Stoke vs Liverpool: Reverse Around Corner

by Luke McGee

Friday, November 12th, 2010

In football people turn corners. At least they do if you read, watch or listen to practically any punditry. It’s a metaphor that I’m not particularly fond of, as it fails to recognise that teams evolve and adapt over the course of a season, and along the way encounter a number of peaks and troths.

As much as I don’t like this metaphor, I’ve chosen to use and extend it for this particular blog post, as it seems particularly pertinent to the current state of both Liverpool and Stoke, two teams that will face one another this weekend.

Both of these teams have experienced some pretty dramatic changes over the past 3 seasons. One has fallen from the dizzying heights of top four football and a regular Champions League position to becoming something of a joke, whilst the other has worked it’s way up from the Championship to become a recognised force in the top flight.

The reason I’m taking an interest in this fixture, is that both sides seem the perfect test to work exactly where the other is at this moment in time.

Liverpool have built up some momentum recently and started to look vaguely like a football team, whilst Stoke have “turned a corner” of their own, playing great, competitive football only to be pinned back by some pretty dodgy refereeing decisions.

Currently only three points separate the sides, and a win for either will probably lead to some fairly heavy analysis. A loss for either team would represent a “reverse back around the corner” they’ve just turned (sigh… sorry)

It’s a game that both sides should feel they can win, and in doing so will prove a point to their detractors. Stoke are very good at intimidating the “big” teams who are down on their luck, but traditionally you would expect Stoke to lose. If Liverpool lose, it will reignite the media fire (I’ve gone metaphor crazy) that proclaims them to be a club in crisis.

Picking a winner is not an easy task, but going out on a limb I wouldn’t be entirely surprised to see Stoke finish this one on top.

Should Stoke find themselves leading it is essential that they don’t fall into the trap of trying to hold on, as they did Tuesday and in doing so nearly threw away three points.

Stoke are a physical side, yes, but they play their best football when combining this with flowing movement and go after a team, not when sitting back and trying to defend for dear life.

If they can get this balance right they will dominate Liverpool in the middle of the pitch and create chances in the box. Mark that cheating fool Stevie G out of the game and don’t give Torres any room up top, and I can’t see Liverpool having enough to break through Stoke’s barrier of giants at the back. 3 points to Stoke and a litter of crying Scousers. And there’s nothing better than seeing a Scouser cry, right?

Stoke vs Liverpool Saturday 19:45 ESPN

Let me know what you think on twitter @monkeyhotel

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  • Chunky

    Although a Liverpool fan I am of the belief that Stoke will quite easily win this game. The negative tactic of Hodgson is that he approaches away games to gain a draw and nothing more. He simply make all the team pack the defence in an attempt to save a draw. This invariably fails ( as shown by the dreadful debacle at Wigan) and he has no ideas of anything else.
    Expect a Stoke win undoubtedly…

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