Stoke, some tactics and a bit of Meireles

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We are going to play stoke city away on next Saturday. I would say it is our most difficult fixture, if you take away Chelsea and two Manchester away games. To make it tougher it is after an international break. Let us analyze the situation, talk a bit tactics, then can discuss about an unexpected, unfortunate transfer.

We know what is waiting us in Stoke, they have not changed much in their style of play, why should they, given the success they had with it, given the budget they are in. I agree they are not playing the sexiest football in the planet but it is mighty effective, Long balls from goalkeeper, a tight- suffocating midfield, attacking through wings with pace, good crosses, big physical players, good set pieces, long Delap troughs into the box, they will give a run for their money for any side.

We tried a formation when we played them home in the last season with three center backs with Kyriakos playing as a sweeper, now we have Coates, who knows what a sweeper is all about. (He played the role of a sweeper many times when he played for Uruguayan side National). I feel Kenny would love to play him as a sweeper in this match along with Carragher and Agger in at center back. This is important because stoke is playing a direct, physical, typical English long ball game with wingers in advance positions, we can’t let them make a pandemonium in our box.

I hope Kenny will play both of our workhorses, Kuyt and Suarez. That helps to tighten up the midfield. If Adam is injured, I feelHendersoncan do a job there with Lucas in his own holding role. Therefore, the formation should be like 5-4-1 with Downing and Kuyt in wings.

The Team












Now we can have a look at Raul Meireles transfer,  we signed him from Porto last year, and gave him a contract of 60000 Stg per week, and there were an unofficial offer for a better contract if he performs well. He performed well, he became one of the standout performers in last years campaign, but in between everything changed. New owners came in, and then came new players, and we can no longer guarantee him first team football, Management might have decided against to give a better offer for a part player (which is what he is in this season). It was unfortunate for poor Meireles. We cannot blame him for his wish for a better contract. Nobody can be blamed, not the player or the management. It just happened, I have respect for him for what has done for us, and the way he spoke of us after he left. Thank you for being a glimpse of light, when we were in darkness last season. Wish you all the best there.


  1. Stoke is a hard game for anyone but I don’t agree it is the fourth most difficult as you mention. Keep in mind that Stoke have bought in more players than us in an attempt to add quality to a side which was renowned for its tough tackling and set pieces. It is a game which I expect the Reds to win, no emphatically perhaps, but these are games the Reds must win if they are to aspire to a top four finish.
    The team you present is a wee too defensive in my view. I do not think Kenny will ‘risk’ Coates in this one, and I also think Kenny will go for his favoured 4-4-2.
    With regards to Meireles the equation is quite simple: Kenny’s format may have forced the midfielder to spend more time on the bench and also it might not have been the ideal paying module for him. He left, we got £12 million. We move on.

    1. Stoke is an average side when we see the league table,But at home they are a tough nut to crack. they are trying to improve when they travel. and feels Coates got enough time now, and almost certain that he will play on Saturday

  2. I wouldn’t consider Stoke the 4th most difficult team for us to face (this season). While they’re clearly struggling, Arsenal will put up a fight, although they might not put up as much of a fight as Stoke. Sunderland will be up there this season I think, Newcastle may still be a tough team to face, Spurs (especially at the Lane) are always a tough team, Aston Villa will put up a fight this season and then you have Everton. Everton always put the extra effort in a Merseyside derby and they may have to fight extra hard this season to stay up.

    Stoke may be the top 6-7 but I don’t consider them the top 4. I put Tottenham and Everton before them at least.

    1. Stoke is an average side when we see the league table,But at home they are a tough nut to crack. if you have any doubt check the home record of Stoke last season.

      1. I did not say I doubt their home form. What I did say was I disagree with your statement about them being the 4th toughest team to face (or the 4th hardest game). I already said who I think are higher than them. I believe Everton and Tottenham to be above them, especially at Goodison and White Hart Lane.

        Why did you just copy+paste the first part of that message?

        1. We never won in Stoke(in recent times), there are other places where we never won, but put up a good show, but it is not the case with Stoke, we were poor against them. So i am a bit afraid of that team.

  3. Couldn’t agree more Tonio! These games we should be winning if we aspire to finishing in the top 10.

    I would rate spurs away and Everton away harder than this fixture to be honest.

    So forget the pesimissim and believe YNWA

    1. With this team with Kenny as manager Liverpool will reach at least in fourth spot. It is not optimism it is common sense

  4. The Britannia is a hard place to visit but 4th hardest in the league? I think Arsenal, Tottenham, Everton et al will have something to say about that. I also believe Meireles was on £30000 odd a week. He might not have been irreplaceable but i feel that we will be short of creativity in the middle of the park due to the sale of both him and Aquaman (especially if we get a few injuries). I’m a bit mystified as to why Kenny doesn’t rate either of them. Aquaman was head and shoulders above everyone else in pre-season. Having said that, the performances so far have been good so obviously KK knows what he is doing.

