Liverpool host Stoke in their opening game of the season looking to put a turbulent off-season behind them as they seek to improve on last season’s seventh position. The Luis Suarez transfer saga has dominated the headlines over the summer but Liverpool fans will be buoyed by the return of captain Steven Gerrard from shoulder surgery. Moreover, they will also be keen to see if new acquisitions Luis Alberto, Simon Mignolet, Iago Aspas and Kolo Toure play a role.
Meanwhile, for Stoke, new manager Mark Hughes will want his reign to start with a convincing performance; Hughes’ appointment as manager was not popular among Stoke fans after Tony Pulis left the club two days after the end of last season. Stoke have offered their fans free coach travel to all away games this season and they will be hoping to see new signings Marc Muniesa and Erik Peters.
KICK-OFF: Tomorrow, 12.45pm
PAST THREE MEETINGS:
Stoke 3 (Walters 2, Jones) Liverpool 1 (Gerrard pen), Premier League, December 2012
Liverpool 0 Stoke 0, Premier League, October 2012
Liverpool 2 (Suarez, Downing) Stoke 1 (Crouch), FA Cup, March 2012
Liverpool won only nine of 19 home games last season.
Stoke only won two of their 19 away games last season and only managed 13 away goals all season, the second-lowest of any Premier League team.
Liverpool to win: 0.36
Stoke to win: 8.0
TV: Live on BT Sport at 12.45pm, highlights on BBC1 at 10.30pm.