Oppositions View: Liverpool

Last updated : 15 January 2010 By Dan Buxton

Liverpool have had an indifferent start to the season, struggling outside the European places, whilst Stoke are in a more than acceptable 10th although we do welcome you to the Brit looking nervously over our shoulders. Do you think the visitors have a good chance of picking up three points?

In a word, yes. Obviously, we're not having a good season, but I would say we have at least a decent chance. We've been seeing better results, if not necessarily better play lately, and hopefully we can finally put in an overall good performance at yours.

The Potters are well known for a physical style but what kind of style are Liverpool likely to play?

The media have labeled us a defensive team and really don't look at the evidence, but the truth is that we score a lot of goals (top scorers in the league last year). The problem has been our defense, which has been uncharacteristically leaky this season. I suspect Rafa will go with a 4-2-3-1, and we'll try to win control of the midfield and then use that as a platform to provide chances for our attacking players. Our back line seems to be settling a bit, and if they ever do get it together, we'll be fine.

Rafa Benitez is under an enormous amount of pressure. Could a weekend defeat see him on his way or has he still got plenty of time on his side, regardless of results?

The only people who think Rafa is under pressure are Sky and the people who watch the drivel they spew. We can't afford to sack him, and even if we could we couldn't bring in anyone half as good. We could lose the next five in a row and he'd be perfectly safe. He can be a bit frustrating but the truth is our alternatives are much worse.

Are there any Stoke players you are wary of?

Always been a fan of Tuncay. Was a rumour in the summer that we were after him; a shame it didn't come off as he'd be brilliant for us. Such a versatile and talented player. Wouldn't be at all surprised to see him do something brilliant and earn you a goal if he plays (how serious was the injury?).

Oh, and is Simonsen playing? He's a brilliant talent, the future of England and I hope Pulis doesn't select him, even considering the extreme seriousness of Sorenson's injury. (Does Pulis seem to respond to reverse psychology?)

Who should we keep an eye out for?

I'd keep an eye out for Maxi Rodriguez, who is sure to be in the lineup ... ah, who am I kidding? I'm sure the owners will find a way to throw that away. I suppose you can take the chance to watch a brilliant midfielder who gets no credit at all, even from his own fans - Lucas. Or look for Benayoun to create something out of nothing, or maybe Kuyt to lose every ball that comes to him with a poor first touch, but then to have a goal go in off his knee and make us all love him again.

...and finally, a prediction?

1-2: Diao (you know he will), Torres, and Kuyt the scorers.