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Premier League preview: Liverpool v Stoke City

Liverpool and Stoke head into their Premier League clash on Sunday with their tails up having finally recorded a win last round.

Both teams started the season in indifferent fashion with neither the Reds nor Stoke able to secure maximum points in any of their first five matches.

Liverpool could only manage two draws in that period while Stoke were slightly more impressive with four stalemates to their credit before last weekend.

But Brendan Rodgers’ men awoke from their slumber in emphatic fashion last start with a comprehensive 5-2 victory over Norwich at Carrow Road that was powered by a superb Luis Suarez hat-trick.

And Stoke finally broke their drought on the same day with a first-half Peter Crouch brace helping them to a 2-0 victory against Swansea at the Britannia Stadium.

Liveprool and Stoke will be hoping those impressive results will kick-start their respective campaigns as they still find themselves in 14th and 12th spot respectively on the Premier League table.

But Tony Pulis’ men will not only have 11 Liverpool players to contend with at Anfield on Sunday, but they will also have to overcome a significant historical record in their quest for victory.

In their 150-year history, Stoke have never beaten the Reds at Anfield in the top flight.

Given that statistic, it is little wonder why Rodgers is glad to be back playing at home this weekend and the Liverpool boss is hoping that his side’s change in fortunes continue against Stoke and into the foreseeable future.

“I love being at Anfield,” Rodgers told the Liverpool Daily Post.

“There is a real excitement every time we play here and we are given tremendous support.

“We went to West Brom and Norwich and the away ends are packed out, but there’s nothing like playing at home.

“We want to gain momentum and build up a winning streak.

“October was always going to be a great month in terms of not so much travel and giving us a real opportunity to play in front of our fans and show the development we have had as a team.”

But Stoke defender Geoff Cameron believes his side’s win over Swansea provided them with the perfect preparation for their date with Liverpool.

“I think there are similar styles between Swansea and Liverpool and I think we frustrated Swansea,” he told Sky Sports.

“We cannot expect Liverpool to be exactly the same as them, but there are definitely similarities.

“We have to go there with the frame of mind that we can beat them. Every team is beatable but it’s just a matter of how well we execute our game plan.

“Against Swansea we had some pretty good possession too – we controlled it at the back and had some good possession in midfield, so I think we can do that on Sunday.”

On the selection front, Joe Cole (hamstring) and Jose Enrique (knee) could be in line for a return to the Liverpool squad after overcoming injury problems.

Fri 5 October, 2012
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