By Ian Palmer
Stoke City and Liverpool will kick off their 2015/16 English Premier League seasons when they face each other at the Britannia Stadium in Stoke on Sunday, August 9. Liverpool has managed to score a goal in every one of their season-opening games other than the 1992/93, 2005/06 and 2012/13 seasons. Stoke has managed just one victory in a season-opening game since being in the Premier League and that was against Burnley in the 2009/10 campaign. Stoke has scored at least once in their past 11 home league contests, which is second best to Chelsea’s streak of 19.
Stoke City vs Liverpool Betting Preview
- BETTING LINE: bet365 lists Liverpool as the current favorites at 13/10 while Stoke City is 12/5 and a draw is also 12/5
- HEAD TO HEAD: Liverpool has pulled off just one league victory against Stoke at the Britannia Stadium in the Premier League era to go along with two draws and four losses in their seven visits. That was a 5-3 triumph in the 2013/14 season. Overall, the teams have met 146 times in the past with Liverpool winning 71, drawing 39 and losing 36 and have won three of the last five encounters. This is the first Premier League fixture in history which has been played at the same venue in consecutive games. Stoke and Liverpool met at the Britannia on the final day of last season with Stoke thumping the visitors 6-1. It was the first time Liverpool has allowed six league goals against since losing 7-2 to Tottenham Hotspur in 1963.
Liverpool racked up 62 points last season on a record of 18 wins, eight draws and 12 losses and finished in sixth place. Their goal difference was quite low for a top club with 52 goals scored and 48 allowed. The Raheem Sterling soap opera finally ended during the summer when Liverpool sold him for about 49 million pounds, a new record for a British player, which Manchester City were foolish enough to cough up. However, they then blew most of it by signing Belgian international striker Christian Benteke from Aston Villa for about 32.5 million.
The Reds have added some good players overall with Benteke, James Milner, Danny Ings, Adam Bogdan, Joe Gomez, Roberto Firmino and Nathaniel Clyne all joining the cub. Those who left Merseyside include skipper Steven Gerrard, Iago Aspas, Glen Johnson, Danny Ward (loan), Sebastian Coates, Javier Manquillo (loan), Jordan Williams (loan), Lloyd Jones (loan), Kevin Stewart (loan), Luis Alberto (loan), Andre Wisdom (loan) and Sterling. They’ve loaned out dead wood and manager Brendan Rodgers needs to be a better judge of talent and name his best 11 week after week to finish in the top four.
Stoke City won 15 games last season, drew nine and lost 14 times for 54 points and a ninth-place finish. They found the back of the net 48 times and allowed 45 goals against. Stoke is basically another middle-of-the-road Premier League team who over the summer acquired the likes of Philipp Wollscheid, Jakob Haugaard, Marco Van Ginkel, goaltender Shay Given, Glen Johnson, Moha El Ouriachi and Ibrahim Afellay. On the way out of town were Robert Huth, Steven Nzonzi, Jamie Ness and goaltender Asmir Begovic. Stoke will likely remain a mediocre side, but could improve by one or two places in the standings.
Stoke enter this game with two wins and three losses in their past five preseason games while Liverpool won four and drew once in their past five. Stoke’s Ryan Shawcross is out for a couple of months with a back injury Bojan Krkic is doubtful. Daniel Sturridge of Liverpool hasn’t returned to action yet. Jon Allen and Joe Flanagan are also out for the Reds.