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Stoke City vs Liverpool: Premier League match preview, likely line-ups and score prediction

Martyn Cooke



Stoke City host Liverpool at the Bet365 Stadium on Saturday afternoon with both teams looking to secure three points after failing to win their mid-week Premier League contests.

The Potters were defeated by Burnley courtesy of a solitary George Boyd goal at Turf Moor on Tuesday which leaves Mark Hughes’ side without a win in their last four fixtures. The players were booed off by the travelling supporters in mid-week and there is a growing pressure on Hughes to halt an alarming run of poor results which has seen them slip into the bottom half of the table. If Stoke suffer a fourth consecutive defeat on Saturday then they could finish the weekend just five points clear of the relegation zone.

A late Josh King strike denied Liverpool a victory at Anfield on Wednesday evening but The Reds have been in good form in recent weeks. Jurgen Klopp’s team still has some work left to do in order to secure a top-four finish and Champions League football as, despite sitting in third place six points clear of Arsenal and Manchester United, they have played two more games than their rivals. However, Liverpool could have to face Stoke without a host of first-team players with Sadio Mane, Philippe Coutinho, Adam Lallana and Jordan Henderson all likely to miss out due to injury or illness.

Current Form

Stoke City have suffered an alarming dip in form in recent weeks and the defeat at Turf Moor in midweek was their third consecutive loss in the Premier League. They have picked up just four points from the last eighteen available and have scored just one goal in their previous four contests. In fact, the lack of goals will be a major concern for Mark Hughes whose team have only netted 33 goals through the entirety of their league campaign this season, a total that only four other sides have failed to exceed (Sunderland, Middlesbrough, Burnley and Hull City), and they have only scored two or more goals in one of their previous ten contests.

Liverpool may have dropped two points at Anfield on Wednesday evening courtesy of Josh King’s late equaliser but Jurgen Klopp’s side have been in good form in recent weeks, with notable victories against Arsenal, Burnley and a derby day win against Everton. However, The Reds have struggled on their travels since the turn of the year and have won just one of their last seven away fixtures in all competitions, a 1-0 success against League Two side Plymouth Argyle in the FA Cup third round back in early January. Liverpool have experienced some success at the Bet365 Stadium having won both of their previous visits last campaign although the 6-1 defeat, in Steven Gerrard’s final game for the club, in May 2015 still sticks firmly in the memory.

Team News

Mark Hughes was boosted by the return of Geoff Cameron and Glen Johnson to the match day squad in midweek but could still be without Jonathan Walters and Xherdan Shaqiri for the visit of Liverpool due to knee and calf injuries respectively. Jack Butland has returned to full training following over a year out of first team action due to a broken ankle and could be in contention to earn a place amongst the substitutes whilst Stephen Ireland is a long-term injury absentee. It is almost impossible to predict what formation or personnel Mark Hughes will deploy – the Welshman has used 3-5-2, 4-4-2 and 4-2-3-1 formations in the last couple of months but could stick with the three-at-the-back system that he utilised at Turf Moor.

Jurgen Klopp currently has an abundance of injury concerns as he prepares his side for the trip to North Staffordshire. Sadio Mane’s knee injury is reported to be worse than initially thought and it is unlikely that he will feature at the weekend whilst Philippe Coutinho is also a doubt after picking up an illness during the week. This could result in a recall for forgotten striker Daniel Sturridge who has been on the periphery of the first team picture for the vast majority of the campaign. Liverpool will also be without Adam Lallana, Jordan Henderson and Danny Ings, all of whom are not expected to return to action in the near future.

Predicted Line-Ups

Verdict: Stoke City 1-0 Liverpool

Stoke City may be in the middle of a poor run of results and the lack of goals will be a major concern for Mark Hughes, but The Potters are formidable on home soil and nothing stokes up the crowd at the Bet365 Stadium than a backs-against-the-wall scenario. Jurgen Klopp’s side have struggled on their travels since the turn of the year and without Sadio Mane and, potentially, Philippe Coutinho you have to question whether The Reds will have enough star power to come away with a positive result. We predict a narrow victory for the home side at a raucous Bet365 Stadium.

Martyn is currently a PTA and Research Assistant in the Department of Exercise Science at the Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU). In addition to his teaching role he is also undertaking a PhD in Sports History that is exploring the origins and development of football in Staffordshire. Prior to working at MMU, Martyn spent a decade operating in the sport and leisure industry in a variety of roles including as a Sports Development Officers, PE Teacher, Football Coach and Operation Manager.


Luka Modric could prove the perfect Emre Can replacement at Liverpool

The Croatian has been linked with a move to Anfield with Emre Can expected to leave this summer.



Photo: Getty Images

Emre Can looks set to be on his way out of Anfield this summer as the 24-year-old German international seems unwilling to sign a new contract at Liverpool.

Spanish news outlet El Gol Digital have recently linked Real Madrid with the German international, although they would have to fend off interest from European rivals Juventus.

Speaking to Sport 1, Can recently expressed his desire to be featured in the world team of the year at some point in his career.

