The Reds welcome The Cloggers to Anfield on Saturday for a rare 3pm Saturday kick off and if you were desperate for a victory against a mid-table premier league team then you would want to play against anyone but this anti thesis of a football team.
Maybe I’m being harsh on Mark Hughes but it’s difficult to erase the memory of dreadful Stoke teams past who came to kick people up in the air rather than play football and the stamp by Robert Huth a couple of seasons ago is still vivid in the mind.
Ever since that game in 2012 I’ve sworn off ever watching Stoke try to play football again but it has to be said that in its current guise the constant sideways and backwards passing in an attempt to go forward from this Liverpool team is just as excruciatingly painful to watch.
Whilst the problems on the pitch are well documented the mistakes being made by the manager are also becoming more and more concerning. How you deal with pressure is one of the cornerstones of being a top manager and Rodgers is showing signs of being a bit flaky at the edges at the moment on that front.
Those calling for his head though should do well to take into account that he is still only 41 and that is very young for a manager at any level of the game except my kids Sunday league (where the level of enthusiasm is completely embarrassing) and he will come through a much stronger manager for this chastening experience.
Making the tough decisions is what it is all about though and there is no doubt that Steven Gerrard looked far more threatening in his advanced role against Ludogorets than playing quarterback with no wide receivers or for that matter any receivers at all in his previous outings this season.
Mignolet should really be dropped and given a wakeup call spell on the bench but is his deputy really up to the task of replacing him? Jones is without question a backup keeper for any team in the Premier League and no Liverpool fan would have complete faith in him being a regular starter.
Glen Johnson has to be replaced with Moreno on Saturday and Toure certainly deserves to keep his place for the out of form Lovren.
The highlight from the Ludogorets game was how good Lucas played. He’s had a good few weeks now since being declared fit to play and we all know it takes a while to get back up to speed but his performance was the best in a red shirt on Wednesday.
As for the rest – Sterling proved he has a lot to learn in the finishing department as well as Henderson who blazed a six yarder over the bar not knowing he was offside at the time. Where the goals are going to come from if they keep conceding at this rate is going to be the recurring theme.
Rickie Lambert is exactly the type of big muscular striker you would want to take the game to Stoke on Saturday so let’s hope Rodgers uses Sterling, Gerrard and Henderson to feed him the ammunition he needs to score for the third game in a row.
Stoke are 22/5 to win this game and at that price I’m all for betting on them to win.