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PRE MATCH: Stoke (h) Saturday 17th August, 12:45

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A True Red From NZ

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Liverpool FC v Stoke City FC
17 August 2013, KO: 12:45 GMT
Anfield
Barclays Premier League
Round One, 2013/14 Season.

Liverpool begin the new season following some controversial business over the summer. With the loss of former custodian Pepe Reina to Napoli, Belgian goalkeeper Simon Mignolet will keep goal for the Reds for the first time, having recently been acquired from Sunderland.
Luis Suarez is still out with suspension for the bite on Branislav Ivanovic against Chelsea in the final games of last season. Suarez's suspension is a huge blow to Liverpool who are still fending off interest from Arsenal and Real Madrid for the controversial Uruguayan, despite an impending transfer request.
Daniel Sturridge is Liverpool's only major injury concern at the moment and it appears unlikely he will start the opening match of the season considering he hasn't had much of a pre-season.
This could mean a potential debut for Iago Aspas, signed from Celta Vigo in the summer.
Furthermore… Raheem Sterling, Fabio Borini, Jordon Ibe and Stewart Downing will all be hoping to take their chance to impress their boss with Suarez and Sturridge currently out, same too for utility Luis Alberto - another summer acquisition.
Kolo Toure is almost certain to make his debut for Liverpool also, with the club having acted swiftly to sign the Ivorian from 2011/12 champions Manchester City. After losing Jamie Carragher, Toure's leadership in the heart of defense will be crucial considering Martin Skrtel is still out of favour with Brendan Rodgers.

Meanwhile Stoke City have a new manager in former Blackburn, Manchester City and QPR boss Mark Hughes.
Stoke's reputation for being a rough team with a defense-first mindset could be adapted by Hughes, making this a tough game to predict.
Stoke have signed Marc Muniesa on a free transfer from Barcelona, and Dutch International Erik Pieters for 3m.
Michael Owen, Rory Delap, Matthew Upson and Dean Whitehead however have been shown the door at The Brittania.


With a kind draw this season for Liverpool for the first time in many years, Liverpool will be hoping to get off to the best of starts by beating the Premier League's most disliked team.
Anything less than a win would be seen as a poor result for Rodgers and his team, however we all know how difficult the opening games of the season can be.

Pre-Season Form
Liverpool
Preston (W) 0 - 4
Indonesia XI (W) 0 - 2
Melbourne Victory (W) 0 - 2
Thailand (W) 0 - 3
Olympiacos (W) 2 - 0
Valerenga (W) 1 - 4
Celtic (L) 1 - 0

Stoke
Houston Dynamo (L) 2 - 0
FC Dallas (W) 0 - 1
Philadelphia Union (W) 0 - 2
Wrexham (W) 0 - 1
Genoa (D) 0 - 0

Transfers




Last Starting Line-up
Liverpool: Mignolet, Enrique, Wisdom, Toure, Johnson, Lucas, Gerrard (c), Allen, Downing, Aspas, Coutinho.
STOKE CITY: Begovic; Cameron, Shawcross (c), Huth, Pieters; Walters, Palacios, Nzonzi, Adam, Etherington; Crouch.

Likely Starting Line-up (EPL)
Liverpool

Mignolet
Johnson Toure Agger Enrique​
Gerrard Lucas​
Allen​
Sterling Aspas Coutinho​
Stoke City
Begovic​
Shotton Shawcross Huth Pieters​
Whelan Adam N'Zonzi​
Walters Crouch Etherington​
Although..., "Personally looking at the friendlies i think there are seven certain starters for Liverpool. Begovic, Cameron, Pieters, Shawcross, Huth, Nzonzi and Walters" (http://oatcakefanzine.proboards.com/board/2/stoke-city-fc)


Let's get off to a brilliant start to the season with a win. Can't wait.
 


Showdown

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It feels like forever since there has been a pre-match thread to a league game, cant wait for the football to be back on.
Lock down the transfer threads come sept 3rd whatever happens ( hopefully something good) and lets just start to remember what its all about.

Anyways 2-1 win and Walters misses 2penalties and scores the deciding OG ( its possible ).
 

