Premier League Preview: Stoke City v Liverpool
By Football News
Liverpool travel to Stoke City on Sunday still seeking a first league win at the Britannia Stadium.
Although the Merseyside club have twice run out winners in League Cup ties at the ground, famously recording an 8-0 success in November 2000, they have failed to win on five top-flight visits since Stoke were promoted to the Premier League in 2008.
Liverpool have, in fact, been beaten in three successive league games at Stoke, but will still start as favourites this weekend given their impressive season to date.
Brendan Rodgers' men sit fourth in the table, six points behind leaders Arsenal, and boast the league's most prolific scorer in Luis Suarez.
The Uruguayan forward has 20 goals from 15 starts - one more than the entire Stoke team have managed in 20 outings to date.
Liverpool could also welcome back Daniel Sturridge this weekend, the England international having returned to training following a near two-month lay-off with an ankle injury.
Despite the obvious threat posed by Liverpool - and Suarez, in particular - Stoke's Jonathan Walters believes his side can prevail on Sunday.
The Ireland international takes confidence from a 3-1 victory in last season's corresponding fixture, in which Stoke responded to an early Steven Gerrard penalty by roaring to victory with arguably their finest display of the campaign.
Walters, who scored twice in that game, told Stoke's official website: "In terms of what we have produced in the Premier League, that was arguably as good a team performance as we have put in, and we will need something similar on Sunday if we are to get the result that we all want.
"We have beaten them before, though, and this season we have been very strong at home, especially against the big sides, so we can take a lot of confidence from that into this particular game and hopefully come away from it with the points."
Walters will not have such fond memories of the last encounter between the two teams, on the opening day of this season.
The former Ipswich Town man had a late penalty saved by Simon Mignolet at Anfield, meaning Liverpool were able to claim a 1-0 victory thanks to Sturridge's first-half goal.
Liverpool will be without Daniel Agger (calf), Jose Enrique (knee) and Jon Flanagan (hamstring) this weekend, but are set to welcome back Mamadou Sakho (hamstring).
Robert Huth (knee), Asmir Begovic (broken finger) and Andy Wilkinson (foot) remain sidelined for Stoke, who are set to make a late decision on whether Thomas Sorensen, the recent victim of an Achilles injury, or Jack Butland starts in goal.