Stoke hope to extend their unbeaten start to the new Premier league season when they entertain Liverpool tomorrow.
The Potters have made a promising start to the new campaign, drawing with Chelsea at home before gaining a point at Norwich & stealing a win at the Hawthorns.
Liverpool arrive at the Britannia in good spirits after the capture of Craig Bellamy & number of new faces this summer.
They’ll be hoping to improve on last year’s fixture when Stoke ran out comfortable 2-0 winners thanks to second-half goals from Ricardo Fuller and Kenwyne Jones.
Stoke’s transfer window dealings have left fans extremely excited about what the Potters can achieve and tomorrow’s game will no doubt be a very competitive game, with Stoke looking to build on the feel-good factor around the city by beating one of the traditional giants of the English game.
Record signing Peter Crouch was left flattered by Stoke fans’ support on deadline day, he accepts the game will be extremely tough but believes the Potters have what it takes to beat the Anfield side.
The former liverpool striker told stokecityfc.com:
”Suarez has been on fire, they have Andy Carroll there who is very talented, Craig Bellamy has just arrived from Manchester City, and I know Stewart Downing from England so they have some very good options. They have strengthened, but so have we.
‘I mean, I look around our dressing room and we have some fantastic players in there as well. I know from being an opposing player that nobody enjoys coming here and playing against Stoke. It’s always an incredibly hard game to play in, so we have the belief that we can win the game.’
Tony Pulis meanwhile has hinted the England striker could start tomorrow, he told the Sentinel:
‘Wilson has been injured so we are not sure whether he will be fit to start on Saturday or whether we need to give him a couple of weeks to get him up and running.
‘We are hoping Peter will hit the ground running and do smashing for us, and the same for Cameron.
‘But Cameron has missed a lot of pre-season through injury.
‘He is a little bit behind, but Peter can’t wait to get going.’
Stoke City Team News:
Stoke look set to name the same team which starred in the 1-0 away success at West Brom but don’t be surprised if Pulis bloods Crouch. Palacios has been struggling with a knee injury and isn’t expected to start but the only man who knows for sure is Tony Pulis.
Rory Delap has been sidelined with a hamstring injury but he may return to the starting line-up tomorrow.
Player to watch: Ryan Shawcross
The Captain continues to impress at the heart of the defence and will have to be at his best to keep the brilliant Luis Suarez from spoiling the Potters’ party vibe.
Liverpool Team News:
Charlie Adam picked up an injury on international duty for Scotland in the week but the midfielder is expected to be fit – other than that, Kenny Dalglish has a near full-strength squad to choose from.
Player to watch: Luis Suarez
A privilege to watch even when he’s lining up against your own team, the 24-year-old Uruguay international spearheaded his country’s glory at the Copa America in the summer with a string of sensational displays and after an equally impressive start to the season with liverpool, he’ll be the main threat. Quick, strong & crazily skilful, there’s not much this man can’t do, but we’ll see how he copes with his first visit to the Britannia with the likes of Huth,Shawcross & Woodgate breathing down his neck.
Match Facts & Stats
Liverpool spent £35million on English striker Andy Carroll in January, only a year after Stoke were eyeing the target-man for around £1 million.
The £35 million which Liverpool forked out for the former Newcastle forward is around the same amount of cash Tony Pulis has used to build a quality premier league squad.
I fully expect Liverpool to give us a game, but as much as there is renewed optimism at Anfield, I still don’t believe they’ve signed players of the quality who will be good enough to challenge for the title or indeed, even win at Stoke.
The likes of Adam, Downing, Henderson, Carroll & Bellamy are very good players in their own right, but we’ve all seen them wilt at the Britannia before. The only man I’m worried about is Luis Suarez, and as long as the Potters keep him quiet there’s no reason why we can’t win the game.
Liverpool’s defence will be bombarded and if Pennant & Etherington are on form, I can see Stoke winning this.
Vital Stoke verdict: Stoke City 2-1 liverpool
Next Fixtures: Dynamo Kiev
Stoke travel to Kiev on Thursday night to face Ukraine giants Dynamo Kiev in their first Europa league group stage encounter.
The Potters next Premier league fixture is on Sunday 18th September, Away at Sunderland