- Jan 26, 2011
Liverpool FC v Stoke City FC
17 August 2013, KO: 12:45 GMT
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.
Furthermoreâ€¦ 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.
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
Houston Dynamo (L) 2 - 0
FC Dallas (W) 0 - 1
Philadelphia Union (W) 0 - 2
Wrexham (W) 0 - 1
Genoa (D) 0 - 0
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)
Johnson Toure Agger Enrique
Sterling Aspas Coutinho
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.