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Oh God Not Stoke Again: Liverpool at Stoke City Preview

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I'd love to see this man score a few goals for us.
I'd love to see this man score a few goals for us.

The title was my, and probably most Liverpool fans, reaction when we drew Stoke City away in the League Cup. Stoke City. The team that the top 6 most fear (outside of each other, of course). And after two very disappointing draws, this game could be a great way for Liverpool to try to get their season back on track. I'd take a league win at Stoke over a League Cup win at Stoke any day, but I wouldn't mind advancing in this competition.

The good thing is that, unlike the FA Cup, the League Cup doesn't have replays, so a draw after 90 minutes and extra-time would lead to penalties. Of course, the bad thing is that for this to go to penalties, we'd have to have played 120 minutes (plus stoppage time). I'm not suggesting a boring draw is the only way to advance in this competition, but it may be the most realistic (if potentially harmful for our next league match).

All the current rumors suggest that Andy Carroll will finally get another start. Like most, I'm not convinced by him yet, but I was very surprised that he benched against both Manchester United and Norwich. I'd love for him to get a goal or 2 and get his season really going, but to be honest I'll take a goal or 2 from anyone. Otherwise, I expect a strong side from Dalglish. Maybe another game for Coates, and maybe a rare Maxi Rodriguez appearance. But the spine from recent games (bar perhaps Suarez) should be intact.

I don't think I am taking a huge risk here, but a 1-1 draw leading to a Liverpool victory on penalties seems a likely result. But this could go either way. I have no idea how strong a side Stoke will play, since they are also in the Europa League, but expect a relatively strong one. This won't be easy, and we all know it'll be ugly. But it's Liverpool, and I can't wait to watch.