Liverpool vs Stoke City Preview
Jurgen Klopp has transformed Liverpool’s fortunes this season. After a strong start that saw them climb up to the top of the table, the Reds suffered a setback at Bournemouth. However, they are back on track with two back to back wins against Middlesbrough and rivals Everton and are currently placed 2nd in the league table with 27 points from 17 games.
Stoke City, on the other hand, are placed 11th in the Premier League table. Mark Hughes will argue that the Potters have the trickiest festive fixture which sees them travelling to Liverpool and Chelsea. The draw against 10-man Leicester City last weekend did nothing to boost their morale and they will be looking to gain something from this tie.
Phillippe Coutinho has returned to training much to the relief of Klopp but is still unlikely to start the game. Joel Matip has also sustained a minor ankle problem and is doubtful. Marko Grujic also faces a race against the clock to be fit in time for Stoke’s visit. Danny Ings and Adam Bogdan are long-term absentees with knee and ligament injuries respectively.
For Stoke, Jack Butland has been out of action after fracturing his ankle and still remains unavailable. Geoff Cameron and Marc Muniesa could miss out on the match while Phil Bardsley is yet to recover from a knee injury.
Clyne; Lovren; Klavan; Milner
Lallana; Henderson; Wijnaldum
Mane; Origi; Firmino
Stoke City: (4-2-3-1)
Johnson; Shawcross; Martins Indi; Pieters,
Shaqiri; Allen; Diouf
Stats from FourFourTwo
- Liverpool have won five of their last six Premier League games against Stoke, losing the other 6-1 in May 2015.
- Stoke beat Liverpool in the 2nd leg of their League Cup semi-final last January 1-0, though they were eliminated on penalties. This ended a run of 36 games without a win in any competition at Anfield. They then lost 4-1 in April in the Premier League there.
- Liverpool are unbeaten in 15 Premier League home games (W9 D6 L0) – the longest current unbeaten home run in the competition.
- The last time that they went on a longer run at Anfield in the Premier League was a 31-game unbeaten streak between December 2007 and August 2009.
- Joe Allen has scored five goals in 16 Premier League appearances for Stoke City this season; one more than he scored in his entire Liverpool career in the competition (four goals in 91 games).
- Mark Hughes has never won a Premier League game as a manager at Anfield (W0 D4 L6). He also suffered his heaviest defeat as a player in the competition there; 1-7 for Southampton in January 1999.
- Stoke have failed to score in 11 of their previous 17 trips to Merseyside in the Premier League (against Liverpool and Everton combined).
- Sadio Mane has had a hand in eight goals in his last nine Premier League appearances (five goals, three assists).
- Jurgen Klopp named an unchanged starting XI in his last Premier League game (versus Everton) – only the third time he’s done this in the competition but he’s never done it in successive PL matches.
- Liverpool have kept two successive Premier League clean sheets – they have not kept three in a row in the competition under Jurgen Klopp before.
Liverpool are in top form while Stoke have not been able to show consistency. Liverpool will take confidence from their last minute victory against Everton. Stoke, on the other hand, will be sulking at drawing against Leicester but will be looking to make amends.
Final Predicted Score: Liverpool 3-1 Stoke City