Brendan Rodgers is eyeing redemption at the Britannia Stadium as Liverpool return to the scene of their shocking 6-1 drubbing on the final day of last season.
Liverpool were taken apart by a rampant Stoke City in May as a campaign that promised much for the 2013-14 runners-up ended in embarrassment.
Much has changed at Anfield since then, with Steven Gerrard and Raheem Sterling leaving and the likes of Christian Benteke, Roberto Firmino and James Milner arriving.
Rodgers has also overhauled his backroom staff over the close-season, and the Northern Irishman believes his new-look team are ready for their trip to the Britannia after their mauling in May.
“We’ll certainly be better than we were last year that’s for sure,” Rodgers said on Friday.
“It was a one-off game in terms of the whole experience, it was incredible in every aspect. It’s something that was very surprising and very disappointing.
“We’ll look to return to the level we’ve had over a couple of season in organisation and fight. It will certainly be tougher [for Stoke] than it was last year.
“When the fixtures came out I felt we couldn’t have had a better fixture, for me it was the perfect away fixture.”
Rodgers’ counterpart Mark Hughes, meanwhile, expects Liverpool to be like a wounded animal when they arrive on Sunday, although the Welshman remains confident about Stoke’s chances.
“Liverpool have made a number of signings and strengthened up. They will come here feeling they are better equipped to deal with us,” he said.
“We feel we can be even stronger than we were last time. All being well we will give Liverpool the same problems they had in May.”
Stoke too have added attacking options to their ranks with the signings of Joselu and Ibrahim Affelay, while Glen Johnson could line up against his former club.
Hughes will be without skipper Ryan Shawcross, though, with the centre-back set to undergo surgery on his back.
Marc Wilson may have been in line to partner Philipp Wollscheid in Shawcross’ absence but he has been struck down with an ankle injury, so Marc Muniesa looks set to celebrate his new four-year contract – signed on Friday – with a start.
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