Liverpool will be sky high entering their FA Cup quarterfinal game at their Anfield home against Stoke on March 17 after an emphatic 3-0 win over Everton on Tuesday in the 217th Merseyside derby. Liverpool has won a cup already this year when they beat Cardiff in a penalty shootout at Wembley on Feb. 26 after the game ended in a 2-2 draw. However, they’ve been struggling much of the English Premier League season and hare having a hard time scoring goals.
Liverpool often struggles with mediocre teams such as Stoke, especially when playing them at home. The two clubs have played each other three times already this season with each teaming winning once and the other game ending in a 0-0 draw at Anfield. Liverpool’s 2-1 win over Stoke came in the Carling Cup while Stoke’s 1-0 home win was a league encounter.
Skipper Steven Gerrard was the Liverpool hero on Tuesday as he scored a hat trick against Everton. Strikers Luis Suarez and Andy Carroll also played well and Liverpool’s chances will be boosted if manager Kenny Dalglish uses all three players against Stoke. He’s got a bad habit of leaving Carroll on the bench for most games, but there’s no reason to change the line-up after such an impressive and positive outing against Everton.
Liverpool needs to attack against Stoke and any changes to the squad from Tuesday will benefit Stoke. Liverpool also has to play their own game which includes plenty of movement and slick passing. Suarez showed a lot of skill against Everton by setting up two of Gerrard’s goals. However, it looks like Liverpool will have to do without the services of defenders Daniel Agger and Glen Johnson once again, but young Martin Kelly has looked impressive as a fill in.
Stoke’s last game was a 1-0 loss to Chelsea on the weekend in a game which saw Ricardo Fuller sent off with a red card. Manager Tony Pulis needs to use former Liverpool striker Peter Crouch if he’s going to have any success in this game. Crouch hasn’t played as much as he should so far this year and still has 10 goals to his name. He’ll need a partner up front and that could well be Jonathan Walters. Pulis is hoping that Matthew Etherington will be able to play after the winger missed the Chelsea game. Fuller won’t be able to play due to a suspension and it looks like Mamady Sidibe will be out due to injury.
Liverpool has three wins and two losses in their past five games while Stoke has the same record. Liverpool’s home record hasn’t been very good this season and Stoke usually gives them a lot of trouble. Look for this to be a close game which Liverpool will likely take by a single goal.
Sportsbook William Hill is showing the latest odds for a Liverpool win at 7/20 and a Stoke victory at 6/1 with a draw at 16/5.