Liverpool travel to Stoke to put behind midweek result
The next test for Liverpool is away to Stoke City at 3pm on Saturday. Whilst our final run-in of games are easier than our rivals, the main concern is our lack of ability to take three points away from the ‘lower’ end teams.
Lets hope this doesn’t hinder our chances of qualifying for Champions League football next season.
When you are ahead with a few minutes to go, you make sure you win. Liverpool do not have the ability to do that at the moment. You could argue they are too nice, and they are also missing the injured Adam Lallana and Sadio Mane.
Predicting the starting XI
Sadio Mane requires knee surgery and will miss the rest of the season. Jordan Henderson and Adam Lallana are both recovering from injuries.
Joel Matip should return to the starting line-up replacing Rather Klavan after a back problem reduced him to the role of substitute in midweek.
Jurgen Klopp will have to assess playmaker Philippe Coutinho, who was forced off against Bournemouth due to illness and missed training on Thursday and Friday.
After some woeful performances recently, Coutinho finally showed us what he is capable of as he blew away Everton in the recent 3-1 win. He would relish the opportunity of causing trouble against Stoke’s ageing back four. If the Coutinho that turned up against Everton a week ago turns up on Saturday then we should really expect goals.
Daniel Sturridge was an unused sub in the game and could again miss out, with Divock Origi impressing from the off against Bournemouth.
To be fair, the only real opportunity Sturridge would get today is if Coutinho fails the late fitness test. Then I’d expect a front three of Origi and Sturridge with Firmino playing just behind them.
I have a gut wrenching feeling that Coutinho will miss the trip to Stoke though. But I’m sure we’ll receive more updates on Saturday morning.
Liverpool: (4-3-3) Mignolet; Milner, Lovren, Matip, Clyne; Wijnaldum, Lucas, Can; Sturridge, Firmino, Origi.
- Liverpool have won six of their last seven Premier League games against Stoke.
- Last loss was 6-1 away defeat on the final day of the 2014-15 season.
- The Reds have won three of their four most recent games away to Stoke in all competitions.
- Two of those wins came in league matches.
- Last Premier League games away to the Potters (W2, D2, L4).
- Liverpool are five games unbeaten and one defeat in seven – plus the other three teams in the top four have all won at Stoke this season.
- However all of our five league defeats have come against sides currently in the bottom half.
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp on the current injury and illness toll: “It compromises our situation and makes like not easy.
“These are the highest-quality players and if you took out all the players which we miss now from other teams I’d be surprised if they could play their best football.
“We don’t play them (the top six) any more so we don’t have influence on their games but I don’t think 65 points will be enough to go to Champions League so we need to collect a few more points.
“But at this moment it is only how we can make a line-up against Stoke – and that is a real challenge.”