Sunday 13th January 2014 sees Stoke City welcome title challenging Liverpool to the Britannia Stadium. Mark Hughes’ Stoke side will be looking to avenge their 1-0 defeat to Liverpool on the opening day of the 2014 leg of the Premier League campaign. After an initial awkward start to life under Mark Hughes, the men from the Potteries find themselves in a very respectable 12th place in the Barclays Premier League. Their best results so far this season have come at home, having held Manchester City and Everton to draws and they have also beaten Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea 3-2 with a late goal from on-loan Liverpool man Oussama Assaidi.
Liverpool have had a great start to the 2013-14 season and as we go into 2014 they find themselves in 4th place in the Barclays Premier League. They have been ruthless when playing the teams below them in the league so far this season with all of their 39 points being taken from those fixtures. If Liverpool are to finish in the top 4 then games like this are crucial to their hopes.
Stoke City are without long term injury victims Thomas Sorenson, Asmir Begovic and Andy Wilkinson. Stephen Ireland and Robert Huth could both make their returns to first team action, and Jack Butland will continue in goal.
Liverpool are hopeful that Daniel Sturridge will be fit enough to take his place on the bench after a period of unavailability. Long term injury victims Jon Flanagan, Jose Enrique, Daniel Agger, Sebastien Coates and Joe Allen are all still unavailable. Liverpool will make a late call on Mamadou Sakho who is fighting to be fit to replace Daniel Agger.
Former Liverpool players Charlie Adam and Peter Crouch are Stoke City’s top scorers this season with 5 goals in all competitions each.
- Adam leads their Premier League scoring chart for Stoke with 4 goals coming in the league.
- Stoke have not lost at home since September when Norwich City came away with a 1-0 victory.
- Liverpool go into the game on a run of 10 league games since they failed to score.
- Liverpool have lost on their last 3 League visits to the Britannia Stadium.
Peter Crouch is not only Stoke’s top scorer but he is their most creative player. He has created 13 chances so far this season for his teammates with 4 assists to his name to go alongside his 3 league goals.
With Liverpool struggling to defend from set pieces Crouch’s ability to score and create could cause chaos in the Liverpool back 4.
Jordan Henderson has arguably Liverpool’s most influential player this season. Having started every league game so far he has had a massive impact on the team’s high energy style of play.
Hendersons game is not just about running around though. As you will see, he has created a massive 39 chances so far with 5 assists so far. Henderson creates a chance every 46 minutes for his team mates.
Stoke are strong at home and Liverpool have been less convincing on the road. This is the sort of game that Liverpool need to be winning if they are going to be challenging for not only the top 4 but for the title itself.
I expect a tight game but Liverpool to come out on top but only just, Liverpool to win 2-1