Matthew Sinton takes a look at Liverpool’s Premier League meeting with Stoke this afternoon, with the Reds looking to continue an Anfield unbeaten run.
The quick burst of Christmas fixtures have begun. It’s a tough time of the season for every team, but Liverpool’s fixtures are noticeably more congested than most, with our final two fixtures of the period being played just two days apart. Today we host Stoke City, a game we should certainly be aiming to win.
The game’s not quite late enough for Philippe Coutinho to make his return to the team, but with the return of Daniel Sturridge we should have more than enough to win. It remains to be seen whether Joel Matip will be available, but it shouldn’t be too much of an issue if not as Ragnar Klavan has stepped in and done an excellent job in the past two games where Matip has been absent, keeping a clean sheet in both.
There are no other injury concerns at the moment so if things stay as they are, we should have a strong bench. It’s possible that Sheyi Ojo – yes, I’ll take any opportunity to bring him up – could appear on the bench, as he has been back from injury for a month or so now and has been in superb form for the under-23s.
We seem to have got our season back on track after a little dip in form following the injury to Coutinho and I fully expect the Reds to continue this form on Tuesday evening. Despite a disappointing last home game which saw us draw 2-2 with West Ham, we remain unbeaten at home in all competitions since our unfortunate 1-0 loss to Manchester United back in January. I mean no offence to Stoke, but we shouldn’t let them be the team to break that streak.
I could probably say this about most clubs, but Stoke in particular have given me bad memories. If you mark the last game of one of our club’s best ever players by beating us 6-1, I’m never going to like you again. We did sort of put it right last season, though. Beating them 1-0 on the opening day through a Coutinho worldie, knocking them out of the league cup in the semis and smashing them 4-1 at Anfield, I guess you could say we got revenge – we’ll never be allowed to forget that game, though.
I expect Klopp to go with an unchanged side from our win over Everton, with perhaps the only change being Sturridge to come in for Origi, though Origi has more than justified a starting spot. I’ll be happy with either and I’d love to see Sadio Mane give his all in the next few games before he goes away for a month. Looking forward to the game, let’s get another three points!