Just goal difference separates Stoke City and Liverpool in the Premier League table ahead of their Boxing Day clash at the Britannia Stadium.
The Potters boast an unbeaten home record, but Liverpool visit the Midlands on the back of a confidence-boosting 4-0 win over Fulham.
One-time Anfield favorite Michael Owen could make his first appearance since October, while another former Red Peter Crouch is in contention for a recall to the home starting XI.
Charlie Adam, who moved to Stoke from Liverpool in a £4m switch last summer, will again not feature following the death of his father.
Liverpool's Joe Allen and Raheem Sterling both began the victory over the Cottagers on the bench, but the latter is likely to feature from the start on Wednesday. However, Welsh midfielder Allen could miss out completely due to a pelvic injury. Daniel Sturridge seems poised to arrive on Merseyside in January, but until then, Luis Suarez is the Reds' only recognized striker and will lead the line against the tightest defense in the division.
Stoke striker Michael Owen could make his first-team comeback against his old club. Owen, who has not played for the Potters since Oct 27 due a hamstring problem, has been working on his fitness and may be ready to feature in the 7.45pm Premier League kick-off. It remains to be seen whether or not another former Red, midfielder Charlie Adam, will be involved after he missed Saturday's 0-0 draw at Tottenham having been granted compassionate leave following the death of his father.
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has no new injury problems to contend with and is unlikely to make any changes. Winger Raheem Sterling may come back into the side having been rested for the victory over Fulham. Midfielder Joe Allen, however, may remain on the bench as Rodgers said they were managing a pelvic problem with the Wales international.
Predicting results from Liverpool this season is proving a thankless task, but trips to the Britannia Stadium have frequently been arduous, regardless of the manager or personnel. Stoke have never lost a league game at home to Liverpool since their promotion. The presence of Luis Suárez will represent an intriguing subplot, after Tony Pulis attacked his alleged diving during the 0-0 draw at Anfield in October.
Stat of the Game
Stoke are unbeaten in 15 home league games, their best top-flight sequence for 38 years.
Possible starting lineups
Stoke (4-4-1-1): Begovic; Cameron, Huth, Shawcross, Wilkinson; Kightly, Whelan, N'Zonzi, Etherington; Walters, Crouch
Liverpool(4-2-3-1): Reina; Johnson, Agger, Skrtel; Enrique; Lucas, Henderson; Sterling, Gerrard, Downing; Suarez
Prediction: Liverpool 1-0 Stoke City
Where to Watch
Wednesday, December 26
Stoke City Vs Liverpool
Kick off: 19:45 GMT
TV: Highlights, BBC ONE Match of the Day.
Referee: Howard Webb