The exciting days that we witnessed at Anfield last season now seem a distant past. The Merseysiders haven’t won a game in more than a month, their last victory being against relegation-threatened QPR. While some fans might argue that they sit just 5 points off 4th place, it is also to be noted that they are just 4 points off the relegation zone.
The red half of the Merseyside will square up against Stoke City, a club that sits just above them in the 11th place, with a single point separating the two. The Potters have had a mixed bag of results in the past few weeks, garnering 7 points of a possible 15 in 5 games and will be looking to shorten the distance between them and European football with a result at the famed turf of Anfield.
The frustration with Daniel Sturridge’s injury continues to grow with the Englishman ruled out till the beginning of 2015. His strike partner at the club Mario Balotelli is carrying a groin injury and is unlikely to start on Saturday. He might, however, play some part in the game. While Mahmodou Sakho, Enrique and Suso have started training again, Flanagan is still recovering from his knee injury.
Victor Moses has been the lynchpin of Stoke’s attack this season having created 20 chances. He has been ruled out for 8 weeks and his absence would cost this Stoke side dearly. While Erik Pieters and Mark Wilson might play some role against the Reds, the club is without the services of long-term absentees Odemwingie and Huth.
Stoke City’s last victory at Anfield was in the 1958-59 season in the Second Division.
Raheem Sterling has been involved in 6 out of 15 Liverpool goals (3 goals and 3 assists, constituting 40% of Liverpool’s goals), while Mame Biram Diouf (3 goals and 1 assist) and Victor Moses (1 goal and 3 assists) have been involved 4 times each in the 13 goals scored by Stoke City.
Both the clubs have just 2 clean sheets to show for their defensive work (or rather lack of it) from the season so far.
Mignolet, Manquillo, Skrtel, Toure,Moreno, Lucas, Can, Henderson, Coutinho, Lallana, Lambert,
Begovic, Bardsley, Shawcross, Wilson, Pieters, Adam, Cameron, N’Zonzi, Walters, Biram Diouf, Crouch
Emre Can would be crucial to Liverpool’s fortunes in this game. The box-to-box midfielder could line up alongside Henderson, Coutinho and Allen in the midfield. His settling down period was struck a blow with the injury he sustained while with the German U-20 side. The German looked out of his depths at times on his return and certain segments of critics have even gone on to label him a yard or two off pace. While he did show glimpses of his skill and movement against Chelsea, he will be up against a tough midfield and his contribution to the attack as well as defence at the middle of the park would help unsettle it.
N’Zonzi has been a constant feature of this Stoke side, having clocked every single minute of action of this season. The Frenchman will have additional roles to play in the absence of influential Victor Moses and will need to step up his creative instincts against a hurting Liverpool side who have been found wanting defensively. He has shown the right mix of attacking flair and defensive abilities having created 12 chances this season, the second highest by any Stoke player. The player has often been compared to Patrick Viera by certain segments of people and it comes as no surprise that he has substantiated his stacking performances with good combative and defensive contributions. His performance in the middle of the park would be crucial to Stoke getting anything out of this game against a side battling for confidence.
|2013/2014||Sun 12 Jan||Stoke City||3 – 5||Liverpool||Premier League|
|Sat 17 Aug||Liverpool||1 – 0||Stoke City||Premier League|
|2012/2013||Wed 26 Dec||Stoke City||3 – 1||Liverpool||Premier League|
|Sun 07 Oct||Liverpool||0 – 0||Stoke City||Premier League|
|2011/2012||Sun 18 Mar||Liverpool||2 – 1||Stoke City||F.A. Cup|
|Sat 14 Jan||Liverpool||0 – 0||Stoke City||Premier League|
|Wed 26 Oct||Stoke City||1 – 2||Liverpool||League Cup|
|Sat 10 Sep||Stoke City||1 – 0||Liverpool||Premier League|
Midfielder Charlie Adam has been known for his tenacious ways. Expect him to get stuck into his old employers with a combative display. With TailorBet, you can get Adam to be booked at 3.50.
Liverpool are coming off a very tough set of results. Things don’t seem alright at a club that has spent massively to build on its impressive performance last season. Every game seems like the right one to kickstart their season and Brendan Rodgers will be telling his folks the same. Stoke, on the other hand will look to inflict further damage to the morale of this Liverpool side. We predict a 2-2 draw at Anfield.