Liverpool vs Stoke: Preview, Team News, Likely Line-Ups & Predicted Score
Liverpool kick-off the new 2013/14 Premier League season as they welcome Stoke City to Anfield on Saturday lunchtime. Here’s a preview for the big game.
Liverpool kick-off the new 2013/14 Premier League season as they welcome Stoke City to Anfield on Saturday lunchtime.
The Reds have seen their summer preparations overshadowed by the future of Luis Suarez with the controversial striker pushing for a move away from Merseyside in search of Champions League football.
However, with the striker still serving his ban for biting Branislav Ivanovic last season, boss Brendan Rodgers is keen to focus on the players he has available ahead of the new season as he looks to try and force his way into the top-four this campaign.
Rodgers has been busy in the transfer market bringing in a number of new faces and the Reds have enjoyed a positive pre-season so confidence should be high as they welcome Stoke to Anfield.
Mark Hughes will be in the opposite dugout as he takes charge of his first game in charge since replacing Tony Pulis so the former Manchester City boss will be hoping to kick start his tenure with a positive result.
Liverpool Team News
Liverpool are sweating on the fitness of Daniel Sturridge with the player rated at just 80%. With Suarez banned, it seems that could be enough to force Brendan Rodgers into starting the England forward although new signing Iago Aspas is also pushing for a start after impressing in pre-season.
Centre-back Daniel Agger is expected to be fit after shaking off a knee problem and Kolo Toure is expected to make his debut at the expense of Martin Skrtel.
Simon Mignolet is also in-line to make his competitive debut following his move from Sunderland while Luis Alberto is expected to make the bench.
Stoke Team News
Hughes is without midfielder Brek Shea for the trip to Anfield due to a knee injury that he picked up while away with the USA last month.
Fellow midfielder Jamie Ness is also out injured but new signings Erik Pieters and Marc Muniesa are in contention to start at the back. Goalkeeper Asmir Begovic is expected to start the season as No.1 despite competition from Thomas Sorensen and Jack Butland.
Liverpool have been slow starters in recent years, not winning any of their last four opening day fixtures. However, I can see this trend changing this season and back the Reds to pick up all three points. Liverpool 2-0 Stoke
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