Stoke City vs Liverpool Preview: Potters looking to end winless streak against Reds at the bet365

Stoke City have claimed just one win in their last eight Premier League clashes with Liverpool and none since May 2015 as they host the Reds at the bet365 Stadium in mid-week.

Stoke City vs Liverpool Preview: Potters looking to end winless streak against Reds at the bet365
(Picture: Getty Images - Chris Brunskill Ltd)

Stoke City host Liverpool at the bet365 Stadium on Wednesday night hoping to end a run of four straight Premier League defeats to the Reds.

Both sides were denied by late goals at the weekend with the Potters conceding in injury time to lose away at Crystal Palace while Liverpool could not hold on for three points at Anfield, Chelsea equalising on 85 minutes.

And they will both hope to bounce back from their respective setbacks in the Potteries, with Mark Hughes' men in need of a tonic to poor form that has seen them win just one of their last six top-flight outings.

The Welshman has overseen just three league wins all term with Stoke lingering just above the relegation zone having leaked 26 goals in 13 games, including at least two in five of their last six games.

Pressure is mounting on Hughes - with their tally of 13 points their joint-lowest after 13 games of a top-flight season - with the onus on them to produce an improved performance here.

But if recent meetings are anything to go by, the odds are stacked against Stoke.

The Staffordshire side have lost seven of their last eight top-flight matches against Liverpool, the only exception an unforgettable 6-1 thrashing in Steven Gerrard's final game in May 2015.

They have also lost all of their last three home games against Liverpool in all competitions, with Jürgen Klopp's men looking to maintain another unbeaten run having not lose since facing Tottenham Hotspur last month.

The Reds' four-game winning streak has however been halted by back-to-back draws in which their inability to defend under sustained pressure has cost them crucial wins over Sevilla and Chelsea.

And while Merseyside outfit will be favourites to claim three points on a clichéd cold mid-week night in Stoke, they have endured a difficult campaign on the road.

They have won just twice, conceding 16 of their 18 league goals away from home, although they did claim a 4-1 victory on their last away trip at West Ham United before the international break.

Both teams therefore have points to prove but how Stoke's three-man back-line look to shackle the electric Liverpool front-line - which has scored 17 goals in the club's last seven games and boasts the league's top scorer in Mohamed Salah - will prove crucial.

So too could Stoke's threat from set pieces. The Potters have scored six goals from corner-kicks and free-kicks this term while Liverpool have leaked 30 goals from such situations under Klopp, one of the worst records of top-flight teams in that time.

Former Liverpool striker Peter Crouch - Stoke's top goalscorer this season with just three goals - could start his first league match of the season having thus far started on the bench.

The 36-year-old signed a new one-year deal with the club on Tuesday and has a Premier League record 51 headed goals in his career and could be the kind of figure to unsettle a susceptible Liverpool defence and spur Stoke on to a huge victory. 

 

Team news

Winger Ramadan Sobhi should be passed fit despite sustaining a minor ankle knock at Selhurst Park, although Geoff Cameron remains unavailable after concussion.

Lee Grant will once again start in goal with first-choice 'keeper Jack Butland still sidelined with a broken finger.

Striker Saido Berahino could return to Stoke's 18-man match-day squad after being left out altogether at Palace, having yet to score in 21 appearances for the club.

Midfielder Emre Can is available again and centre-back Dejan Lovren "will be close" to contention according to Klopp, after minor injuries forced the duo to miss the Chelsea draw. 

Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mané are likely to return to the starting line-up after Daniel Sturridge and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain started on Saturday.

Recent form (all competitions)

Stoke City: LWDDL

Liverpool: WWWDD

Latest result

Crystal Palace 2-1 Stoke City (Shaqiri 53, Loftus-Cheek 56, Sakho 90+2)

Liverpool 1-1 Chelsea (Salah 65, Willian 85)

 

Match facts

Stoke have lost seven of their last eight top-flight games against Liverpool since 2012.

Liverpool have won their last three successive games away at Stoke in all competitions, winning by a single goal all three times.

Mark Hughes has lost 11 of his last 16 Premier League meetings with Liverpool (W2, D3). The only teams he has lost more times to is Chelsea (16).

Xherdan Shaqiri has registered two goals and four assists in his last six Premier League games.

Of the 18 top-flight goals Liverpool have conceded this season, 16 have come away from home.

The Reds are seven points worse off than they were at this stage last season, when they were second in the league with 30 points.

Liverpool's last nine league victories have all been against teams starting that day in the bottom half of the table. In their first 13 games of the season, they have faced seven sides starting that day in the bottom half (W6, D1) and six clubs in the top half (D4, L2).

Philippe Coutinho has scored in both of his last two Premier League games against Stoke, both at the bet365.

 

Referee

Experienced referee Martin Atkinson is the man in the middle.

The 46-year-old will oversee his ninth Premier League game of the campaign, having issued 18 yellows cards and one red card so far.

This will be his second fixture of the campaign involving Liverpool after officiating their goalless draw with Manchester United last month.

Atkinson - a Premier League referee since 2005 - hasn't overseen a Stoke game since a home win over Palace back in February.

He took charge of Liverpool's 1-0 win over Stoke at Anfield back in 2013-14.