MATCH PREVIEW: Stoke V Liverpool
|Image via www.liverpoolecho.co.uk|
I can't believe that we've reached season start already, it may have dragged for a few of you but because I've been working all this summer instead of sitting around the house whilst off Uni, it's gone well quick for me! In fact, I haven't even felt the usual withdrawal symptoms that occur when not being able to obsess over my beloved Liverpool each weekend.
But there we have it, it's here and it's time for the Reds to get stuck in!
After finishing last season with what looked like a potential P45 for Brendan Rodgers, the boss is still at the helm and he's made some signings in the process:
- Christian Benteke - £32.5million
- Roberto Firmino - £28.7million
- Nathaniel Clyne - £12.3million
- Joe Gomez - £3.4million
- James Milner - Free Transfer
- Danny Ings - Free Transfer
- Adam Bogdan - Free Transfer
I've voiced my opinions on the transfers on Twitter so I won't go into it all again but one thing's for sure, Rodgers has nowhere to hide if things don't go well this season.
In terms of pre-season, the Reds couldn't have done much better. They never lost a game on their travels and topped things off with a stunning Benteke goal against Swindon.
Injury wise, Liverpool are in a pretty strong position for season start with just Joe Allen, Jon Flanagan and Daniel Sturridge unavailable. Stoke are also without three players; Wilson, Shawcross and Arnautovic.
The last time the two sides met was of course in May this year when the Reds ended their season with a crushing 6-1 defeat at Stoke. It was a horrid end to the season for Liverpool and it will be interesting to see if Brendan's side have managed to pick themselves up off the floor for this rematch.
Prior to this, the last three fixtures at the Britannia have seen Liverpool win twice and lose once.
- Firmino collected 21 assists over his last two seasons in the top five European Leagues, more than any other Brazilian.
- Stoke have only won their opening Premier League fixture once.
- The Reds have failed to score in their opening Premier League fixtures on three occasions.
I'm extremely excited for kick off on Sunday but in terms of how the game is going to pan out, I genuinely have no idea. It will depend firstly on whether the new signings can gel together quickly and I'm also still trying to guess what line up Rodgers is going to choose and how he will prefer to set them up. In fact I can see Rodgers chopping and changing things in the first few games which may be required but could also be a risky strategy, especially with the list of away fixtures Liverpool currently have coming up.
I asked you for your score predictions and here are a few of the tweets I received:
@LFCKirstyLFC 2-1 Reds. Benteke and Hendo to score. Lovren with an OG.— Johnny Lockjaw (@God_Fowler) August 7, 2015
@LFCKirstyLFC 0-0— Adam. (@adampotter1) August 7, 2015
@LFCKirstyLFC 1-0. Imagine it'll be the same tight opening days that we've had in the past 2 seasons.— Reece (@_MarcoReece) August 6, 2015
Whatever happens, here's hoping we can get off to a good start! Enjoy the match folks, wherever you are watching!
P.s. For those of you who don't know, I'm now blogging for Shoot once a fortnight as their Liverpool correspondent so it would be fantastic if you could support me over there too :)!