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Saturday, 17 August 2013 00:00

Liverpool v Stoke preview: Brendan Rodgers hoping for positive start

Reds boss keen to avoid potential banana skin on opening day of Premier League seasom
by Alex Ballard

Football: Liverpool will be hoping to avoid another embarassment at the hands of Stoke City when the two sides contest the first fixture of the new Premier League season at Anfield on Saturday lunchtime.

Though Brendan Rodgers’s Reds suffered several low ebbs last term, their 3-1 Boxing Day reverse at the Britannia was particularly galling given the manner of their collapse after going a goal ahead.

Earlier in the season at Anfield the Potters frustrated their hosts and earned a point from a 0-0 draw, a result that new City chief Mark Hughes would likely settle for a year on.

Hughes has promised the Stoke fans that he will deliver a more exciting brand of football this season, but anyone who saw Liverpool’s pre-season loss to Celtic last Saturday would advise the Welshman that, for this encounter at least, a robust approach could well yield dividends against Rodgers’s brittle Reds.

The hosts head into the match looking for a positive start to a season that could well define Rodgers’s reign at Anfield, particularly if significant progress is not forthcoming.

The Northern Irishman has had the benefit of one transitional season already and, while the suspended Luis Suarez will doubtless be missed, the Reds chief will have nowhere to hide if his side produce another gutless display against the Potters.

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