The waiting is over as we bring you the latest Liverpool v Stoke odds and team news from Anfield.
The Premier League kicks off on Saturday with the unlikeliest of curtain raisers as Liverpool and Stoke, with three 0-0 draws in their last 5 games at Anfield, setting the stage for what is expected to be one of the most exciting campaign’s to date.
Stoke, renowned for their physical approach, are set for a slight change in direction with the appointment of new boss Mark Hughes. Hughes takes over from the direct but effective looking to rebuild his career after the disappointing spell at QPR.
While the former Blackburn manager’s footballing ideology is not quite the model Brendan Rodgers has implemented at Anfield, it’s fair to say that the Potters will play a more expansive game this season without straying too far from the defensive formation that has served them well.
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Hughes has kept a low profile throughout the summer with just two players, Marc Muniesa and Erik Peters, both defenders arriving at the Britannia.
The majority of their pre-season was spent state side following a draw with Genoa and narrow win over Wrexham on English soil. Wins over FC Dallas and Philadelphia Union followed before the Potters suffered their only summer defeat in the final game to the Huston Dynamo.
The aforementioned defensive stability was clearly shown with four clean sheets in a row before the 2-0 loss to Dynamo, although as a former striker Hughes will hope for a better return from his forward in the coming season with Stoke registering just four goals in their 5 games.
Liverpool meanwhile will look to enhance their growing reputation as the games great entertainers. Last season the Reds scored an impressive 71 league goals last and they looked to have maintained that form in pre-season, scoring 17 goals and conceding just 2 on their way to just 1 defeat in 7 games.
With Luis Suarez is suspended for the start of the new season the requirements for goals and creativity will fall on the shoulders of Daniel Sturridge and the impressive Philippe Coutinho. This pairing, along with the evergreen Steven Gerrard, will be the key to success for the Reds.
Simon Mignolet, Kolo Toure, and Iago Aspas are all set to make their league debuts for the club while Brendan Rodgers also confirmed that Daniel Agger, along with Martin Skrtel, will be fit.
Speaking at his pre-match conference Rodgers said “We’ve had one or two items – the likes of Daniel [Agger] and Martin Skrtel – but by the weekend, we should be fine.”
That means that the Reds have a full squad to choose from with the only absence the suspended Luis Suarez.
Potters boss Hughes meanwhile is set to continue with the 4-3-3 system he has experimented with in pre-season with Erik Peters set for his debut at left back ahead of last season’s first choice Marc Wilson.
Former Barcelona starlet Muniesa could also make his debut while Charlie Adam, the back in favour Jermaine Pennant and Peter Crouch are all set for Anfield returns.