Ok, here we go again. As per usual the games are coming thick and fast and as soon as you seem to have grabbed a breath another match looms on the horison. So Stoke come to Anfield on Saturday since November 2000 when they were thumped 8-0 in the Worthington (or as it was fondly renamed the Worthless Cup) when R.Folwer bagged a hat-trick. This is The Potters second trip to Meryseyside in the same number of weeks and will be trying to come away with a better result than they went home with against our “friends” across the park last Sunday.
So I am thinking can Stoke pose a threat this weekend and there is a few factors to consider to put forward any case for concern. Firstly, we all know that Rafa is going to make some changes in order for some players to have a wee rest but what we don’t know to what extent this is going to be. He must ensure that the winning momentum is maintained as success breeds success and there is no point doing all the hard work so far and especially last week against ManU just to toss 2 points away tomorrow against Stoke with a silly draw. Secondly, it is well known that Liverpool sometimes have a difficulty turning up for matches after a midweek Euro fixture. So no matter what Rafa does we still need the players on the pitch to treat Stoke with the correct attitude and not think that they simply have to turn up in order to secure 3 points. Finally Stoke themselves. This is the type of game that the Stoke players have been dreaming of since securing promotion to the top flight last season. They are going to be up for the match and Liverpool need to ensure that they arenot fought out of it but stamp the authority on the game from the start. Who knows, a draw between Chelski and The Scum on Sunday could see us on top on our own.
The match sees the second top against second bottom, the club with the joint least losses against the one with joint most, the second best defence against the second weakest, and the club with a 100% home league record against one without a point on the road. Liverpool are unbeaten against Stoke in eight games in all competitions and have won 6 and drawn 2. Liverpool did the double over Stoke when they last met for league action in 1984-85. Bill Asprey’s bottom of the table strugglers lost 0-1 to a Ronnie Whelan winner at the Victoria Ground, and to Kenny Dalglish and Steve Nicol goals at Anfield (2-0).
A good win tomorrow may bring some other reasons to celebrate. If we score three more goals we will become the third club to net 1,000 in the Premier League. Manchester United lead the way with 1,223 and Arsenal are second with 1,056. If Gerrard scores one of these goals it will be his 100th career goal for The Reds. Another milestone (if he plays) will be Hyypia’s 300th EPL outing.
Some other useless bits of info are that Liverpool will be facing two ex-players in Salif DIAO (61 games for LFC with 3 goals) and also Dominic MATTEO (155 games for LFC with 2 goals). Richard Creswell (31) and Jimmy Phillips (19) will be playing on their birthdays – so lets not give them the best birthday present ever.
Shankly Quote of The Week –
Above all, I would like to be remembered as a man who was selfless, who strove and worried so that others could share the glory, and who built up a family of people who could hold their heads up high and say “We’re Liverpool.”