Official StokeMAD Match preview: Stoke v Liverpool

Last updated : 15 January 2010 By Dan Buxton

The Potters host Liverpool this Saturday lunchtime in a game that sees a team struggling against a team who are once again flying high in the top half.

Stoke sit 10th in the Premier League but are still only a couple of results away from the bottom three but are coming to the end of a tough set of fixtures. Liverpool are struggling in seventh and have been more miss than hit all season and are without arguably their three most creative players in Fernando Torres(knee), Steven Gerrard(hamstring) and Yossi Benayoun(rib).

Stoke have a decent home record this season and have already beaten Burnley,West Ham, Sunderland, Fulham and Portsmouth whilst only losing to Manchester United, Birmingham and Chelsea. Liverpool lost to Portmouth recently and have struggled all season against opposition that is fired up.

In the 58 matches between these sides at Stoke, the Potters have won 23, the visitors 14 and twenty-one have been drawn. Last season when the pair clashed at the Britannia the game ended 0-0. Stoke have not scored a goal against Liverpool since 1994, five games ago. Overall Liverpool have won 61 times to the Potters 26.

The referee is Lee Mason. He took charge as Stoke were beaten 2-0 by Manchester City on Boxing Day but also refereed last seasons wins over Tottenham, West Brom and Middlesbrough last season and also took charge of this fixture, that ended goalless. He has refereed Liverpool three times this season, a 4-0 home win over Burnley, but also a 3-1 defeat at Fulham, where he sent off two Liverpool players, and the 2-0 defeat away at Pompey, when Mascherano was red carded.

The Met Office report that there will be light rain, temperatures of a tropical like 5 degrees celsius, well compared to recent temperatures anyway, good visibility and a whistling 18mph wind.

Prediction: The Potters brush off the early kick off and rustiness, after 10 days without a game, to get at Liverpool at every opportunity and hold onto a 1-0 lead, given to them when Etherington sets up Tuncay after half an hour with Gerrard struggling going forward without Gerrard, Benayoun and Torres.