SoueysTash

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If we have any hope of at least putting up a good fight for 4th spot then this is a game we must win. At home to Stoke, new manager (and one who generally has a shite start to the season)

One thing evident from todays game is that Sturridge needs to play
 

Rooster

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SoueysTash said:
One thing evident from todays game is that Sturridge needs to play
I'd start Sturridge despite the lack of pre season minutes. He looked sharp enough v Celtic. If/when he runs out of puff then drag him. The alternative of course is to put him on later in the game but not for me. Start with the best.

Toure picks himself but surely not Sterling after his recent issues.

It is not a bad Stoke side but if we are serious about top 4 then anything but 3 points is a poor result. You would think Stoke will continue with the heavy stuff as the style can't be changed that quickly so it will be a test.

Still I will go for 2-0. Let's get cracking lads.
 
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I have put 2-1 on my predictor league entry and want us to get a first home victory, we're the first game of the new season and it would be much nicer to see everyone else kicking off with three points in the bag and LFC sitting top of the league (however briefly).

We don't really know what to expect from Stoke under a new manager so it could be a good time to play them, but they still have most of last seasons man-mountains which is normally the type of player we struggle against (see yesterdays painful reminder against Celtic). I think a lot will depend on the personnel BR picks in defence - we conceded too many goals from set pieces or losing 1-on-1's against physical players last year.

I can't remember seeing much of Skrtel next to Toure in pre-season and I wouldn't normally consider leaving Agger out but this is one of those games which the opponent could turn in to a physical battle so I'd like to see a back line of Kelly (or Wisdom if he's not fit), Toure, Skrtel and Enrique leaving no weak link (at least physically) for them to target. Midfield I'm struggling to pick for this game as we lack an enforcer but I think we'll likely see Lucas, Allen (minus the shoulder injury) & Gerrard unless another DM arrives this week. Front 3 will depend on the fitness of Sturridge or we'll see Aspas for whom this might not be the ideal introduction to the premier league - I think Downing will get the nod on the right for this game and if we can get a whole of body shin pad/suit of armour to protect him Coutinho on the left.

For what its worth I think that failed experiment against Celtic with Henderson on the left might have been in preparation for Stoke, none of our options for the left side (Coutinho, Assiadi, Sterling, Ibe and Borini) are physically imposing and the last thing we need is Coutinho picking up an injury in the first game! Without wanting to channel two many memories of troubled seasons past or leave out are most creative player could we see Downing on the Left and Henderson on the right with whichever striker is fit up top? This is the sort of game which a Diego Costa like signing would have been ideal for!
 



Johnny T.

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Maybe we over estimate the physicality of the Stokes of this world, maybe we need to concentrate on what we do well, instead of cringing when the Bullies come out to play. That said, even against less robust competition we do need an enforcer, a bad boy in the Smith/Souness/Whelan/MacMahon mode to protect the kids. In time Martin Kelly will be the Terminator. Should be a home win, anything less wont do.
 

TheSweetSilverSong

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I'd play Ibe on the LWF, Aspas on the RWF, Sturridge up front, and Coutinho in the hole for our attack line. As much goal potential as possible in our attack. Gerrard and Lucas pick themselves in central midfield and holding midfield respectively, while if Agger is fit I'd pair him with Toure in the center of defense, with Kelly and Enrique on either flank of defense. Mignolet picks himself up too.
Not much exciting stuff on the bench, hope we can get some more quality in the next week.

Hoping for a win, proper or ugly, I'll take any win to start the season positively.

Can't wait for it!

Come on!!! :)
 
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I'm very much of two minds myself - there is definitely an argument for playing the best side you have available, especially at home with the opposition adapting to a new manager and possibly style as we were at the start of last season. Equally though underestimating or failing to plan for your oppositions strengths and weaknesses is asking for trouble so the sensible choice is likely somewhere in the middle - strong defence and the best attackers we have available, midfield is the real question with the current squad
 

Anthony

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Like most it's been way too long since I have seen competitive footy. The premier league is comprised of teams where anyone can win on any given day, and his match-up is no different. We will have to be very careful to not be outmuscled and watch out for their "tactics" hat usually include plenty set pieces, high balls and dirty tackles

Ultimately we have a solid team that should come out victorious and a strong season opener will be key
 



rippedshorts

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Seriously, I think we're in for a tough time. 8 points from our first 5 games... Our season will be 'back on track' (to its regular cycle) and heads will roll... Without new signings, I'm sure we're in quite a deep shit this time round.
 

indianscouser

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One game at a time, 3 points at a time, one goal at a time, one clean sheet at a time. Going by that logic we will win by 1-0! courtesy of Brazilian genius coutinho!
 

