Liverpool new boys Sebastian Coates and Craig Bellamy could be thrown straight into the mix when the Reds travel to the Britannia Stadium to face Europa League outfit Stoke City. Highly-rated Uruguayan defender Coates completed a switch to Anfield on the eve of transfer deadline day, while fiery Welshman Bellamy secured a return to Merseyside just before the transfer window came to a close.
Although Liverpool were in terrific form before the international break, Reds boss Kenny Dalglish could decide to rotate his squad by including his new signings, and the respected Scot believes Coates and Bellamy are “chomping
However, while some fans will be hoping to catch a glimpse of the duo in action, many other supporters will have their eyes set on £35m man Andy Carroll – who has been making the headlines this week. England Coach Fabio Capello has publicly revealed his concerns over Carroll’s fitness and lifestyle, saying: “”
Carroll’s club manager Dalglish has defended his record signing who has hardly been in trouble since his move to Liverpool. Carroll may have a shady past, but the striker appears to be learning about how to look after himself and some feel that Capello’s words are somewhat harsh and should also have remained private.
The fact that Carroll has not been firing on all cylinders so far this season has done little to help his cause. Expectations are high of the former Newcastle United star, but fans will have to be patient before judging the target man. Carroll is only just returning to full fitness and it will take some time for him to fit into the squad.
Dalglish has spent all summer buying more inventive players who will be able to unlock Carroll’s potential by creating more chances for the 22-year-old. Only four players created more chances in the Premier League than midfielder Jordan Henderson last season, while Charlie Adam claimed nine assists for Blackpool in the last campaign. As for Stewart Downing, the England winger has completed more crosses than any other player in the top-flight over the past three seasons. These three players will boost the number of chances Liverpool create and once Carroll is used to playing with the trio, he will be better fixed to score more goals.
While the Reds wait for Carroll to find his shooting boots, Dalglish will still be able to call upon the exciting Luis Suarez, energetic Dirk Kuyt and lightning-quick Bellamy. However, the Reds may be slightly short in central midfield ahead of the trip to the Britannia. Raul Meireles, Alberto Aquilani, Christian Poulsen and Joe Cole have all departed this summer, while Steven Gerrard is still at least a week away from being match-fit.
Adam is also a doubt for the game, meaning Dalglish may have to call upon Jay Spearing or Jonjo Shelvey to aid Lucas Leiva and Henderson in midfield. The two youngsters have some valuable Premier League experience from last season and it will be interesting to see whether the manager is ready to field the youngsters in what will be a tough fixture for Liverpool.
See what the expert tipsters at OLBG are tipping on Stoke v Liverpool