EPL Preview: Liverpool v Stoke City – Anfield – April 28
Liverpool will be progressing into a tough week when they host Roma for the 1st leg of the UEFA Champions League (UCL) semi-finals on Tuesday night and follow it up with a Premier league clash against Stoke City at Anfield again.
The Reds look to retain their position in the Top Four post their match against the Potters. Mohammad Salah continues his remarkable form, getting his 31st goal for the season in his side’s somewhat disappointing 2-2 draw against West Bromwich last Saturday. Post the 1st leg match, Klopp may choose to rest some of his key players like Sadio Mane, Firmino, Virgil van Dijk or even Salah for 28th April’s clash against Stoke City keeping in mind the very gruelling trip to Italy for the 2nd leg UCL encounter with Roma. That may give a chance to players like Dominic Solanke and Robertson to make the cut in the weekend’s Premier League game.
For Stoke City, it’s just the matter of staying alive in the League and coming out of relegation territory. The Potters are in the 19th spot with 29 points and still 4 points away from 17th placed Swansea City. Even against a less-than-full-strength Liverpool, the Potters may find it difficult to muster a point. Coach Paul Lambert seems to be have infused a minor revival by changing his formation from his customary 4-2-3-1 system to 4-4-2 that has seen Peter Crouch partner Mame Diouf as strikers. The Potters have managed to eke out a couple of 1-1 draws, one with West Ham and an impressive one against 7th placed Burnley. This comes after a string of 4 defeats in which the Potters conceded as many as 9 goals and scored just twice. At the back, Glen Johnson has come in to replace Kurt Zouma and along with Shawcross and Martins Indi form the defensive back-bone. Jack Butland as usual is expected to man the posts. BadouNdiaye, who scored the Potter’s lone goal in last weekend’s drawn game against Burnley is expected to start off at Anfield in the mid-field space with XerdanShaqiri manning the right-wing, a flank from which Lambert would intend orchestrating most of his attacks.
Stoke City have won just 2 of their 10 encounters with their weekend rivals since 2014. For them, the weekend Anfield game is a must win if they are to survive the impending relegation staring at them. But the odds are heavily stacked against them. As for Liverpool, it could be one more opportunity for Mo Salah to further his goal-scoring record if he were to feature.
A desperate Stoke could at best force out a draw. Otherwise, a “correct score” bet on a score-line of 3-0 in favour of the hosts seems worth taking.
Recommended Tip: Liverpool to win & BTTS, Best odds 2.8 @ Ladbrokes
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