After consecutive 1-1 draws, Liverpool face Stoke City this weekend with both clubs having hardly anything to play for in the Premier League this season.
A top-4 spot is a distant dream for the Reds while the Potters need to find consistent results from now to the end of the season if they are to entertain any chance of a Europa League spot next season. Mark Hughes had the Stoke side playing some good football before the turn of the year but ever since they have found it hard to string results together.
They were held to a 2-2 draw against Swansea last weekend and will be hoping to take advantage of the Dortmund tie that is brimming on the horizon for Liverpool.
Here is the preview of this game along with the team news, predicted line-ups, predictions and betting odds.
The Liverpool vs Stoke City game will be played on Sunday the 10th of April at the Anfield stadium in Liverpool. The kickoff is scheduled at 4:00 pm BST (8:30 pm IST).
Liverpool were dealt a blow in the Dortmund game as club captain Jordan Henderson was ruled out for the rest of the season. However, Brazilian midfielder Lucas Leiva is back in action along with Kevin Stewart who will be hoping to start this game with the Europa league tie scheduled on Thursday. No other new injuries were reported while Emre Can will miss the game due to suspension.
No side in the Premier League currently has more injuries to first-team players than Stoke this season. Ryan Shawcross, Geoff Cameron, Glenn Whelan and Xherdan Shaqiri are doubtful for this game while Glen Whelan might be fit enough to take the field. Jack Butland and Jon Walters are both out for the rest of the season while ex-Liverpool player Glen Johnson will have to go through a test just before the game to prove his fitness.
Mignolet; Flanagan, Lovren, Sakho, Moreno; Allen, Milner; Ibe, Lallana, Firmino; Sturridge
Haugaard; Bardsley, Cameron, Wollscheid, Pieters; Adam, Imbula; Afellay, Bojan, Shaqiri; Joselu
Daniel Sturridge vs Wollscheid:
Sturridge was benched for the game against Dortmund last week and will be raring to have a go against Stoke City on Sunday. However, he will be up against a disciplined Wollscheild who will give him no space or time on the ball. This battle can potentially decide the outcome of the game.
Ibrahim Afellay vs Joe Allen:
Allen was smart in the mid-field against Dortmund but he will be up against a very aggressive midfield of Stoke City. He will have to a keep an eye on the ex-Barcelona midfielder Affellay who can not only create chances but also finish goals. This midfield battle will be worth watching all throughout the game.
Liverpool have won four of their last five meetings against Stoke, with the other game being a 6-1 loss on the final day of last season.
Stoke’s 1-0 win against Liverpool in the League Cup semi-final 2nd leg in January ended a run of 36 games without winning at Anfield (D5 L31). They went out of the competition on penalties, however.
Each of the three meetings this season between the two sides has ended 1-0 to the away team.
Daniel Sturridge has scored three times and assisted three goals in six Premier League games against Stoke.
Against no side has Jonathan Walters scored more Premier League goals than Liverpool (5).
At Anfield, Liverpool have suffered just one defeat in their last eight Premier League games (W3 D4).
The Potters are now unbeaten in three on the road in the top-flight (W2 D1) after losing each of their three away league games before that.
Stoke City: 5/1
Both clubs have no real motive to go full on for all three points but a Premier League game can never see two teams not fight it out. This is the 4th game between the two sides and Liverpool have lost just once in those three meetings but that loss came in front of an Anfield crowd who will be hoping to see a different result this time around.
Our Prediction: Liverpool 2-0 Stoke City