By Gary Fulcher, Daniel Rhodes and Mihail Vladimirov.
Liverpool will be hoping to continue their 100% winning start to 2014 at the Britannia Stadium to face Stoke City on Sunday afternoon, 4.10pm kick off UK time. Following successive 1-2 defeats in the Premier League, the Reds have recorded back-to-back 2-0 victories over Hull City (Premier League) and Oldham Athletic (FA Cup), which has seen us move back up to 4th place and progress to the 4th round of the FA Cup.
The Reds have a poor record at Stoke, having won 12 of the previous 58 meetings at the Britannia and Victoria Ground (in fact we’ve yet to claim maximum points at the Britannia from five previous attempts), and that record combined with Stoke’s excellent home form in the Premier League this season – four wins (2-1 against Crystal Palace, 2-0 against Sunderland, 3-2 against Chelsea and 2-1 against Aston Villa), five draws (0-0 with Man City, 0-0 W.B.A, 1-1 Southampton, 0-0 Cardiff, 1-1 Everton) and just the one defeat (0-1 to Norwich) – means securing all three points will not be an easy task against Mark Hughes’ side.
It’s Stoke’s home form that sees them occupy 12th place – five points above the relegation zone – with 17 of their 22 points having been accrued at the Britannia. Despite their impressive showing at home this season, the Potters have won just three of their last 17 league games, although unsurprisingly all three victories did come on home soil. Their tally of seven goals conceded at home can only be bettered by Arsenal, Man City, Liverpool and Hull, who have all conceded six.
Liverpool secured a 1-0 victory against Stoke on the opening day of the season thanks to a Daniel Sturridge strike (Sturridge may make a return from injury on Sunday), but we lost the corresponding fixture last season 1-3, with Steven Gerrard putting us ahead from the penalty spot after just two minutes, before Jon Walters (2) and Kenwyne Jones scored to seal the victory for the Potters.
Our biggest league victory in this fixture is 5-1 recorded during the 1981/82 season, while Stoke’s biggest victory against us is 6-1 which came at the Victoria Ground during the 1896/97 campaign.
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