Stoke vs. Liverpool
| Wednesday, November 29th |
Premier League | bet365 Stadium
8PM GMT / 3PM EST
Ah, the mythical midweek game at a rainy, stormy, orc-infested Britannia, where one ponders if Lionel Messi could finally prove his quality by being able to “do it”. Except, of course, it’s not the Britannia any more, Tony Pulis’ fighting Uruk-Hai have largely been traded for Mark Hughes’ far more sympathetic collective of talent, and the dark days of Liverpool stumbling to ugly 1-0 defeats are well and truly over, replaced by ugly 1-0 wins.
In fact, the Reds have only failed to win once in their last five visits to Stoke — that thoroughly upsetting 6-1 loss in Steven Gerrard’s final game — and if recent form is anything to go by, should be favourites to pick up another three points on Wednesday. Mired in 15th place, the Potters have only won twice since August, and only Everton have conceded more goals than Mark Hughes’ men this season.
Offensively, the Staffordshire club are a different proposition, spreading goals around the attacking quartet of Peter Crouch, Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting, Mame Biram Diouf, and Xherdan Shaqiri. Former Reds Joe Allen, Glen Johnson and Charlie Adam are also likely to be included in the squad, and will undoubtedly meet mixed receptions from the traveling Kop.
Projected Liverpool Lineup (4-3-3)
Mignolet; Gomez, Lovren, Matip, Moreno; Henderson, Can, Coutinho; Salah, Firmino, Mané
With Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mané rested on Saturday, one would expect the duo to return at the bet365 Stadium. Dejan Lovren and Emre Can are also reportedly back to full health, and may rejoin the starting XI.
After giving up leads in consecutive games, Jürgen Klopp’s Reds will hope to get back to their winning ways, perhaps even leapfrogging Tottenham, Arsenal and Chelsea in the process, and working their way into the top four for the first time this season. Games will be arriving thick and fast over the coming five weeks, and gathering some sort of momentum as they look to secure qualification to the knockout stages of the Champions League while maintaining contact with the top performers in the league will be crucial to the Reds’ hopes of a successful campaign.
Referee: Martin Atkinson
Assistants: Lee Betts, Stephen Child
Fourth official: Chris Kavanagh
Kickoff is set for 8PM GMT/3PM EST tomorrow, and television listings for the match can be found on LiveSoccerTV. In the meantime, we'll be keeping you updated with all the buildup to the game, including team news as it's released, our live matchday thread, and post-match recaps from The Liverpool Offside staff. If you want to join the discussion, sign up for an SB Nation account to have your say on the action as it happens.