Once again Liverpool visit the cathedral of anti football that is Stoke City. If anyone symbolises the triumph of mediocrity over sublime talent then it is this bunch of cloggers who will do anything to disrupt the pattern of play and stop you passing the ball.
To be fair I might have to update my thinking after I have watched this game with Mark Hughes in charge – I never watch Stoke play unless they are playing Liverpool because doing so begins the process of losing the will to live and you die a little inside with every tackle from behind. Every shirt pull pours ugliness on the beautiful game.
I went to watch Stoke play once. I was fourteen and my friend down the road, well her dad was a Stoke supporter and my brother supports Chelsea so they offered to take us for a Saturday afternoon watching football. In those days watching football wasn’t the most pleasurable pastime you could enjoy yourself with.
As we were leaving the ground we were accosted by uncouth youths who offered my friend a fight – as you do, but went off seeking fun elsewhere when she said she didn’t think so – did they always pick on girls at Stoke? I don’t remember anything of the game or the score, but to this day that vision of Stoke City supporters desperately looking for a fight has always seemed to be intertwined with the way the football team plays and I despise watching them try to play the game.
Come on Hughes do us all a favour and breathe some sort of semblance of football into this bunch of football thugs.
For this game Liverpool have almost their strongest team available with Gerrard returning and Sturridge on the bench. I make absolutely no apologies for wanting Liverpool to win this game handsomely and so I’ve bet on Stoke at 6/1 - £10 returns £70 if this bunch of jokers manage to do us today. That will make the pain of losing a little easier to bear.