Sixth-place Liverpool will be trying to climb the table on Jan. 14 when they host eighth-place Stoke City at Anfield. Liverpool has been inconsistent all season long and this can be seen in their 1-0 win in Manchester City over the English Premier League leaders on Wednesday while they were beaten by the same City team 3-0 in the league just about a week earlier.
The one thing they do have going for them at the moment is that they’re unbeaten in their last 10 league games at home. However, they’ve dropped eight points in those games to lower-tabled teams by drawing four of those matches.
Liverpool has 34 points after 20 games on nine wins, seven draws and four losses. Stoke has 29 points from eight wins, five draws and seven losses. Liverpool has the second-best defensive record in the EPL with 18 goals against while Man City has let in just 16. However, they struggle offensively and have scored just 24 goals along the way. Last-place Blackburn has 29 in comparison.
Scoring goals is even going to be tougher now since top striker Luis Suarez is out for eight games due to his suspension over the racial incident with Manchester United’s Patrice Evra. Andy Carroll has created a lot of chances lately, but hasn’t been able to add to his total of two goals scored. Craig Bellamy’s been helping out in that department though by chipping in with a few goals and captain Steven Gerrard’s back in the line-up, scoring and setting them up.
Stoke has one of the worst defences in the league, seventh-worst to be precise, as they’ve allowed 31 against so far. In addition, they’ve actually scored less than Liverpool with just 22 goals in 20 games. It’s clear to see that when Stoke does win it’s usually a close, low scoring affair, which is exactly what the game at Anfield could turn out to be.
Peter Crouch should be motivated for this game against his old team if manager Tony Pulis has the sense to play him. Crouch is an underrated player and has six league goals on the season so far. Even if Stoke wins they’ll remain in eighth place, but can close the gap on Liverpool as well as Newcastle if they manage a win. Stoke will also need the likes of Jonathan Walters and Matthew Etherington to come up with big games.
Liverpool will likely be missing midfielder Lucas Leiva as well as Jay Spearing. This means Charlie Adam should play. In fact he should be in the starting 11 regardless as he’s one of the EPL’s most inspirational players.
It looks like Stoke might have to play without the services of Mamady Sidibe and Andy Wilkinson as they’re injured at the moment. Stoke hasn’t lost in their last three league games and have won two, drew two and lost one in their last five. Liverpool has the same record over their last five games.
Betting Predictions for Liverpool vs Stoke
These are the games Liverpool usually struggles in and a close one-goal win for them is likely or a draw. Let’s go for a narrow Reds win this time as they have actually been unlucky in many games so far, and with their captain Gerrard back in good form, chances are even better.
Sportsbook William Hill has the current odds of a Liverpool win listed at 2/5 with a Stoke win at 11/2 and a draw at 3/1. Click the banners on this page to bet and receive nice free bets!