By Gary Fulcher.
Liverpool look to claim their first league win of the campaign at Anfield on Sunday (3pm kick off UK time) with the visit of Tony Pulis’ Stoke City. Thursday night’s 2-3 defeat at the hands of Udinese in the Europa League means we’ve won just one of the last six games we’ve played at home this season in all competitions.
The three Udinese strikes worryingly brings our tally of goals conceded to 20 in just 12 matches this season. In the Premier League we’ve conceded 12 goals in just six games, the third worst record in the league behind Southampton, who’ve conceded 18, and Q.P.R. and Norwich who have conceded 13 apiece.
The Reds picked up their first Premier League win of the campaign with an impressive 5-2 victory against Norwich City at Carrow Road last Saturday, with Luis Suarez earning a place in Liverpool’s record books by becoming the first Red two score consecutive hat-tricks in the same league fixture away from home in successive seasons.
The corresponding fixture between the two clubs last season ended 0-0, while the Reds have won just two of the last eight league meetings between the sides. Brendan Rodgers’ Swansea recorded a 2-0 home victory over Stoke last season but lost the away fixture 0-2 so it will be interesting to see if there is a specific game plan in mind to combat Stoke’s direct style, especially considering how fragile our defence has looked this season.
Martin Kelly (knee) and Lucas (thigh) are both ruled out for Liverpool, while Jose Enrique (knee) and Joe Cole are both rated as doubtful. Jonjo Shelvey continues to miss out through suspension.
Stoke City have no injury concerns ahead of this fixture while Andrew Wilkinson misses out through suspension.
Goalkeepers: Reina, Doni, Jones, Gulacsi
Defenders: Johnson, Wisdom, Flanagan, Skrtel, Agger, Coates, Carragher, Enrique, Robinson
Midfielders: Sahin, Gerrard (c), Allen, Henderson, Downing, Sterling, Assaidi, Cole
Strikers: Suarez, Borini, Suso, Morgan, Yesil
Goalkeepers: Begovic, Nash
Defenders: Cameron, Huth, Wilson, Shawcross (c), Upson, Shotton
Midfielders: Whelan, Pennant, Palacios, Edu, Ness, N’Zonzi, Adam, Whitehead, Kightly, Delap, Etherington, Arismendi
Strikers: Jones, Owen, Sidibie, Walters, Crouch, Jerome
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