Game : Stoke City (18th-20 points) vs Liverpool ( 1st-45 points)
Venue : Britannia Stadium
Date : January 10, 2008 ( Saturday)
Competition : English Premier League
Kickoff : 17.30 GMT
Rafa Benitez’s Liverpool will look to build upon their three point lead at the top of the table when they visit the Britannia Stadium to play Stoke City on Saturday evening. With second placed Chelsea playing Manchester United on Sunday, this is a good opportunity for Liverpool to heap pressure on the Blues ahead of their trip to Old Trafford.
Liverpool beat Preston North End 2-0 in the FA Cup third round last week, with Fernando Torres and Albert Riera scoring. Midfielder Xabi Alonso sustained a foot injury in that game, and is unlikely to play against Stoke. Alvaro Arbeloa and Philip Deggen remain sidelined, but Fabio Aurelio, Martin Srktel and Fernando Torres are all fit enough to start.
Liverpool FC- form last five games- all competitions
Preston North End 0-2 Liverpool ( Albert Riera, Fernando Torres)
Newcastle 1-5 Liverpool ( Steven Gerrard*2, Ryan Babel, Xabi Alonso, Sami Hyypia)
Liverpool 3-0 Bolton ( Albert Riera, Robbie Keane*2)
Arsenal 1-1 Liverpool ( Robbie Keane)
Liverpool 2-2 Hull City ( Steven Gerrard*2)
Stoke City were shocked by League One side Hartlepool in the third round of the FA Cup last week. Mamady Sidibe is injured, and Ricardo Fuller is banned, which leaves Richard Cresswell and Dave Kitson as the men shouldering Stoke’s attacking burden. We could also see Matthew Etherington make his debut for the Potters. Stoke have not won in their last eight games.
Stoke City form- all competitions ( Scorers indicated in brackets)
Hartlepool 2-0 Stoke
West Ham 2-1 Stoke ( Abdoulaye Faye)
Stoke 0-1 Manchester United
Blackburn Rovers 3-0 Stoke City
Stoke 0-0 Fulham
Stoke’s home form has definitely been better than their away form this season. All their five wins have come at the Britannia stadium, and the last time they conceded more than one goal at home was against Chelsea, in late September.
Stoke held Liverpool to a goalless draw at Anfield earlier this season. Liverpool dominated the game from start to finish, but were unable to break the Potters down. The Reds to win 2-0, with Fernando Torres scoring twice. Steven Gerrard would be a good choice to score too, but I think it will be Torres’ day at the Britannia stadium.