Writer: Chris Baldwin
Date:Friday January 15 2010
16th January 2010
Is this the best time to play Liverpool?
We certainly hope so, but it could also be the worst - will the Red Scousers still be licking the wounds from their midweek exit from the FA Cup or eager to attack?
More importantly, how will Tony Pulis be planning what could be Rafa's swansong? Does he go all out and attack or tread carefully? There's no doubt that the loyal Potters' fans will be scenting blood at the Brit in the front of the TV cameras this Saturday...
As you'd expect Tone is urging caution despite the absence of Gerrard and Torres. 'Irrespective of who is or who isn't playing for Liverpool on Saturday, Stoke City will have to be right on the mark if we are to get something out of this match.'
After all the talk around who could be between the posts, it should be back to normal with Thomas Sorensen returning after injuring his finger just before the last match against Fulham. Tuncay is another doubt after coming off after a great first half in that match with a hamstring strain but, again, should be ok.
Salif Diao will be eager for a return and a chance to face his old club.
Despite his public pronoucement of undying loyalty to the club, you have to wonder what the James affair will have done to his preparations and his future plans.
But he's a seasoned pro and should have no trouble concentrating on the game in hand.
Torres, Gerrard and Benayoun are all out after picking up injuries during the cup tie defeat against Reading on Wednesday. But never underestimate their capabilities as Javier Mascherano returns from suspension and new signing, Maxi Rodriguez could make his debut.
Kuyt was on the score-sheet in the disappointing 4-0 defeat at Anfield at the start of the season. He scored along with Torres, Gerrard and Ngog but he could be the only one starting if Ngog remains on the bench
Sun 24th January: Arsenal (home) FA Cup kick-off 1.30pm * ITV1
Mon 1st February: Sunderland (away) kick-off: 8pm * ESPN
Date:Friday January 15 2010
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