After a last-gasp win in the Merseyside derby that took Liverpool back to second, Jürgen Klopp’s side will host a Stoke City side who were left scratching their heads after conceding two late goals to 10-men Leicester City. The Potters have two tough away trips and Anfield will be the first of those on Boxing Day.
Liverpool have put their lean patch behind after the win over Everton. After dropping points against Bournemouth and West Ham, it was imperative the Reds came back to winning ways immediately and even though they had to wait till injury time to hand Everton yet another Merseyside defeat, the fans won’t be complaining.
Liverpool have a pretty good record against Stoke City and have won six of the last 10 games between the two sides. Despite missing a few key names, the home side will still be the favourites for the clash. Here’s how Klopp might set up his side.
Joel Matip is still not a certain starter against Stoke and Ragnar Klavan could take his place once again. The Estonian was pretty assured in his first ever Merseyside derby and keep Lukaku under the lid. Dejan Lovren will partner the former Augsburg man at the heart of the defence. Simon Mignolet has been pretty impressive in the last two games and is likely to get another start in goal.
James Milner continued to impress in the left-back role and could be up against Xherdan Shaqiri. Nathaniel Clyne is a sure-shot starter on the right.
Jordan Henderson has upped his game this season and his presence offers the distribution from the deeper areas as well as the protection for the defence. With Afellay reportedly back, Henderson might have to curb his attacking forays on the night. He is likely to be partnered by Emre Can in the midfield.
With an important game against Manchester City coming up, Klopp will want Can to get some fitness into his game after missing a few games. Adam Lallana is likely to complete the three-man midfield and his creativity will be key in breaking Stoke’s defence.
Daniel Sturridge had a good cameo appearance against Everton but is unlikely to start against Stoke. Divock Origi drew a blank against Everton but the fans will expect him to get back to his goal-scoring ways. He is likely to be flanked by Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino. The trio up front have shown immense adaptability and can change their positions if needed.
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