Stoke vs Liverpool 16:10
Despite Oussama Assaidi’s opener, Stoke could not quite hold on for the win last week against Everton, as a late penalty saw the match end 1-1. The Potters will be without the Moroccan this weekend though, as his parent club Liverpool arrive at the Britannia to no doubt test the resilience of Mark Hughes’ side.
Assaidi has been in fine form for the Potters this season, jumping at the chance for regular first team football and the opportunity to impress Brendan Rodgers, albeit from afar. He’s only had eight shots on goal, but has scored three goals from the 62.5% of those eight shots which have hit the target.
Ryan Shawcross continues to be one of the most physically committed players in the league this season according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index. Only Cardiff’s Steven Caulker (31) can better his total of 29 blocks.
His central defensive partnership with Robert Huth has been vital for Stoke this term and will no doubt continue to be given the level of understanding between the two players. The German has distinguished himself in his own right as well though this season, pulling in some impressive defensive statistics. Huth has completed an excellent 83.3% of his 30 attempted tackles this term, the best rate in the Stoke squad.
Asmir Begovc remains one of the most sought after ‘keepers in the league so Stoke fans will be hoping that this window can pass without one of their prize assets departing. Begovic is enjoying another standout season so far though, completing an excellent 61 saves, as well as 11 clearances. The latter figure in particular shows the anticipation and defensive instincts the Bosnian possesses, a valued trait in the age of the modern ‘sweeper-keeper’.
Liverpool cruised to a comfortable 2-0 win last time out against Hull, with goals from Daniel Agger and Luis Suarez giving them all three points at Anfield. Brendan Rodgers hailed the team performance of his side after the game, with a team ethic being built around the work rate and instinctive brilliance of his mercurial Uruguayan striker.
The sterling form of Suarez shows no signs of abating as the season wears on. He’s still had the most on target attempts on goal of any player in the league according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index, with 43 to his name.
Despite a great start to his Anfield career, Phillippe Coutinho will likely be a little disappointed with some of his shooting statistics following his return from injury. The Brazilian has had the third highest number of off-targets attempts in the league, with 26. This represents a 39.5% shot accuracy rate for the gifted playmaker, something he will be looking to improve upon as he attempts to return to full form.
Martin Skrtel continues to demonstrate what an indispensable part of the Liverpool defence he has once again become with some excellent defensive work this season. He’s completed the second highest number of clearances in the league, with 187 to his name.
Simon Mignolet has been outstanding for the Reds following his arrival from Sunderland in the summer. Brendan Rodgers may be concerned however that he has completed the third highest number of saves in the league with 66 and the highest number of any ‘keeper from a team in the top 6.