Saturday see Liverpool play their first league game of 2009 defending a 3 point lead from Chelsea who face Man U on Sunday. The prospects of opening up a 5 point lead if ManU and Chelsea draw brings a smirk to my face and would be the perfect result for the Reds. However Liverpool must go out tomorrow and do the job required. This will be no mean task as I don’t see Stoke moving away from their 11 goalpost tactics that they employed at Anfield. Saying that you have to expect teams like Stoke to play in this manner when competing agsint the top teams and it is up to us to break through their defensive set up.
To make the case for Liverpool, if Stoke come up against the same performance as witnessed in Newcastle it can only mean three points returning to Liverpool. The scoring stats for Stoke speak for themselves The Reds have scored one more goal away from home (19), than Stoke have managed in total home and away in the Premier League so far this season and their current form has them In danger of falling to their longest losing sequence in a single season of top-flight football since tumbling to five on the spin between 23 December 1984 and 29 January 1985 whilst Liverpool are on the EPLs joint longest current unbeaten sequence with Fulham of nine games and the current total of 45 points after 20 games is our best ever return in the Premier League; one point more than the 2005-06 season.
It was ironic that the reverse fixture should be a goalless draw, because the previous time Liverpool and Stoke locked horns at the Victoria Ground on 29 November 2000 in a fourth round Worthington League Cup tie, the Merseysiders thrashed the Potters 0-8, with a hat-trick from Robbie Fowler.
The Reds are unbeaten in nine against Stoke in all competitions; they have won six and drawn three since the North Midlanders’ 2-0 top-flight success on 14 April 1984. It was one of three wins in their last seven games that season that helped ensure survival by two points
If selected Liverpool will be facing two ex-Reds in the form of Salif Diao and Dominic Matteo. For Liverpool Jamie Carragher is the only remaining outfield player to have been on the field for every minute of every one of Liverpool’s Premier League matches this season. Goalkeeper Jose Reina, also an ever-present, leads the race for the Barclays Golden Glove jointly with Chelsea’s Petr Cech, and Edwin Van Der Sar. All three have kept 11 clean sheets. Happy Birthday to Lucas Leiva(who had his best game to date against Newcastle). 22 today.
Commentators Quote of The Week
“Emile Zola has scored again for Chelsea” – Radio 5 live.
Don’t have the details in order to name and shame this individual who comes up with a mix to rival Arnie and Danny Devito in Twins..
If we win this one tomorrow and Chelsea and Man U draw then I will almost be certain that #19 will be coming home!
Liverpool are another team that are performing well at the moment. They look like they’ve now hit 4th gear at just the right time and have been racking up easy wins and goals in their last few games. They hammered Newcastle 5-1 before winning 2-0 at the weekend against Preston in the FA cup, and, apart from Alonso & Arbeloa, Benitez does not have any serious injury worries. Torres is expected to be fully fit for this game, so with Gerrard pulling the strings in midfield and Torres & Keane running riot up front, I can see a lot of problems for Stoke.
Stoke lost 2-0 to Hartlepool in the FA cup, although that was with a severely depleted squad. However, they have hit a rough patch in their recent form. Cresswell will be back for this game and Matthew Etherington (their new winger signed from West Ham) will probably start. But Kitson is a doubt and Fuller is still banned, not to mention Griffin, Cort, and Sidibe on their injury list. They seem to have run out of steam after their early success in the league, and I can’t see them making a revival in their fortunes this match.
Being a Liverpool, I think we are underestimating the opposition. This game has the same feel as Stoke did last time, or West Ham, or Hull, or Fulham, or Villa away. I am praying for a win, but I would not be surprised if we drew 0-0. Hopefully Rafa takes his anger at Fergie and directs it towards a perfect performance to be further clear of the scum
and i was right 0-0