LFC Talk


Match Preview: Liverpool v Stoke City by lfctalk
September 18, 2008, 17:04
Filed under: Match Previews

Fans will have to look back to Wednesday 29th November 2000 for the last time the Reds took on Stoke City. That ended in an 8-0 thrashing for the Potters on their own turf. This meeting is taking place at Anfield on Saturday 20th September with an old-fashioned 3pm kick-off.

The Premiership first-timers (a rarity in this yo-yo age) have been an entertaining side so far this season with a two five-goal thrillers under their belts already. Both came at their Britannia Stadium with a win and a loss for the home fans to contend with. After a disappointing 3-0 defeat at Bolton on the opening day, the Potters raised their game to see off Aston Villa the following week in their first home Premiership fixture. A 90th minute winner from Mamady Sidibe saw them collect a priceless three points after Villa had come from behind twice to level.

A late Tuncay Sanli goal saw Stoke come away empty handed from their visit to Middlesbrough’s Riverside Stadium in the following round of fixtures after a Justin Hoyte, who was making his Boro debut, own goal had looked to have secured them a first away point.

Everton were the next opponents for the newly-promoted side at the Britannia Stadium. After a drab opening 40 minutes, Yakubu Aiyegbeni put the Toffees 1-0 up going in the break. The second half was a vast improvement and saw four more goals in a tight encounter. These goals were shared between the two sides and after Everton had increased their lead to 2-0, the Potters dug-in and hit back with strikes from Seyi Olofinjana and an own goal by Phil Jagielka. Rory Delap’s immense throw-ins were a major factor in this and other goals scored by the side so far this season. After a legitimate penalty appeal for Everton was waved away, Tim Cahill sprung to head the winner and claim the deserved three points for the visitors.

Stoke’s main attacking threat comes from the long-throws of midfielder Rory Delap. They are aimed into the heart of their opponents box and can cause havoc. Their main threat in terms of forwards is Jamaican frontman Ricardo Fuller. The much-travelled striker has already impressed with a fine solo goal against Aston Villa in August.

Former Reds Dominic Matteo and Salif Diao are in the Stoke squad, but neither has made an appearance so far this season.

The team is managed by Tony Pulis, who is in his second spell leading the side.

Rafa Benitez’s Liverpool side are going into the game off the back of two hard-fought victories over Manchester United and Marseille. Both were 2-1 wins recovered from going behind and both will have boosted the confidence of the squad. The victory at the Stade Velodrome was the tougher encounter as the French side were banging at the door for much of the second half and only some excellent keeping and poor finishing kept the Reds ahead.

Fernando Torres and Steven Gerrard will be aiming to be back to full fitness for this match after their injuries while Javier Mascherano and Dirk Kuyt will be looking to return to their all-action styles after two fairly subdued showings against Marseille which were out of character for the hard-working pair.

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2 Comments so far
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