On April 10th, Liverpool will welcome Stoke City to Anfield as the two sides both fight to move up in the European spots. Liverpool sit nine points back of fourth place at the moment, but have at least one game in hand on everyone above them, two on Stoke and Southampton. Even with the extra opportunities to pick up points, a loss, and possibly even a draw, would end their slim chances at Champions League football next season. Stoke are seven points behind fourth and have played a game more, so they’re not really in the top four race. They do have a chance to slide into the top seven and get a chance at the Europa League.
Liverpool have just had some bad news on the injury front as Jordon Henderson’s season appears to be over after damaging his LCL. Along with him, Danny Ings and Joe Gomez are also out for the season. Christian Benteke is also out for a month with his own knee injury. Lucas Leiva could come back against the Potters and he’ll face a fitness test before the game.
Stoke are currently riddled with injuries. Their star goalkeeper Jack Butland is out until next season after he broke his ankle on England duty. John Walters and Marc Wilson will miss out as both recover from knee injuries. Marko Arnautovic, Glenn Whelan, Geoff Cameron, Ryan Shawcross, Glen Johnson, and Xherdan Shaqiri are all doubts for the match.
This will be the fourth time these two teams have met this season. The previous three meetings all ended in 1-0 wins for the away team. Stoke have only three wins in their last 12 meetings with Liverpool, but they’ve won two of their last four. Stoke have scored fewer goals than any other top half team, while no other top half team has conceded more goals than Liverpool.
Liverpool: Roberto Firmino
Liverpool’s big singing this summer was that of Brazilian star Roberto Firmino. He started his Liverpool career slowly, but the Brazilian has picked it up with eight goals and seven assists in only 19 Premier League starts. Firmino has really flourished under Jurgen Klopp, fitting into the German’s pressing system quite well. He has an innate ability to score and set up goals, and that could prove crucial in the game against Stoke.
Stoke City: Giannelli Imbula
Stoke have made some big signings in the past few windows to try to change their image to a club with more skillful technical players, and they made another big singing this January bringing in Giannelli Imbula. The Frenchman has come in to bring more quality to the Stoke midfield. In this game, he could be very important in breaking Liverpool’s press. Imbula is a fantastic dribbler, and his ability to dribble, carry the ball through midfield, and transition a team from defense to attack could be vital against Liverpool’s high pressing game.
Liverpool will be high off a good result against Borussia Dortmund, but they will also be tired. Still, Stoke have a whole lot of injuries to contend with, Liverpool have the better players, and they’re at home. Liverpool should be winning this.
Prediction: 2-0 Liverpool