Everything you need to know ahead of the Premier League clash at Anfield on December 27
Liverpool have never lost to Stoke at Anfield in the top-flight and will want to continue that trend on Tuesday to stay within striking distance of Chelsea.
The Reds have suffered defeat just once in the last 19 games across all competitions, with Mark Hughes admitting his side face a daunting task.
The hosts have produced 25 goals on their own turf in nine fixtures this season and are just four away from recording 100 in the league under Jurgen Klopp.
Joe Allen faces his former club for the first time since his summer switch to the Britannia.
Joel Matip is “not 100 per cent comfortable” according to Klopp as he nurses an ankle issue. “I spoke to him a few minutes ago and he was very positive. But he [has been] out of training for a few days already, and as long as we have other players in training all the time, we will choose them,” explained the Reds boss.
Philippe Coutinho continues his recovery from an ankle injury, but is unlikely to return for the New Year’s Eve hosting of Manchester City.
Marko Grujic has been doing work with the physio outside as he overcomes a tendon problem.
Klopp has no suspension issues to contend with, but Dejan Lovren is one yellow card away from a ban.
Marko Arnautovic is suspended for the visitors.
LIVERPOOL POTENTIAL STARTING LINE-UP
Matip could miss out on the starting XI again as Klopp admitted those who have trained consistently will be preferred.
The German also stated Daniel Sturridge, who returned from a calf injury in the 1-0 victory over Everton, is in “good shape,” but isn’t yet totally sharp. With that in mind, he could once again be held in reserve to make an impact off the bench along with Emre Can.
Should no late concerns shake up his thinking, it’s possible Klopp will name an unchanged line-up for the first time in consecutive league games.
Placed 11th, the Potters are without a win in three games and surrendered a two-goal lead against 10-man Leicester City last weekend. They did, however, leave Old Trafford with a point back in October.
Klopp has reminded Liverpool of the importance of the fixture, given it falls between two blockbusters.
“It’s like if your parents have three kids and you are the middle one. Stoke is a little bit between Everton and Manchester City – the second child if you want,” he explained.
“Probably a lot of people think we already have the points and we have to do it differently, but it’s the most important game of the whole season and that’s because we have no other game to play.
“It’s not important when they beat us last time, it’s not important which kind of history is around this game or not. I don’t care.
“This is the only thing we have to do on December 27. That’s what we really want to have.”
Stoke will be without long-term injury absentees Jack Butland and Stephen Ireland, as well as Geoff Cameron and Phil Bardsley (both knee).
BEST OPTA MATCH FACTS
- Liverpool are unbeaten in 15 Premier League home games (W9 D6 L0) – the longest current unbeaten home run in the competition.
- Joe Allen has scored five goals in 16 Premier League appearances for Stoke City this season; one more than he scored in his entire Liverpool career in the competition (four goals in 91 games).
- Mark Hughes has never won a Premier League game as a manager at Anfield.
- Sadio Mane has had a hand in eight goals in his last nine Premier League appearances (five goals, three assists).
TV COVERAGE & KICK-OFF TIME
Kick off is at 17:15 and the game will be televised live on Sky Sports.