Bleech

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I'd hope to see this. Borini instead of Sturridge if the physio recommends it. Not into Allen with Gerrard and Lucas (though I don't mind being proven wrong on that front). Unless we sign a decent AMC I think Coutinho should start in the hole most games (until Suarez is back then I'm open to Aspas + Suarez in a 4-4-2 to smash bus parking teams).
Mignolet​
Johnson - Toure - Agger - Enrique​
Gerrard - Lucas​
Aspas - Coutinho - Sterling​
Sturridge​
 

T.C.B

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Sturridge has to start for me. I can see Downing in the 11 too unless he is sold in the meantime. Keeper and back four pick themselves.
Brendan wont leave Allen out either.

Mignolet

Johnson Toure Agger Enrique

lucas

Gerrard Allen

Coutinho Downing

Sturridge

Nice to start with a home game for a change, Stoke are never easy opponents but I'm going for a 2-1 win with goals from Sturridge and Coutinho. I fancy Stoke to score form a set piece.
 

lfc.eddie

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Everyone is assuming Stoke is still the same as they were last season. This is no longer a Pulis team, Hughes is managing them now. Mark Hughes team is quite prone to concede but he likes to play with wingers and crosses. He also likes to play one roaming striker to be a menace. Definitely going to be different from Pulis men.

Judging by Hughes past, his style is quite expansive and his midfield always has a couple of hard tacklers. His two wide forward will be his key to get to us. If we want to win this, we need to contain them.

I am not too convince with Aspas, but I do not want Sturridge to start in this game just yet. I would rather us keeping him hungry till we get to the match against United to start him. Play him as a sub if things don't work out. He can be effective as sub, while I don't see Aspas being as effective as a sub for us. We need to assess him in the first game to see how he cope. Allen and Gerrard won't work and this is going to become apparent again. So until Rodgers realise that Indonesia, Thailand and Melbourne is no way to use as a yardstick of that combo, I think we will see that part of his stubbornness that resembles all our other managers before him.

If they started off parking the bus, I would go for a shared point. Possibly a 0 - 0 opener of the 2013/14 season.
 



SoueysTash

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lfc.eddie said:
Everyone is assuming Stoke is still the same as they were last season. This is no longer a Pulis team, Hughes is managing them now. Mark Hughes team is quite prone to concede but he likes to play with wingers and crosses. He also likes to play one roaming striker to be a menace. Definitely going to be different from Pulis men.

Judging by Hughes past, his style is quite expansive and his midfield always has a couple of hard tacklers. His two wide forward will be his key to get to us. If we want to win this, we need to contain them.
They've signed 2 players...it's basically the same team. They aren't going to start playing massively differently, having just read some fan forums...they pass it a little bit more but it's still the same formula and their main threat is Walters.
 

shachart

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you take any of the line ups suggested here, and its not much to look at. you add suarez to the mix, and your heart starts pumping.
don't lose, 1-0 LFC' it can be an own goal for all i care, and let these 6 games suarez ban end.
the season only starts then.
 

nimitzz

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Pre MATCH! this is music to me.... the good old weekends are back...
would love to start with the win... specially with the big ones coming up.... but lets take it one game at a time and more we are still waiting for a good signing!
 

ChicagoRed

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I'm thinking we'll get 3 points from this one and a goal from one of the back 4.
 

shootscore

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We were unlucky against Celtic, definitely created enough chances. Same as last season, we need to convert more chances into goals and we'll soon find ourselves further up the table. Patience and possession still the key. I think Sturridge should come on later, don't want to risk recovery from last injury with new injury. Henderson might be a good physical option in midfield.
 



tesh

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T.C.B said:
Sturridge has to start for me. I can see Downing in the 11 too unless he is sold in the meantime. Keeper and back four pick themselves.
Brendan wont leave Allen out either.

