Stoke City v Liverpool - Match Preview, Stats & Team News

To be played on Sunday 12th January 2014 at 16:10. Venue: Britannia Stadium, Stoke.

Odds: Stoke City 5/1, Draw 3/1, Liverpool 4/6

Last season: 3-1

Preview & injury news

Stoke may be a side in transition in Mark Hughes' first season in charge of the Potters but they've certainly made the Britannia Stadium a difficult place to go this season, with Manchester City, Chelsea and Everton all struggling and failing to leave with all three points - so they will fancy their chances of getting another good result against Liverpool. The Potters currently sit 12th on 22 points, five points above the drop zone.

Liverpool will be hoping to end their dreadful record at the Britannia Stadium in the league which has seen them only pick up two points from five visits. They're currently sitting in the top four after getting through the difficult festive period which saw them lose at both Manchester City and Chelsea but they bounced back with a home win against Hull City. Both sides have managed to come through their FA Cup third round ties from the weekend.

On the injury front, Stephen Ireland could be in line for a return for the Potters after a spell on the sideline with a hamstring injury, but will have third choice goalkeeper and promising talent Jack Butland in goal for them. Asmir Begovic has a broken finger whilst Thomas Sorensen has a calf problem. There is a chance of Robert Huth returning from a knee injury at the heart of the home side's defence whilst Oussama Assaidi is ineligible for the game against his parent club.

Vice-captain Daniel Agger has been ruled out for Liverpool with a calf strain he picked up in the FA Cup win over Oldham Athletic, but the Reds are likely to be boosted by the return of Mamadou Sakho at the heart of the defence after recovering from a hamstring injury earlier than expected. Daniel Sturridge is also expected to return from injury after an ankle problem, but Joe Allen is still expected to miss out with an adductor injury, but could return to the side next week. Jon Flanagan is still out with a hamstring injury until later this month at least, whilst Jose Enrique continues to recover from a knee problem. 

Key stats

Charlie Adam is Stoke City's top scorer in the league this season with four goals. 

Luis Suarez is Liverpool's top scorer in the league this season with 20 goals.

Stoke City had 40% possession in their last league match, a 1-1 draw at home to Everton.

Liverpool had 58% possession in their last league match, a 2-0 win at home to Hull City.

5 players to watch

Charlie Adam - Adam lines up against his former club and seems to relish playing under Mark Hughes this season, as he seems to have become a bit more of a threat in the final third of the field. Brendan Rodgers was the man that sold him, so will Adam come back to haunt his former employers?

Daniel Sturridge - Sturridge returns after a lengthy absence with an ankle injury but is available again and could link up with strike partner Luis Suarez. Sturridge himself scored nine goals in 12 Premier League games before his injury, so can he return with a goal at the Britannia?

Stephen Ireland - Ireland is in line to return to the Stoke squad after struggling with a hamstring injury and has proved to be a threat in the final third for the Potters when he has played this season. It may be a choice between him and Adam to get selected, but Ireland could trouble Liverpool in between the lines if given the opportunity - whether that's from the start, or the bench.

Mamadou Sakho - Sakho is in line to make an earlier than expected return from a hamstring injury, and it's a welcome one for Liverpool given Daniel Agger's absence. Sakho is a physical defender, and should be up to the challenge the home side will pose. The visitors will also be hoping he comes through the game unscathed. 

Peter Crouch - Another former Liverpool player in the Stoke City line-up, but Crouch's threat in the air is likely to be a big factor in this game. If on song, the home side could have some joy, especially with Liverpool's record of defending set pieces this season.

Earlier on in the season

Liverpool 1-0 Stoke City, August 2013

There may have only been one goal in the game but there was plenty of action. Stoke hit the bar early on after some uncertain goalkeeping and defending from the home side. Asmir Begovic kept Liverpool at bay for most of the game before a Daniel Sturridge strike from the edge of the area gave the Reds the lead before half time. Begovic was in fine form in the second half as he, along with the woodwork prevented Liverpool from doubling their lead. Daniel Agger inexplicably handled a Stoke free-kick in his own area late on into the game to give Jonathan Walters the opportunity to equalise from the spot, only for debutant Mignolet to save both his penalty and Kenwyne Jones' follow up to give Liverpool a winning start.

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