Today’s trip to the Brittania Stadium has come a little bit too early for Mamadou Sakho to make a return and it will be Kolo Toure filling in for the Frenchman when Liverpool take on Stoke City.
After Daniel Agger was ruled out for a month with a calf injury picked up against Oldham Athletic in the Reds 2-0 FA Cup win a week ago, there were hopes that Sakho would be ready to go against the Potters today, but the hamstring problem he picked up against Chelsea during the festive period hasn’t healed quite quick enough and it will be the big Ivorian that will partner Martin Skrtel in the heart of the Reds defense.
Liverpool ‘keeper Simon Mignolet saved a penalty in the reverse fixture as Brendan Rodgers side opened the Premier League season with a 1-0 win at Anfield and the Belgian, unsurprisingly, keeps his place in the squad. Glen Johnson makes a return to the starting eleven after missing out against the Latics and he’ll have Aly Cissokho to work with on the opposite flank.
There’s no surprises from here on out with a midfield three of Steven Gerrard, Jordan Henderson and Lucas supporting a front three of Philippe Coutinho, Raheem Sterling and Luis Suarez. There is a possibility that we’ll see the SAS partnership reformed today with Daniel Sturridge fit enough for a spot on the bench alongside Danny Ward, Martin Kelly, Jordan Ibe, Iago Aspas, on-loan Chelsea winger Victor Moses and Luis Alberto.
Stoke City boss Mark Hughes has tried to play a more expansive form of football since taking over from Tony Pulis and this could give the Reds an advantage today. Rookie netminder Jack Butland has been given the nod with both Asmir Begovic and Thomas Sorenson out injured. He’ll have Geoff Cameron, Erik Pieters, Glenn Whelan and Ryan Shawcross for company while Marc Wilson, Jon Walters, Steven N’Zonzi and former Liverpool man Charlie Adam make up the midfield.
Up front it’s another Liverpool old-boy in Peter Crouch and he’ll be partnered by Austrian stiker Marko Arnautovi?. From the bench, Hughes has Thomas Sorensen, Muniesa, Jermaine Pennant, Wilson Palacios, Matthew Etherington, Shotton and Steven Ireland to call on.
Be sure to pop by after the match for a full reaction and all kind of other stuff.