Liverpool's season has been a bit like a roller coaster ride. After winning three consecutive matches on the road—including a 5-2 thumping of Norwich City last weekend—momentum was stopped by a 3-2 loss to Udinese in the Europa League at home this past Thursday.
Tony Pulis' Stoke City squad has gotten off to a solid start in EPL play, finding itself with seven points and in 12th place, two spots (and two points) ahead of the Reds.
With a Potters' roster that features a number of former Reds, including Michael Owen, Charlie Adam, Jermaine Pennant and Peter Crouch, emotions are sure to be running high when the Potters and Reds step onto the pitch.
Here's all the information you need heading into the match.
When: Sunday, October 7
Where: Anfield, England
Start Time: 10:00 a.m. ET
Live Streaming: FOXSoccer2Go
Key Player For Liverpool: Daniel Agger
The Reds' defense has been surrendering goals at an alarming rate, and the much ballyhooed, oft-injured 27-year-old centre-back is once again playing injured—this time with a fractured kneecap he suffered in a match against Manchester United last month.
Agger told the Liverpool Echo that he's not overly concerned:
I feared the worst when it happened. When I tried to get up the muscle in my knee just didn't work. I felt really unsteady and the medical staff thought I had done my ligaments.
I thought it was a bad one and that I would be out for months. But, thankfully, it was just a really hard knock to the knee.
I've got a small fracture in the bone but it’s only a minor thing. It’s not a problem. I only started training again last Friday but I was fine for the Norwich game.
I felt really comfortable and I’m enjoying it. I think I deserved a bit of luck after the problems I've had in the past.
His ability to play through the injury and cut down on individual mistakes—many of which have come as a result of manager Brendan Rodgers' new system that emphasizes high-tempo passing and pressing while playing out from the back—should, in theory, play into all of Agger's strengths.
A strong showing by the talented Dane will not only help to ensure a Reds' victory, but perhaps push his teammates to play that much harder.
Key Player For Stoke City: Peter Crouch
After being shunned by coach Roy Hodgson for inclusion on England's entry in EURO 2012, the 31-year-old striker is going to be playing with a chip on his shoulder against his former mates.
Crouch spent three years in Anfield, from 2005 through 2008, scoring 42 goals in 134 matches. He's looking forward to coming back to Anfield: (h/t StokeCityFC.com)
I will look forward to going back to Liverpool, I always do. I had some great times there and it’s a Club that I will always have a fondness for.
Like ourselves, they will probably feel their points tally doesn't reflect their performances so far this season, so we know it will be a tough game for us.
There's no question that Crouch will be looking to add to his five goals on the season, and his success in doing so goes hand-in-hand with Stoke City being able to pick up more points in the standings.
The Reds would love to pull a clean sheet in this game, but given the recent defensive lapses and the presence of Crouch, that's unlikely.
Both the Reds and Potters have talented clubs, but it's only a matter of time before the Reds' defense falls in line with the improvements that the club has made in other areas.
It's not going to be pretty, but the Reds' will emerge victorious, 2-1.
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