Preview: Liverpool vs. Stoke City

Preview: Liverpool vs. Stoke City
© PA Photos
Liverpool will hope to be more clinical in front of goal as they host Stoke City at Anfield.

Liverpool will expect a tough encounter as they go head to head against Stoke City at Anfield on Saturday.

Kenny Dalglish's side will feel buoyant following their 1-0 win over Manchester City in the first leg of the Carling Cup semi-final at the Etihad Stadium last night.

While spirits in the Reds camp will be on the up following a difficult few months off the pitch, Liverpool's mid-week clash and inconsistent home form could serve as a disadvantage as the Potters arrive on Merseyside on the back of two straight victories.

Steven Gerrard is expected to start for the Reds after regaining full fitness from a lengthy absence, while Charlie Adam is likely to return to the midfield, causing Jay Spearing, who limped off against City, to make way.

It is expected that Andy Carroll will continue to lead the line for the Reds, despite a continuous goal drought. However, Craig Bellamy could find himself on the bench with Dirk Kuyt returning to the side.

Tony Pulis is likely to ring the changes from the side that defeated Gillingham 3-1 in the FA Cup last weekend, with Peter Crouch expected to return to the Potters starting XI.

Current form:

Liverpool: WWDDWL
Stoke City: WWLDDW

Possible lineups:

Liverpool: Reina; Enrique, Skrtl, Agger, Johnson; Downing, Adam, Gerrard, Henderson; Kuyt, Carroll

Stoke City: Sorensen; Woodgate, Shawcross, Huth, Wilson; Shotton, Whelan, Whitehead, Etherington; Walters, Crouch

Sports Mole says: 1-0

Dimitar Berbatov
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Manchester CityMan City23202167175062
2Manchester UnitedMan Utd23155348163250
3Liverpool23138254282647
4Chelsea23145441162547
5Tottenham HotspurSpurs23135546212544
6Arsenal23116641301139
7Burnley239771920-134
8Leicester CityLeicester238783432231
9Everton2376102538-1327
10Watford2375113342-926
11West Ham UnitedWest Ham2367102941-1225
12Crystal Palace2367102133-1225
13Bournemouth2366112435-1124
14Huddersfield TownHuddersfield2366111939-2024
15Newcastle UnitedNewcastle2365122131-1023
16Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton2358101729-1223
17Southampton2349102334-1121
18Stoke CityStoke2355132350-2720
19West Bromwich AlbionWest Brom23310101830-1219
20Swansea CitySwansea2345141435-2117
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