Pulis Stoked for Liverpool test
Stoke manager Tony Pulis expects a stern test by Liverpool despite the Reds' loss against Udinese in the Europa League on Thursday night. The Potters travel to Anfield with former Reds Michael Owen, Peter Crouch and Charlie Adam in their squad, as they go in search of their second Premier League victory of the season. Stoke opened their winning account last weekend against Swansea while Liverpool, who have made a stuttering start to their campaign and are currently in 14th place, got their first win against Norwich. Pulis knows his team will face a much-changed side from the Liverpool outfit who lost 3-2 at home to Udinese this week, with Reds boss Brendan Rodgers likely to keep the faith with the side who crushed the Canaries 5-2 last Saturday. Pulis said: "I thought they were very unfortunate (against Udinese). "They were in complete control of the game and then they scored just after half time and it was a totally different game. "It gave Udinese a lift. The second goal was an unfortunate goal. They played well, Liverpool, and it will be a tough game. "Obviously they missed, or didn't start with, half a dozen players who will be playing against us. "Steven (Gerrard) didn't start, (Luis) Suarez didn't start. (Raheem) Sterling didn't start. I'm expecting a completely different side. Maybe three players who started will play against us." Despite ominous signs that Liverpool are returning to their best after a lacklustre beginning to the season, Pulis is refusing to focus on anything other than his preparation. "You can never call a game," the Potters boss said. "The players have trained really well during the week and then you play poorly on the Saturday and then you'll have another occasion where the lads won't train so well during the week and they'll get a result. "It's a funny old game so it will be the team who turns up and plays well and hopefully we will get a few breaks. Udinese got a few and ended up winning the game so we need a few breaks." Pulis, who was at Anfield for the Reds' European tie this week, expects the former Liverpool players in the Stoke squad to receive a warm welcome if they take to the pitch against their former club. "They will enjoy it, I'm sure they will enjoy it," Pulis said of Crouch, Owen and Adam. "Being there (to watch Liverpool play Udinese) and speaking to people on the door, they're all looking forward to seeing the boys back which is lovely. "But they're good boys, Crouchy, Michael Owen and I think Charlie was well-liked there too, so they're good lads going back and the supporters understand that." The Potters boss is one of the longest serving managers in the Premier League, and despite Liverpool's poor start to the season - their worst in a century - he believes Brendan Rodgers should be given time to settle in and make an impact. "It's a great football club with a fantastic tradition and Brendan is a very lucky guy to have a crack at that and take that club forward," Pulis said. "I think he understands that and recognises it. He needs backing which I'm sure they'll give him otherwise they wouldn't have appointed him. "The Premier League, having been in it - this is my fifth year - you have good runs and bad runs and as a manager you have to deal with it. Football is an emotional industry. It's not like any other industry. "It runs and thrives on emotion and players go up and down. They get very excited and they get very down in the dumps and you have to manage those situations and the players are the same. "Winning is brilliant. Anybody could manage a team that wins week-in, week-out. It's dealing with that disappointment and how to handle that disappointment when things are not going so well."
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