Stoke vs Liverpool - Sky Sports Sunday 4pm
Liverpool return to the ground where they were hosed 6-1 by the hosts Stoke City on the last day of last season. However Brendan Rodgers returns with a much changed side.
Rodgers considered lucky to keep his job, especially with the likes of Ancelotti and Klopp in the background has invested heavily in the summer, with the money received by selling Raheem Sterling. However he has ignored what many believe to be faults in the Liverpool side, the goalkeeper and centre backs. Whilst he has an array of attacking talent at his disposal, can Rodgers organise a defence.
I remain unconvinced, and that will hold them back from breaking into the top 4. A midfield three of Emre Can, James Milner and Jordan Henderson is very strong, added to that the guile of Coutinho, Lallana and new signing Firmino, they will create plenty of chances for new strikers Benteke and Danny Ings. Don’t forget Liverpool still have the injury prone Daniel Sturridge up their sleeve.
Liverpool will score plenty of goals this season, but remember they still have Mignolet in goal. He will be backed up by Adam Bogdan, who let’s be honest turned up no trees at Bolton.
Stoke meanwhile are trying to move away from the hoof-ball style of Tony Pulis, under Mark Hughes. Sparky using his reputation at Barcelona has somehow managed to sign 4 Barca players in the last few seasons. It was Bojan last season, whose season was cruelly ruined by injury. This season it’s Affellay. With these two loading the bullets behind the front man, Stoke could be a joy to watch this season. Imagine that Stoke, a joy to watch.
There are question marks over Stoke’s defence in the first few months of the season. How will Jack Butland do in replacing Asmir Begovic?
Butland has been tipped to be a great keeper for many seasons, this is his opportunity now. Can the young Englishman take it.
Meanwhile Ryan Shawcross is out for the first couple of months of the season. That is huge for Stoke, and whilst they will be entertaining going forward, at the back they may be leakier than usual.
So that moves us onto Sunday’s game. With both defences not at their strongest, both sides to score is a banker.
With no Shawcross, Benteke could be the man for Liverpool, and expect him to open his account. It could be the first of many for Belgian hitman this season.
Liverpool will have an eye on all 3points, but Stoke are a tough nut to crack at the Brittania, so both sides will have to be content with a point each.
Stoke v Liverpool – Draw – 27/11 Unibet
Both teams to score – YES – 5/6 Ladbrokes
Christian Benteke – Anytime goalscorer – 9/5 Ladbrokes