Writer: Gavin John Day
Date:Monday December 24 2012
What scoreline has former Reds defender Mark Lawrenson plumped for in the latest edition of his prediction feature?...
Ex-Liverpool centre-back turned media pundit Mark Lawrenson has given his thoughts ahead of his old side's trip to the Britannia Stadium on Boxing Day.
Writing in his regular 'Lawro Predicts' column for the BBC, the 55-year-old expects Stoke's strong defensive record to earn them at least a point.
Here's what he had to say in full...
"Stoke have conceded so few goals and are so difficult to play at home. They are difficult to penetrate as they proved in a 0-0 draw at Tottenham at the weekend.
"They work extremely hard on it in training and manager Tony Pulis actually takes charge of nearly all the coaching.
"They have only lost three games this season and none at home in the league.
"Sometimes you might have to leave a flair player out for more of a workhorse when you play Stoke because you have to work as hard, if not harder, than them and if you don't you can come undone.
"At the moment, Stoke only need to score one goal and they win games.
"From Liverpool's point of view, you are looking at centre-backs Martin Skrtel and Daniel Agger and thinking they are going to have a really difficult afternoon.
"Liverpool have won three out of the last four but it is very difficult for me to think they will win at the Britannia Stadium, although I can see a draw.
"Liverpool need to get the ball and control the game which Stoke make really difficult for you.
"Manager Brendan Rodgers left Joe Allen and Raheem Sterling out for the win over Fulham and that was probably the best Liverpool have played all season so they have got a bit of competition for places going."
Lawro's prediction: 1-1
Vital Liverpool's prediction: 1-2
The pundit has also had his say on whether on not Chelsea forward Daniel Sturridge will be a success if, as expected, Liverpool secure the 23-year-old's signature in January.
"We will see. There are a few things about this. If you are Chelsea and you thought he would become a big player then why would you let him go? Also, I'm going to be interested to see where he would fit in for Liverpool. If you want to play him through the middle, which is where he wants to play, then what do you do with Luis Suarez? I wouldn't want to take anything away from Suarez and what he gives Liverpool because he has been outstanding for them this season through the middle."
About this former LFC player
Mark Lawrenson joined Liverpool from Brighton & Hove Albion for a then club record £900k in the summer of 1981. The Republic of Ireland international centre-back soon struck up a formidable partnership with Alan Hansen after injury to club stalwart Phil Thompson. After 332 appearances, Lawrenson left the club in 1989 and after a season playing in the American Soccer League went on to manage Oxford United and Peterborough United. During his time at Anfield 'Lawro' won 5 league titles, 3 League Cups, a European Cup and an FA Cup.
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Date:Monday December 24 2012
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