The last time the two sides met in FA Cup action was January 1988, the Reds beat the Potters in the third round and later reached the Final - only to suffer a surprise defeat to The Crazy Gang of Wimbledon. Memorably, that was the match that saw John Aldridge miss a penalty, with Dave Beasant becoming the first keeper to save one in a Final.
Missed penalties, along with woodwork hit, have been the story of Liverpool’s season. Dirk Kuyt’s against Arsenal being the sixth we’ve missed this season.
This is the fourth time the two sides have met this season, with one draw, one win and one defeat each. That victory for Liverpool came on their road to the Carling Cup Final and they’ll be hoping they can do the same in this competition, with their Premier League form suffering of late.
When the two sides met most recently, at Anfield in the League, Dalglish somewhat controversially opted for wing-backs and kept all five defenders on the pitch despite Stoke’s lone forward and lack of attacking impetus. Liverpool lacked creativity and since that match have won just two League games - at lowly Wolves, and this week at home to Everton.
But it was Captain Fantastic Steven Gerrard’s hat-trick against our neighbours that has reignited Liverpool’s season.
With hope of qualifying for the Champions League all but extinguished, adding the FA Cup to the trophy cabinet this season will surely mean the 2011/12 campaign is remembered as a successful one. And the journey to achieving this continues with Stoke this Sunday.
In this issue, we bring you all the usual pre-match build up, a fans’ diary of their trip to Wembley for the Carling Cup Final in February, a look at Dirk Kuyt’s current
position in the squad, a Carragher vs Coates debate, Liverpool’s Bargain Buys XI, a look at Liverpool’s storming win over Everton on Tuesday and we hear from former Liverpool and Stoke defender Dominic Matteo.
Let’s get going!