Mignolet

Johnson Toure Agger Enrique

lucas

Gerrard Allen

Coutinho Downing

Sturridge

Nice to start with a home game for a change, Stoke are never easy opponents but I'm going for a 2-1 win with goals from Sturridge and Coutinho. I fancy Stoke to score form a set piece.
Was it me or was Gerrard playing the Celtic game as you have shown there, which slightly in front of Lucas? It seems to me that in this formation he tended to get dragged out of position - namely after attacks, he did not have the legs to get back and defend. Allen was also playing too far forward to help with the defence.
 

T.C.B

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tesh said:
Was it me or was Gerrard playing the Celtic game as you have shown there, which slightly in front of Lucas? It seems to me that in this formation he tended to get dragged out of position - namely after attacks, he did not have the legs to get back and defend. Allen was also playing too far forward to help with the defence.
He was more advanced than Lucas for sure. You are totally correct about his legs going too I fear. I made the point several times last year, and it was obvious again yesterday, that when runners get behind our midfield three we are in trouble. It seems, to me at least, to be down to the fact that we lack real pace and mobility in that area of the pitch. Often we are at our most vulnerable when we loose it in the final third and get caught on the counter. Get beyond and behind Lucas or Stevie and they will not catch you.
 

jayrrardno8

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Sturridge from the start instant impact rather than having to possibly chase the game for a winner later on.
Aspas more effective out wide and cutting in. Also see this as a good season for Henderson can see him pitching in with a few goals and has a better engine than Allen box to box.

Mignolet

Johnson Toure Agger Enrique

Lucas

Gerrard Henderson

Aspas Coutinho

Sturridge.
 
R

RedRiot

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I expect a 2-0 victory if Sturridge starts. Stoke were limp last season (particularly at the end) and I think Hughes will just make that worse. He has that effect on teams. I can't imagine us having any less than 60% possession and creating loads of chances. More than anything, I just hope to not see Downing starting. Would prefer Sterling or Aspas on the right. Still think the 4-3-3 with Coutinho on the left and Allen-Gerrard-Lucas in the middle is the best way to start this match (as the poster shows above). If we're seeing too much of the ball but lacking incisiveness, then we can switch to the 4-2-3-1 and move Coutinho central, and bring on either Ibe or Borini on the left.

I know we just lost a friendly, but I think we need to be realistic here. We're a much better team than Stoke and in a competitive match we'll outperform them.
 

therealkeano1

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Henderson has to start this game for his physicality. Hopefully agger will be fit.

Mignolet

Johnson toure agger Enrique

Lucas Gerrard Henderson

Aspas sturridge coutinho
 



Verbal80

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I think a midfield three of Lucas, Gerrard and Allen or Hendo is a certain. Probably Allen, as he is very good with interceptions high up the pitch. And I think we'll need someone good at winning the second ball to dominate this game. I don't think Sturridge will start, I think Aspas will start with Coutinho and Downing providing support. Expect to see Sterling after his court case and Ibe will start the cup game against county.

Mignolet
Johnson Toure Agger Enrique
Gerrard Lucas Allen
Downing Aspas Coutinho
 

slufsar

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I really dont hope Sturridge starts. Let him build up his fitness before he starts again. I think Aspas has that poacher ability, to get a goal in these matches.

I also think Sturridge would make the biggest impact as a sub. Perhaps at HT. Whenever we go to HT with 0-0, we dont score in the 2nd half either. Dont underestimate the effect of having a key player as a sub could have to fix this. A lot of Sturridges best performances has come as a sub.
 

MarkMcC

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Yesterday was missed chance to start with Borini flanked by Iaspas an Coutinho. Iaspas is lost in the hurly burly of an EPL penalty box. Sturridge to be on bench
 

VictoryInSight

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Would definitely like to see Borini playing on the left wing because he works hard defensively and in attack off the ball, which could be a problem for the Stoke defence.

Mignolet
Johnson-Toure-Agger-Enrique
Lucas-Gerrard
Sterling-Coutinho-Borini
Aspas
 

icemanwan

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3 points and anything else will reflect badly on BR as this being his second tenure with most everybody available and this looking like the team he built. No excuses if the attack is lightweight as we had time to get replacements knowing full well that Suarez (banned) and Sturridge just returned from injury.

The time is NOW to be champions. Good luck Reds - YNWA
 



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