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Stoke City v Liverpool: Match preview
Focus is put solely back onto the Premier League this weekend after both Liverpool and Stoke secured their place in the fourth round of the FA Cup.
Stoke got their first win in four games over Championship opposition Leicester City last Saturday whilst Liverpool saw off League One strugglers Oldham.
The reverse of this clash on the opening weekend of the season saw Liverpool walk out 1-0 winners at Anfield thanks to a first-half goal from Daniel Sturridge, a game which also saw Simon Mignolet save a penalty.
But Mark Hughes has seen his side pick up 19 points at the Britannia Stadium this season and will be hoping the visit of title chasing Liverpool will help Stoke to climb back into the top half of the table.
One of Stoke's biggest goal threats this season, Oussama Assaidi, is ineligible to play against his parent club, whilst Robert Huth and Stephen Ireland could push for a return after recovering from injury.
Jack Butland will remain in goal for the home side with Thomas Sorensen (achilles) and Asmir Begovic (broken finger) remaining on the side-lines alongside Andy Wilkinson (heel).
Brendan Rodgers' side will be without vice-captain Daniel Agger who has a calf strain but the visitors are boosted by the return of Mamadou Sakho in defence following recovery from a hamstring problem.
Liverpool also have Sturridge available, but Joe Allen, Jon Flanagan and Jose Enrique all miss out.
Stoke have won three and lost none of their five previous Premier League home meetings with Liverpool, winning the last three in a row.
Mark Hughes' side are unbeaten in their last seven home league games, winning three.
Liverpool have only won once in their last seven away games.
Luis Suarez has scored more league goals this season than Stoke.
Stoke have not won in three.
Stoke could be boosted by Huth's return alongside Shawcross and the central defensive partnership should be able to cover almost anything Liverpool can throw at them but Stoke's scoring problem wont be helped with Assaidi missing out. Suarez has been beyond prolific this season and you have to think he will run riot at Stoke.
I'm saying Stoke 2-1 Liverpool.
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