(Photo by Paul Ellis/Getty Images)

For the 24-year-old, it would be difficult to turn down a club of Madrid’s magnitude and his departure would represent a blow for Jurgen Klopp’s side.

Nonetheless, a swap deal for Real Madrid star Luka Modric would be a superb way to ease the pain of the German’s exit.

Reports linking Can with the Bernabeu come just a matter of weeks after Spanish newspaper Dario Gol expressed Luka Modric’s desire to leave the current Champions League holders.

The Croation international is reportedly keen on a return to the Premier League return, with Liverpool, along with Tottenham, named as front-runners for his signature.

Even at 32 years of age, the Croatian midfielder is still one of the best players in the world and would represent an excellent short-term fix for the Reds.

Modric was named in the FIFA FIFPro World XI in January and ranked as the 6th best player in the world in the Guardian’s prestigious Top 100 rankings.

His brilliant passing range, his superb footballing brain, and his delicate skills are all crucial components that would boost Liverpool’s attacking threat.

(Photo by Manuel Queimadelos Alonso/Getty Images)

Combined with a world-class attack consisting of Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino, and Sadio Mane, the Reds truly could stake a claim for the most dynamic frontline in England next season.

Most importantly, the addition of Modric could finally mark the replacement for Philippe Coutinho that many Liverpool supporters have been begging for.

A seasoned international with tremendous experience at the upper levels of world football would be a remarkable transfer for Klopp’s side, and would surely bolster their title aspirations in 2018/19.

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English Premier League

Andrew Robertson the most important Liverpool summer signing

The Scottish left-back has plugged a gap that has existed at Liverpool for some time.



Mohamed Salah rightly received all the praise yesterday, after Liverpool put Watford to the sword in the Premier League.

Liverpool beat the Hornets 5-0 at Anfield, with the Egyptian scoring four of the goals.

It is hard to argue with Salah being the club’s best signing in the summer. His tally of 37 goals in 43 games certainly highlights that fact. 

However, the most important signing might have been that of Andrew Robertson.

The Scottish left-back joined from Hull City in a deal, reported by the Independent, to be worth around £8 million. That price-tag is now looking an absolute bargain.

(Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

Liverpool have had problems at left-back for a number of seasons.

Alberto Moreno looked like being the solution. However, the Spaniard’s defensive work and decision making made him a liability.

Jon Flanagan, who was Brendan Rodgers’ regular left-back, has not reached similar heights since a series of knee injuries decimated his promising career.

Last season saw James Milner fill the role. The experienced midfielder played well out of position but long-term, was not the solution.

Now, Liverpool have Robertson. The Scotland international has made the step up from his time at Hull with ease.

The 24-year-old Glaswegian is not only a threat going forward, but defensively he is exceptional.

His delivery into the box is undoubtedly exemplary, but he is equally adept at stopping opposing players from getting near Liverpool’s.

Liverpool have managed to bring in a player perfectly suited to Jurgen Klopp’s style of play.

Heavy-metal is the way Robertson plays in both attack and defence and the fans at Anfield already love him.

(Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)

At just £8 million and only 24-years-old Liverpool picked up the bargain of the summer in the Premier League.

If Robertson can continue to progress and play with the same level of consistency he already has, then a decade of dominance at left-back could follow as Liverpool’s left-back.

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Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah within touching distance of all-time Premier League goal-scoring record

The Egyptian international has 28 Premier League goals this term.



Photo: Getty Images

Anfield witnessed a truly special moment in the second half of Liverpool’s 5-0 thrashing of Watford on Saturday. Winning 3-0, Liverpool were running riot in wintry conditions, and Mohamed Salah collected the ball just inside the box on a hat-trick.

What followed was absolute magic, emblematic of a dream debut season in the north-west for the Egyptian. Salah was mobbed by three defenders, but left all three in the dust with one deft cut-back.

Then, with two more Watford players crashing in on the ball, Salah remarkably managed to poke an improvised finish into the far corner past the helpless Orestis Karnezis.

As Salah wheeled away in celebration, tongue stuck out and arms extended, Anfield reveled in history in the making. That goal marked Salah’s 27th of the Premier League season and he would go on to score his 28th just eight minutes later.

(Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images)

The Egyptian is on course to smash the Premier League scoring records in emphatic fashion. The current record is 31 goals, a tally achieved by Alan Shearer in 1995/96, Cristiano Ronaldo in 2007/08, and fellow Red Luis Suarez in 2013/14.

With seven matches remaining, including fixtures against the likes of West Brom and Stoke, few would bet against Salah demolishing the 22-year-old record.

The achievement would place Salah in the illustrious company of Premier League legends, an incredible feat for a player who many in England wrote off during his short spell at Chelsea.

Thanks to Salah, Liverpool have barely missed a step after the departure of Philippe Coutinho in January, advancing to the Champions League quarterfinals and cementing their top-four position.

The prolific winger is proving all of his doubters wrong in audacious fashion, and with a Premier League Golden Boot and goal-scoring record seemingly on the way, he is one of the most in-form players in the world.

The early-April European clash with Manchester City will provide Salah with, perhaps, his biggest stage yet. Expect the top goalscorer in England to rise to the occasion.

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