On Sunday, Liverpool will aim to win away to Stoke City in the league for the first time since 1984, in a re-match of this season’s opening Premier League fixture.
Once again, Stoke will undoubtedly make things difficult for the Reds, for they have only lost once at home all season, and were close to taking all three points against Liverpool’s rivals, Everton, only for Jermaine Pennant to make a rash challenge and the resulting penalty to be converted. They made it through to the fourth round of the FA Cup, but it is league points they need, as they lie only five points clear of trouble as it stands.
Liverpool have began 2014 with two home wins, but neither was achieved with the vigour and the relentless energy that has quickly become a regular feature of their performances at Anfield. At kick-off they could find themselves eight points behind the leaders, so victory here will be crucial if that is the case, should they truly harbour ambitions of winning the title come May.
Stoke are without Oussama Assaidi, who is ineligible to face his parent club, while Robert Huth continues his recovery from surgery. In goal, Jack Butland is likely to make his Premier League debut, because of injuries to Asmir Begovic and Thomas Sorensen.
Steven Gerrard will return to Liverpool’s Premier League starting line-up for the first time in a month, and Daniel Sturridge could also play a part after his injury, but Daniel Agger has been sidelined for around four weeks with a calf injury.
See what the expert tipsters at OLBG are tipping on Stoke