Looking ahead to Liverpool’s game on Saturday against Stoke at the Britannia Stadium the first comment I will make is, “It’s not going to be easy for Liverpool against Stoke”. For those of you who thought that the game on Wednesday night against Wigan was tough, this one is going to be tougher.
The scariest thing about Stoke is their sheer physical presence with the likes of Jones upfront and Shawcross in defence. Everyone knows that Stoke rely heavily on Rory Delap’s long throws which are a constant threat. But Martin Skrtel has come out today and said that they have a plan for these long throws. Basically, the defence just has to work well tomorrow and work as a unit taking a lot of instruction from Pepe when the throws come in. It will be up to Pepe to come out and catch these long throws when they come into the box or he has to instruct the player nearest to the ball to clear it.
If we can handle these Delap throws then I am sure that is half our battle one as Stoke rely a lot on their set pieces.
As for Liverpool, we will most likely have four players coming back from injury. Centre-back Sotirios Kyrgiakos, will be back after missing the last two matches due to tonsillitis. His aerial presence will be greatly needed and I think he will start alongside Carragher. Glen Johnson is also fit again together with Joe Cole. I do not think Cole will start but Johnson is most likely to come in for Kelly at right back. Fabio Aurelio is also fit but I am not too sure how match fit he is. It would be nice if he could get a run as Konchesky is starting to look a bit tired and jaded after playing so many games in a row. Raul Meireles will be assessed after coming off at half time against Wigan. I hope he has recovered as we need him in midfield.
We need to win this one in-order for us to remain in contention with the top four. I for see a few changes to our starting lineup which should give us some fresh legs on the park. My prediction : 1-0 to Liverpool.