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Premier League

  • 26 December 2012
  • • 19:45
  • • Britannia Stadium, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire
  • Referee: H. Webb
  • • Attendance: 27490
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Stoke City - Liverpool Preview: Potters looking to maintain unbeaten home run

Stoke City - Liverpool Preview: Potters looking to maintain unbeaten home run

telegraph

Tony Pulis' side clinched their 10th draw of the league season away against Tottenham, while Brendan Rodgers' team smashed Fulham 4-0 at Anfield going into this encounter

  PROBABLE LINEUPS

STOKE

Begovic
Cameron, Huth, Shawcross, Wilkinson
Shotton, Whelan, N'Zonzi, Etherington
Walters, Crouch
LIVERPOOL

Reina
Johnson, Skrtel, Agger, Jose Enrique
Henderson, Gerrard, Allen
Downing, Suarez, Sterling

Stoke manager Tony Pulis will be without Rory Delap (hernia) and Marc Wilson (broken leg), while former Anfield favourite Michael Owen will not be available to line up against his former club after failing to overcome a hamstring strain.

Another former Merseyside connection, midfielder Charlie Adam, could also be in doubt after the death of his father last week saw him miss the 0-0 draw against Tottenham on Saturday.

Oussama Assaidi (knee) is the only recent injury concern for Brendan Rodgers and is a doubt after missing the 4-0 win over Fulham. Otherwise, Fabio Borini (broken foot) and Martin Kelly (knee) remain out after long injury lay-offs.

Rogers is expected to continue to rotate after leaving both Raheem Sterling and Joe Allen on the bench for Saturday's game. Stewart Downing will likely retain his place on the left wing after grabbing his first goal and assist for the club since joining 18 months ago.

  DID YOU KNOW?
  • Stoke have kept nine clean sheets in the league games so far this season, more than any other side.
  • The hosts only conceded 13 goals this term - two better than champions Manchester City.
  • The Potters have struggled up the other end of the pitch, though, scoring just 15 times in total.
  • Stoke are currently on an eight-match unbeaten run, with their last defeat coming at the hands of Chris Hughton's Norwich in early November.
  • Luis Suarez's goal for Liverpool against Fulham took his tally to 11 for the season in the Premier League, the exact same amount he managed all last campaign.
  • Stewart Downing's assist and goal against Martin Jol's side was his first in the league for the club in 45 games, since moving to Anfield last summer.
  • At this point last season, Liverpool had 31 points from as many games under Kenny Dalglish, six more than they currently have under Brendan Rodgers.

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Last Five Matches
Odds
Team News
Available Squads
1Asmir BegovicGoalkeeper
20Geoff CameronDefender
4Robert HuthDefender
17Ryan ShawcrossDefender
28Andy WilkinsonDefender
6Glenn WhelanMidfielder
15Steven N'ZonziMidfielder
21Michael KightlyMidfielder
26Matthew EtheringtonMidfielder
9Kenwyne JonesStriker
19Jonathan WaltersStriker
29Thomas SørensenGoalkeeper
20Matthew UpsonDefender
30Ryan ShottonDefender
16Charlie AdamMidfielder
18Dean WhiteheadMidfielder
25Peter CrouchStriker
30Cameron JeromeStriker
25Pepe ReinaGoalkeeper
2Glen JohnsonDefender
3José EnriqueDefender
5Daniel AggerDefender
37Martin SkrtelDefender
8Steven GerrardMidfielder
19Stewart DowningMidfielder
21Lucas LeivaMidfielder
30SusoMidfielder
8Jonjo ShelveyMidfielder
7Luis SuárezStriker
1Bradley JonesGoalkeeper
19Sebastián CoatesDefender
23Jamie CarragherDefender
10Joe ColeMidfielder
14Jordan HendersonMidfielder
24Joe AllenMidfielder
31Raheem SterlingMidfielder
Players to Watch
Robert Huth
Robert Huth
Position: Defender
Squad Number: 4
Games Goals YC RC
0 0 0 0
Faces a difficult evening in trying to shackle the lively and energetic presence of Uruguayan international Luis Suarez up front and came to blows with him earlier this season in the 0-0 draw at Anfield. How the centre-back deals with Liverpool's main attacking threat and source of goals could have a large say on which way this match swings.
Pepe Reina
Pepe Reina
Position: Goalkeeper
Squad Number: 25
Games Goals YC RC
0 0 0 0
The 30-year-old Spaniard has not been at his best for nearly two years now, with a nervy-looking save with his legs against Fulham further highlighting his lack of confidence at the moment. Nevertheless, he'll need to be at his best to cope with the aerial bombardment that's likely to come his way during the game and use every inch of his own physical presence to stamp his authority on his penalty area.
Prediction
With both sides hovering around mid-table and the Britannia Stadium traditionally a difficult place to visit at this time of year, it promises to be a passionate, closely-fought affair with a superbly tense atmosphere to boot, but given the home team's recent struggles in front of goal and their defensive prowess at the other end, expect a low-scoring draw.
Editor's Prediction

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