Writer: Chris Baldwin
Date:Friday November 12 2010
Saturday 13th November
Can our hearts cope with yet another home game just days after we nearly gifted Birmingham a point or three? Two goals to the good and the Stoke team were sitting so deep that they almost had their own seats in the South stand. Tomorrow's match against a resurgent Liverpool will be a stiff test and not the sort of match where you can afford to sit back and allow the likes of Gerrard and Torres a chance to get to get back on level terms.
Liverpool defender, Martin Skrtel seems to think that our main threat is still Rory Delap and that throw, but his plans to counter it seem a bit vague, as he told the Reds' official site: 'We must try to be in the right place at the right time.'
Seems like an obvious tactic...
Stoke will welcome the return of Ryan Shawcross to the central defence after his one match ban. It's the defensive formation that caused fans the most consternation this season after two years of reliability as TP seems to be struggling to get a line-up that is watertight. We'd expect Asmir Begovic to keep his place in goal after some fine saves spared the Potters any embarrassment.
Universally acclaimed for a solid performance, despite not getting himself on the score-sheet. He dominated the aerial challenges in Birmingham's penalty area on Tuesday. We'll have to wait and see who his partner will be for Liverpool after the manager hinted that he may rest Ric Fuller in favour of Tuncay - bluff or double bluff?
Liverpool's Sotirios Kyrgiakos, who scored in the 1-1 draw last year, is back after tonsillitis, while Joe Cole and Glen Johnson could return from injury. Wednesday's draw at Wigan will give the Potters some comfort that they're still very fallible with reports that they sat back on their early lead and let Wigan dominate the second half and earn a justified draw.
It's no coincidence that Torres' return to form is linked to the team's rapid climb out of the relegation zone and up the table. He notched up his 5th goal of the season in the draw at Wigan.
Mark Halsey. Now back after recovering from a serious illness this is one referee who it's hard to be too critical of and no surprise that TP has already said how much he admires him. Howard Webb is the fourth official - so does anyone else think that this surfeit of 'respected' refs is anything to do with Pulis' outburst last weekend?
Saturday 20th November: West Brom (away) kick-off: 3pm
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Date:Friday November 12 2010
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