Brendan Rodgers has no fresh injury worries ahead of Liverpool’s Boxing Day clash with Stoke, where the Reds will look to get their first Premier League win at the Britannia Stadium. Apart from Fabio Borini and Martin Kelly, who remain injured, Rodgers has a fully fit squad to choose from going into Wednesday’s game.
Joe Allen and Raheem Sterling will hope to be recalled to the starting XI after being rested for Saturday’s 4-0 over Fulham, while Stewart Downing will be optimistic about his chances of retaining his place in the side after a superb performance at the weekend. Downing scored one goal against the Cottagers, setting up another and the former Aston Villa midfielder is hoping his performance will help him convince Brendan Rodgers to keep him at Anfield. However after taking 45 appearances to score his first league goal for Liverpool, Reds fans will expect to see more from the 28-year-old if he is to remain at the club.
Two former Liverpool strikers may line up for Stoke on Wednesday, with Michael Owen close to full fitness after a hamstring problem and Peter Crouch hoping to start after coming off the bench for the Potters in their last three matches. Crouch is Stoke’s top scorer this season, with four league goals in 17 appearances.
Stoke drew 0-0 with Liverpool when they visited Anfield in October and the Potters are unbeaten in their last eight games – their best ever run in the Premier League. This is Liverpool’s fifth Premier League visit to the Britannia and the Reds have lost two of their previous visits, drawing the other two. However Liverpool did win at Stoke in the Carling Cup last season, beating the Potters 2-1 last October. Both Liverpool and Stoke are on 25 points going into Wednesday’s fixture, with Liverpool having a superior goal difference.
The Reds are four points behind Chelsea in the league, having played two games more. A victory at the Britannia will keep Liverpool in eighth place, while defeat could see them drop down to 11th. After achieving his biggest win of the season on Saturday, Rodgers will hope to lead the Reds to another positive result on Boxing Day.
LFC Starting line-up: Reina; Johnson, Skrtel, Agger, Enrique; Lucas, Gerrard, Shelvey; Suso, Downing, Suarez.
Subs: Jones, Carragher, Coates, Henderson, Allen, Cole, Sterling.