With only a few matters to be resolved on the last day, Stoke and Liverpool go into the final game of the season hoping to end the season on a high and look forward to a summer break in preparation for the new campaign.
Mark Hughes and his Stoke side will be pleased with the season overall and will definitely finish in ninth place. Finishing in the top half would’ve been a realistic aim at the start of the season and the Potters have shrewdly gone about their business very efficiently over the course of the season. Their recent form hasn’t been great however, winning only two of their last nine games. That being said, they haven’t lost in their last two and dispatched Spurs in their last home game in a convincing 3-0 victory.
Liverpool will be kicking themselves after missing out on a Champions League place after a poor season for their standards. There was a good chance of overtaking Man Utd in the final handful of games to clinch fourth place but their recent form has prevented them from doing so. Having featured in the media quite heavily this week due to Raheem Sterling’s contract situation, Brendan Rodgers will want to turn the attention to the football and having won only one of their last five games, will want his players to show the desire and commitment on what will be Steven Gerrard’s last game for the club.
The Potters have only two players missing, with Victor Moses missing out with a hamstring injury and it is yet to be confirmed whether he will make his loan move from Chelsea permanent for next season. Bojan is also out with an ACL injury and unlikely to be in action until September.
No fresh concerns for the Reds ahead of the trip to the Midlands with Daniel Sturridge out after having an operation on his hip. Mamadou Sakho is also out with a hamstring problem whilst fellow defender Jon Flanagan is a long term absentee with a knee injury.
Jonathan Walters has scored in each of his last three Premier League appearances versus Liverpool at the Britannia Stadium.
Liverpool have won their last three games against Stoke City, this after winning just two of their previous 10 in the Premier League (D5 L3).
Steven Gerrard will serve out his final game for the Reds and is currently Liverpool’s top scorer in the league with eight goals this season.
League Head to Heads
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: Mame Biram Diouf
Mame Biram Diouf joined Stoke in the summer on a free transfer and has had a solid first season with nine goals this season, including vital goals against the likes of Man City, Southampton and Tottenham. The Senegalese striker offers pace and an aerial threat inside the box with three of his goals being scored with his head. Diouf has shown that he has a clinical nature when given a chance in front of goal with a 22.5% conversion rate and 50% of his 40 shots at goal have been accurate. He offers a good goal scoring threat against a Liverpool side who have been in poor form recently.
Liverpool: Philippe Coutinho
Voted by fans and his fellow teammates as Liverpool’s player of the year this season, young Brazilian Phillipe Coutinho has shown, especially in the second half of the season that he possesses certain qualities that can help him become a world class talent in years to come. The midfielder is well known for his technical abilities on the ball, with superb footwork on the ball and trickery which helps him to get past many players with ease with 60% of his 176 attempted dribbles being successful. However Coutinho has been criticised for his end product with only five goals and five assists this season so that is an area he will need to improve in if he is to prove himself as one of the Premier League’s best.
Stoke are formidable at home so I don’t think Liverpool will be able to grab a victory here so I am backing a draw here with Steven Gerrard to net on his final outing
My Prediction – Stoke 1-1 Liverpool