Liverpool vs. Stoke City Preview

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Published: 08/01/2012

Kenny Dalglish’s ailing Liverpool side host Stoke City in the Premier League on January 14 in what will be a must win game if the Reds are to keep their faltering Champions League aspirations on track.

The Kop has been surrounded by controversy throughout December due to the infamous actions of star striker Luis Suarez - and the Uruguayan’s recent eight game ban for racially taunting Manchester United’s Patrice Evra hardly brought about the best Christmas present for Dalgleish who forked out £22 million for him just months ago.

Furthermore, Liverpool’s limitations as a top Premier League team were woefully exposed by Manchester City at the turn of the year after Roberto Mancini’s men consumedly eased to a 3-0 success at Eastlands.

That defeat for Liverpool effectively ended any faint title hopes they still had heading into 2012 but also left them playing major catch up for the Champions League qualification places.

Many thought that a season out of Europe could in fact aid Liverpool in returning to the summit of the Premier League table considering that they had no other distractions to harm their main focus.

But despite showing early promise under Dalglish, the wheels at Anfield have been slowly been caught in motion and are in danger of completely falling off.

As was evident when a clear second best away at City, the goals and creativity has really dried up for Liverpool who appear to be, yet again, over reliant on the returning Steven Gerrard to produce the goods.

Suarez’s absence from the side leaves merely an out of form Andy Carroll at the business end of the pitch and the already mounting pressure on the £35 million man’s shoulders seems to have increased even further now that he is the only man at the fore of Liverpool’s attack. Far too often this campaign have Liverpool’s supporting cast failed to offer anything in reserve and Stoke boss Tony Pulis must surely be confident of pulling off a result at Anfield, especially considering his side’s already healthy record against the 2005 Champions League winners.

Stoke have proved yet again to be a solid, durable Premier League outfit this season and they will be far from ideal opponents for a Liverpool side facing so much pressure from their home supporters.

Essentially, Liverpool have fared poorly at breaking down far less resolute teams than Stoke so far this season and odds of around 4/9 for them to record three points against the Potters hardly tells a correct story.

Pulis’s men will be looking to kick on throughout January to secure their position in the top half of the table before they return to Europa League action in February – a competition which unquestionably hinders their own Premier League progress due to the small squad which they possess.

Stoke City’s main concern is their inability to score goals on the road and have indeed only managed to net on eight occasions so far. But whilst it may be too optimistic to suggest that they can buck that trend enough to beat Liverpool, the away side can certainly take away a point, comfortably, at odds of around 7/2.

With both teams failing to fire up front, a 0-0 outcome at odds of around 9/1 also looks appealing.

Any odds displayed within this article were correct at the time of publishing (08/01/2012) but are subject to change.

08/01/2012     © Frixo 2018

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