    1. I said hardest place for LFC, because we used to struggle against quality physical sides, and i am certain that Meireles was not on a 30000 per week. And for Italian he was not quick enough for EPL i felt.

      1. The details on what exactly he was on is irrelevant as it does appear there was an agreement place which was not met for all the reasons in the article and Raul will speak soon enough about it. No hard feelings nuff said. Aquilani DID NOT WANT TO STAY! He was physically light, similar to smicer so coming up against teams like stoke he would be lost. Kenny also does not appear to have room in the type of game he wants to play, why do people continually try to force him in! Stoke play a particular type of football, different to arsenal and different to say Mick mccarthy’s wolves, so why do people insist aquilani had to stay if he did not suit the managers tactical plan!! What if we got Ronaldo? We would have to change our team around considerably to get the best out of him, otherwise it would be a waste of time keeping same principle applies to aquilani. He has gone to a team in a less physical league where his role will be to fill in for pirlo where he quite possibly will play out of his skin and Milan could win the title, god help us all if that happens cos the aquaman brigade will be back twice as loud next year. Hopefully Milan will be more forthcoming with cash if this happens. They tend to like their classy players so I feel it will be sorted out pretty quickly towards the end of the season if his performing. Thank you, mini rant over…..

        1. Agree every bit of it. I think the experiences like Aquilani and Babel might have made Kenny think he should sign more British players.

        2. If u re judging players by their physicallity,strength and rugedity then there are some players that should n’t play in the EPL e.g(SILVA,MODRIC,VAN DAR VAAT,ROSICKY,VAHMEHLEN,AURELIO and even Raul Meireless)…but all these players are useful in one way or the other….honestly,,can u tell me the creative man we ve in the midfield except steven gee???

  5. Bit too negative for me, we should maybe go 4231 with Lucas and Charlie (if fit) sat back and I would like to see Coates start, but we should hope to win games like this without being too defensive. Good read and agree with you on Meireles, spend a little more time proofing though.

    1. I don’t know from where you got that info, but tell you one thing LFC won’t offer a 28000 for an international player.

      1. He is right,,raul is paid 28k perweek and he was promised an improved offer based on performance and thats what FSG cud not do simply because they were not the one who made the promise…

  6. and we shud go with andy in this one.. Hes the only physical reply we hav to thr tough tackling defenders.. And he has got a point to prove.. I’ll go with 4411.. Reina skrtel carra agger jose
    downin lucas(dm) hendo bellamy
    andy.. Yea we need bellamy as hes aggressive.. And we need experience upfront with pace..

    1. I am not sure about Andy there,His movement is not good enough,and more than that if we can pass the ball well stoke will struggle for sure, so i think we think pace up front.

      1. hes an england international.. Above it hes a lfc player.. Bought by kenny.. He can pass the ball dude….!! If he hits in this one he will do wonders for rest of the season…. And yea free flowing football is the ans.. Lyk barca.. They can do nothing except collecting yellow cards if they dont get the ball..

  7. I think Stoke away is a good yard stick seeing that we have n’t won there since they came into the league the 2 draws against them in 08/09 you could say cost us the league! Good win there gives United and City something to think about.

    1. Stoke is a place where we never played well, sometimes we loose our games, but in stoke we where never convincing, so i have a fear in my mind about that team.

  8. Coates has played a handful of times for the Uruguay national team, and in none of them was he used as a sweeper. Furthermore, Stoke are a park-the-bus-and-exploit-long-balls squad. Why would you play three centre-backs is beyond me. Also, whilst Carroll’s heading skills may be rendered useless by Shawcross and Huth, his ball distribution has been proved to be useful (e.g. against Exeter and ManCity), and I would not leave him out of the squad.

    I would much rather we played Spearing or Bellamy instead of giving Coates a first start against one of the most demanding teams of the PL for defenders. He may be a great player, but he is still only 20, and he has never played a Premier League game in his life. Let him have his first start against the Wigans, Swanseas and Blackburns of the league, and once he’s got that weight off his back, start throwing him into the starting eleven more often.

    Personally, I would go with:

    RB: Flanno
    CBs: Carra & Agger
    LB: Enrique
    DMs: Adam(Spearing)/Lucas
    W: Henderson/Downing
    ST: Suárez/Carroll


    1. Granted I misread what you said about Coates playing as a sweeper, my statement stands. I have watched a few Nacional games in which he played, and they always played with either a flat 4-4-2, or a 4-2-3-1 formation.


    1. completely agree.. We can evn make tactics of making thm earn a red card..!! By frustrating them with flowing footy.. At this level manager shud use such shrewd tactics..

  9. A must win game,if we to finish higher in table,agree wit every comment,stoke are tough side to be precise,but we are stronger than they are lets be all d way.ynwa

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