With all their nearest title rivals winning yesterday the pressure is on Liverpool to deliver a victory of their own this evening when they play host to Stoke at Anfield. Yesterday’s results see Jurgen Klopp’s men currently lie in third place with a 9 point deficit to league leaders Chelsea.
They could even slip a position to 4th should Stoke win by two goals or more, if that was the case then they would have a lesser goal difference than Arsenal but obviously the aim tonight is to move back up the table and not concede further ground to Antonio Conte’s side at the top of the table.
Last Monday saw them come away from the Merseyside Derby with a dramatic late winner thanks to Daniel Sturridge. That game saw an incredible 8 (EIGHT) minutes of injury time and although it was a cruel way for Everton to lose the game you would have to say that it was a deserved win for the red half of Merseyside.
It was a game that was played at break neck speed and one that was certainly gritty at times. Jordan Henderson will be glad that the robust tackle that Ross Barkley dished out on him wasn’t one that caused serious injury and ruled out the club captain for some time. Thankfully for Liverpool and Henderson the former Sunderland man came away unscathed.
With Chelsea brushing past all in front of them at present all Liverpool can do is win to try and keep pace. Anymore dropped points and the hard task of closing the gap becomes more difficult, right now there is simply no margin for error and they will need to clear the hurdle of Stoke Tonight.
Mark Hughes’ side travel to Anfield on the back of a run of three games without a win, although the last two matches have been drawn. But last Saturday it would have felt somewhat like a loss when they threw away a 2-0 lead at home to Leicester with the champions coming back to snatch a well earned point.
What would have been more galling for Hughes is the fact that Stoke had a numerical advantage for so much of the game due to Jamie Vardy’s contentious sending off. Hughes will still probably be asking himself how his side didn’t win last Saturday.
That run without a win and the fact that the majority of the table played before them sees Stoke come into this game in 12th place but a win could take them as high as 8th place should they manage to come away with all three points this evening.
The last time these two sides met at Anfield was in last season’s League Cup Semi Final when Stoke were edged out by Liverpool on penalties, so the away side will undoubtedly be looking to get a form of revenge for being denied a trip to Wembley earlier in the year.
But I don’t think they will be getting that revenge this evening. The pressure may well be on Liverpool to win so that they keep pace with their title rivals but they will be well adept to deal with whatever Stoke throw at them. This game should bring some late Christmas cheer as Liverpool win in front of their own fans to move back up to 2nd place.