Premier League chargers Liverpool head into a difficult festive fixture list feeling eager not to lose ground on the title chase as they prepare to welcome out of form Stoke City, who failed to win any of their last three matches in the league.


The Reds recovered from the two-match slump against Bournemouth and West Ham at the beginning of the month and will be keen to extend their back-to-back winning streak as they play host to Mark Hughes’ men on Tuesday night. Jurgen Klopp’s men are coming from an emotional injury-time derby triumph over Everton at Goodison Park and could use the momentum to grab another three points and remain in the title race with leaders Chelsea. The Reds currently sit in the second place in the Premier League table, six points behind Antonio Conte’s boost and they will be looking to overcome their unfavourable festive schedule to remain up top. Klopp will be hopeful his key man Philippe Coutinho will return from his injury in time to help the team go through the festivities in high spirits and the Reds have actually been given a major boost with news of the Brazilian playmaker returning to training this week. Coutinho scored five goals for Liverpool this term and made as many assists, proving to be of crucial importance for the team.

Team News

Adam Bogdan and Danny Ings are still nurturing their knee injuries and will not be able to help their team on Tuesday.

Joel Matip is hoping he would be able to shake off his ankle injury in time for the match, whereas his teammate Marko Grujic is also fighting to be fit in time for Stoke’s visit.

Stoke City

The festivities are coming at a bad time for Stoke City who are coming off from the three-match winless run in the Premier League. The 3-1 defeat at Arsenal was followed by consecutive home draws against Southampton and Leicester which have put Stoke in 11th place in the standings. The Potters are facing an arguably hardest Christmas schedule as they are due to make a trip to Chelsea and play a potentially tricky game against Watford. Having grabbed mere 21 points from 17 rounds, Stoke City are in desperate need of improvement which will be hard to achieve against more quality opposition. The Potters have had plenty of problems in front of goal this season. Hughes’ men have only scored 19 goals thus far and the January transfer window is likely to be used to add some fresh blood to the squad. Former Liverpool midfielder Joe Allen has been the outstanding performer for Stoke this season and there is no doubt that the Welsh midfielder will be in for an emotional reunion as he looks to extend his scoring tally to six goals this season.

Team News

Goalkeeper Jack Butland has undergone the second round of surgery on his ankle and is facing another three months on the sidelines.

Geoff Cameron, Marc Muniesa and Phil Bardsley are all having knee problems and are likely to miss the match, whereas the trip to Liverpool comes too soon for Ireland as well.

Key Aspects to Consider

Liverpool won 5 of the last 6 EPL encounters with Stoke
There have been under 2.5 goals in 4 of last 6 meetings
Reds scored most goals in the Premier League thus far (41)
Stoke failed to win any of their last 3 EPL matches
Liverpool are unbeaten at home this season

Jurgen Klopp’s men are keen to send a strong message of will and intent as they prepare to host Stoke City on Tuesday night. The Reds have been struggling to compensate for the absence of Philippe Coutinho, but still managed to get back to winning ways and will now be eager to extend the winning run and keep pace behind leaders Chelsea.

Verdict: Liverpool/Liverpool