The Bogey Flavor: Liverpool v Stoke Preview

Clive Brunskill

Liverpool continue the league campaign on Sunday fresh off a victory in the FA Cup, but face a team that's been tough to handle in recent years in Mark Hughes' Stoke side, especially away from home.

US: NBC Live Extra - 11:10AM

UK: Sky Sports1 - 4:10PM

Liverpool face Stoke for the second time this season, after a hard fought 1-0 win against the Potters on the opening day thanks to an early bullet from Daniel Sturridge, and perhaps just as many thanks to Simon Mignolet, who wrote himself into Anfield lore with a late penalty save on his full debut.

For the Reds, a win would further solidify our chances for a Top 4 finish, while a victory for Stoke would put them in midtable in 10th position, results fairing.

But it won't be easy for Brendan Rodgers' side, despite Stoke's current form (2 wins in 6, including 2 losses and 2 draws), Liverpool have never found it easy to go to the Britannia, with the Reds yet to beat Stoke at their home ground in the Premier League. (We did so in the League Cup en route to winning the competition in 2012.)

However, to aid our quest, we have the returning Captain Fantastic, as well as the aforementioned Daniel Sturridge back in the team, and, the beast that is Mamadou Sakho, who returned to training this week after it was feared he would be out for up to three months.

On the downside of the injury front, Daniel Agger will miss the trip and will likely be out for three to four weeks with a calf problem. Jon Flanagan will also be out for another few weeks after sustaining a calf problem in the 3-1 win against Cardiff in the middle of last month.

Another plus is the fact that winger Oussama Assaidi will also miss the match. On loan from us and unable to play against his parent club, he's been on fine form recently, with the highlight of his displays being a last-gasp winner against Chelsea.

Luis Suarez will look to continue his fine form after he picked up the Premier Leagues' Player Of The Month award, along the way becoming the fastest player to reach 20 league goals. He scored his first goal for Liverpool against Stoke and scored a brace in the League Cup match mentioned above. Is there anything he can't do?

Some thoughts-

-Our biggest problem against Stoke has possibly been our midfield play. We haven't been able to keep the ball on the ground, playing their game, especially away from home. Hopefully our midfield form will continue here. (JAceKopite16)

-It'll be exciting to see Sturridge back, but I'd not start him. I'd give him the last 25 minutes, maybe more dependent on the scoreline. (JAceKopite16)

-Ugh, I HATE playing Stoke. It has gotten better, but they're still Stoke and you'll need more than shin pads against them. (Adam)

-The returns from injury are the real headline for me. Sakho being available perhaps even more important than Sturridge, Kolo Toure's diminutive stature would have been a tough matchup. (Matt)

-However, Sturridge is back! Maybe he just comes off the bench, but even having him in the 18 will be a huge boost. (Matt)

-It is good to see Sturridge back, but this is the last team I'd want to see him get a ton of time against. He end right back up in Dr. Iqbal's already overly crowded office. (Adam)

-No mercy should be shown the Potters. Pulis may wear a different track suit, but this is the same crew of rugby players that he assembled. I'd like to see Jordan Henderson really run the show in this one. (Matt)

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