Mark Hughes’ first game in charge of the Potters was at Liverpool in last season’s opening game, and this season’s achievement of gaining a record 51 points is a measure of the progress he has made in that time, attracting some fine players to the Britannia Stadium in the process.
In-form midfielder Charlie Adam will sense an opportunity to prove himself again to opposing boss Brendan Rodgers, having scored in this fixture last season. He was unable to add to his recent scoring streak at Burnley last time out, where Mame Biram Diouf missed the best of the chances.
This is a tough game for the Reds, who seemed to be rather caught up in the occasion as Steven Gerrard bade farewell to Anfield with a disappointing defeat to Crystal Palace. It was a subdued display all round, but Raheem Sterling was particularly awful and looked like a man with his sights set elsewhere.
So this could be the 20-year-old’s final game as a Liverpool player, with changes expected in the summer as they look to regain their place in the top four. However, Brendan Rodgers does deserve some credit for guiding the club to their current position after a disastrous start to the campaign.
Stoke could hand a return in goal to Asmir Begovic, who has been linked with a move away. Stephen Ireland, Peter Crouch and Peter Odemwingie are all doubtful.
The away side remain without Mario Balotelli and Jon Flanagan, with Gerrard and Glen Johnson both set to make their final appearance for the club.
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