Liverpool will come to Britannia Stadium with great confidence level. Their last showdown with Fulham is a really massive confidence boost for them. They put Fulham in a deep misery after netting 4 goals without reply. But the host, The potters, is not in a bad shape either. They have been undefeated for 6 times in a row until today. So, looking from the confidence level of these 2 sides they are both in a good shape. Of course Tony Pulis and Brendan Rodgers will try to do everything to gain 3 points, so who will get the last gift in 2012?
Liverpool recent 5 matches has been really good this far. 4 wins and 1 lose, with the latest goal frenzy against Fulham put Brendan Rodgers sides in a really comfortable position. While the potters? Is still on the right track. 6 unbeaten games in a row with 3 wins and 3 draws is not a bad record, not bad at all. So, who got the bigger chance to win this match? Looking from the wins draws and loses, Liverpool should be the better side, but is that true? No. Stoke earned a draw with Aston Villa. So? And Liverpool lost to Aston Villa 3-1 in Anfield. Now its pretty safe to say that their quality isn’t that much different. Its interesting to see who will come out as a winner in this match? Did I mention that Stoke played with 10 players when they hold Aston Villa in that goalless draw?
Key players to watch & Probable line-up
Tony Pulis have a trump card in this match? What is it? Its Peter Crouch. Peter Crouch is an ex-Liverpool player for 3 years. He is a part of Liverpool team from 2005-2008. Liverpool main players doesn’t change much from the time Crouch was there. Especially their Goalkeeper, Pepe Reina. Tony Pulis will try to use Crouch 3 years experience in anfield as much as possible, so without no doubt Peter Crouch will be the lone striker in Pulis’s 4-4-1-1. With Jonathan Walters behind him as the second striker. The next 4 midfielders will be Etherington-Whelan-N’Zonzi-Shotton. Pulis will place his best 4 defenders to prevent the reds from scoring, so they will be Wilkinson-Huth-Shawcross-Cameron with Begovic as the one under the bar. Actually, Pulis still has another trump card on his hands, its Charlie Adam. But he is unlikely to play because of the death of his father, so let’s wait and see will Adam be available for this match.
Brendan Rodgers of course will put his best to secure another 3 points. Liverpool will use the 4-2-3-1 formation which gives them the win against Fulham last Saturday. Rodgers will not put too much change, this means Pepe Reina will be their last man on defense, with Johnson-Skrtel-Agger-Enrique helping him. Lucas Leiva-Steven Gerrard will be the midfielder to intercept the passes from Stoke players. The attacking midfielders will be Suso-Shelvey-Downing supporting Luis Suarez upfront.
Who to watch? In Stoke’s side, Peter Crouch, the english forward turns 31 this year. But still, Crouch proves that he still have that attacking ability even in this age. More than that, this match he will be reunited with his ex-teammates on liverpool like Steven Gerrard, Pepe Reina, Martin Skrtell and Daniel Agger. Obviously, Crouch has had so many training sessions with them for 3 years his stay at Anfield. Its possible that he knows how to score a goal against Pepe Reina. If Brendan Rodgers didn’t want to go home with 0 point. He should keep an eye on this one, because Peter Crouch could score when its least predicted.
While in Liverpool’s side, Steven Gerrard now find his perfect style of play in the new Liverpool era. Steven Gerrard scores 2 goals in the last 2 matches plus 2 assists. It seems like the anfield gang will rely everything on his shoulder again, because no one can replace him in the midfield. His pass accuary, his deadly shot and his leadership is just 3 of many skills that this englishman has. Well, Tony Pulis should really ask his lads to watch this guy or else, Gerard could find the net once again.
It’s gonna be a draw or a 1 goal difference win for Liverpool. With the almost same quality its not impossible for Pulis to snatch the 3 points but they should play really hard and neatly organize their defence, its go big or go home for Liverpool.