dealt with a severe blow with Shawcross’ injury. The 27-year-old centre-back missed six weeks last season with back trouble. And he has been limited to just over an hour’s action during Stoke’s pre-season programme because of the problem. He is to undergo surgery for the same, and will miss out on the first two months. Wilson is likely to recover from an ankle injury during a pre-season game.
- In the five Premier League games Ryan Shawcross missed last season, they won three (Aston Villa, Hull, Everton), drew one (Newcastle) and lost once (Manchester City). They conceded six goals and kept two clean sheets in the process
- In 16 games as a both a player and manager for Liverpool, Kenny Dalglish only tasted defeat once at the hands of Stoke.
- Since 1968, Liverpool have lost only 3 times away from home against Stoke
- The last time Liverpool beat Stoke away in any competition was an 8-0 hammering in 2000, which is still Stoke’s record League Cup defeat
- Luis Suarez scored on his debut against Stoke
- Liverpool have suffered a couple of heavy away defeats against Stoke over the years: 6-1 in 1897; 5-2 in 1903.
LEAGUE HEAD TO HEAD
2014/2015 Sun 24 May Stoke City 6 – 1 Liverpool Premier League
2014/2015 Sat 29 Nov Liverpool 1 – 0 Stoke City Premier League
2013/2014 Sun 12 Jan Stoke City 3 – 5 Liverpool Premier League
2013/2014 Sat 17 Aug Liverpool 1 – 0 Stoke City Premier League
2012/2013 Wed 26 Dec Stoke City 3 – 1 Liverpool Premier League
2012/2013 Sun 07 Oct Liverpool 0 – 0 Stoke City Premier League
STOKE CITY: Jack Butland
With Coutinho, Milner and Henderson as midfielders, and Ibe, and Firmino as strikers, it will be a cracker of a game if the Reds start off on the right foot and get the odds in their favour. Stoke’s defence needs to be absolutely on point, and even more so, Jack Butland has to be rock-solid in front of the nets. It is likely that the direction in which the match progresses will depend on him. Liverpool will definitely be looking to get an early lead. He must aim at maintaining a clean sheet for this match.
LIVERPOOL: James Milner
A lot will depend on how Firmino adjusts to the club and pace of play in England. If he struggles early on, Liverpool will have to depend on Lallana, Ibe and Markovic to unlock defences along with Coutinho. Most Reds would rather watch Firmino do that job in full flow. Firmino is expected to aid majorly in securing the ball for the strikers, and he is definitely one of the players to look out for. If James Milner meets expectations in his maiden campaign with the Reds, Liverpool might have formed a perfect match in the middle.
Since the match is at the Britannia stadium, Stoke City is sure to have the home advantage. However, Liverpool are hungry for revenge, and with Henderson leading them, they might just get what they want. My prediction is a 3-2 win for Liverpool.
Stoke City to win is at 23/10 with BetVictor
Liverpool to win is at 11/8 with Paddy Power