Liverpool host Stoke City in their first home game of the season on Wednesday night. The fixture last season ended in a frustrating 0-0 draw after Steven Gerrard’s early free-kick was disallowed for reasons still unknown to everyone but the referee that day!
We take a look ahead to the game by getting the thoughts of Dan, editor of Stoke City Mad Fansite.
Are you looking forward to the game?
Definitely. After getting off to a winning start we are raring to go again and after you lost to Spurs we’ll be hoping to capitalize on what seems a transitional period post-Alonso. Anfield is a special ground and one of the few old fashioned grounds where you can just smell the atmosphere.
How do you feel about playing Liverpool first up away. On paper you could have far easier tasks, but you managed to pull out a couple of draws last season?
Better to get these games over and done with early before you get into a rhythm. With your defensive injuries and the fact you seemed to struggle in midfield on Sunday, plus 24 hours less rest for your boys, we will cross our fingers we can bring something away. Not likely but a lot better chance than say in another 10 games time. Last seasons draws were down to a bucket load of grit and determination. The game at the Brit could have gone either way but at Anfield we just defended continually for 90 minutes. I hope we show a bit more attacking mentality on Wednesday and shock you by going for it.
Would you say you need a result on Wednesday, or is it too early to be thinking of what you need to stay up?
When we looked at the start of the season where our 40 points were coming from, I can assure you nobody put down getting anything next to Liverpool(A). After beating Burnley on Saturday, and playing Brum away next Saturday, a defeat on Wednesday will just get a shrug of the shoulders and onwards we go. We don’t expect anything, we just hope we can pull off another amazing result.
You have only the one signing, Dean Whitehead, and seem to be struggling to bring players in? Has Pulis’ popularity suffered due to this?
Not really. He’s still number one with the chairman and will remain forever I reckon and the fans have really got behind him. We know that he leaves it late to try and get the best deals, some fans still don;t get it but its TP’s way and we, like it or not, have to accept that’s the way its done. Makes for a very interesting last couple of weeks every transfer window anyway.
Any Liverpool players you are particularly wary of?
Torres and Gerrard. You just have to work out how to get the ball to them. Hopefully that question will remain unanswered on Thursday morning, otherwise it could be brutal viewing for us in the stands.
Who should we be looking out for on your side?
Ricardo Fuller will be the thorn in your side if we get the ball out of our half this year. Last year we had no option but to defend but I’d hope 12 months on, although the first aim is to keep it solid at the back, that we’d try and use Beattie and Ric up front. Etherington is key aswell because his pace can turn defence into attack in the blink of an eye. If he has a good game we’ll have an outlet
Finally, your prediction is?
1-1 if we take the bull by the horns and try and exploit any weaknesses you may have in a weakened back line. Skrtel seemed to be really struggling on Sunday and if he can’t/won’t head away the many balls coming into your box then he may aswell not be there, The young lad who came on seemed a bit nervous so may not be trusted against such a physical side as Stoke meaning you may to reshuffle the who defence, moving Johnson inside maybe? Having said that I think if we repeat last years tactics we are asking for trouble.