In the last two games Liverpool has played, in all competitions, they have been held to a draw despite being in lead. At the weekend, the Anfield team dominated play but had to share points with Chelsea courtesy a Willian goal in the final few minutes of regulation time. Before that, the Reds conceded three second-half goals to be held by Sevilla in the Champions League.
It’s clear that Jürgen Klopp’s side has the attacking intent, what is concerning though is the rate at which they concede. On Wednesday, on ‘a cold night in Stoke’ (as the saying goes), Liverpool will come up against a team that has traditionally been one of the Premier League’s trickiest opponents at home despite being a mid-table side.
Stoke City have often managed to prove themselves to be a handful when it comes to playing the big clubs of England. But Klopp’s team travels to the bet365.com Stadium with a healthy record over the Potters.
Liverpool has won seven of their last eight matches with Stoke City, losing only the on the final day of the 2014-15 season when they were hammered 6-1 away from home. And for the tie on Wednesday, Liverpool will start the favourites on paper.
In the Premier League, Liverpool has been unbeaten in their last four matches, winning three. They sit in sixth place in the league table with 23 points. Meanwhile, Mark Hughes’ team is in 15th place with 13 points so far in their 13 matches. They had a three-match unbeaten run going until the 2-1 loss to relegation-threatened Crystal Palace last weekend.
In all likeliness, Klopp may call on the services of Roberto Firmino and Senegalese striker Sadio Mane after both were rested for the weekend tie against Chelsea. But the man in form for the Reds has been Mohammed Salah. The Egyptian winger has netted 10 goals and is currently the highest scorer in the Premier League, ahead of Sergio Aguero and Harry Kane, both on nine goals.
The services of Emre Can too will be a benefit, after the German recovered from a muscle injury.
The Potters, however, will miss out on their first choice goalkeeper Jack Butland due to a finger injury, while defender Geoff Cameron is yet to recover from a concussion. But they do have the diminutive yet pacy winger Xherdan Shaqiri, who has played a role in six goals in his last six Premier League appearance (scoring twice and assisting four).
The result, however, may well rest on how Liverpool’s defence holds up.