Stoke City vs Liverpool, Spyin' Kop

Posted by DutchRed on September 6, 2011, 10:38:33 AM

Britannia Stadium, Stoke-on-Trent, Saturday 10 September, 3pm. Stoke City – Liverpool FC

The Britannia Stadium. Less than ten years ago this venue hosted a team fighting to stay in the Championship, but nowadays only the very words Stoke City away is scaring the hell out of any Premier League manager, player and supporter. Their manager Tony Pulis has built the club to incredible heights. Wembley, Europe: impossible is nothing for the Potters. They started this season very good, going unbeaten in the league and progressing in both the Carling Cup and the Europa League. Their squad is bolstered with the likes of Wilson Palacios, Cameron Jerome, former Liverpool man Peter Crouch, Matthew Upson and Jonathan Woodgate which has created a squad capable of giving any Premier League team a run for their money. However many people doubt the esthetic qualities of Stoke’s game, few can doubt its effectiveness.

Next visitors to Stoke-on-Trent will be Liverpool. Kenny Dalglish has been able to strengthen his squad significantly and was given a good return with 7 points in the first 3 games including a classy 2-0 win at Arsenal to break their Emirates duck and a convincing beating of Bolton at home last time out and they as well advanced in the Carling Cup. However, they haven’t won at Stoke since their return to the Premier League. However Dalglish remains without his skipper Steven Gerrard and on top of that is missing Adam and Kelly and Johnson, he will be hopeful to break yet another duck early on in the campaign.

For this Spyin’ Kop I went looking for Stokies and succeeded on www.oatcakefanzine.com and I was received well by most people and was provided with an incredible amount of answers. To include them all would have been a whole lot of work so I took a couple of answers from everybody. I’d like to thank them and their admins for helping me to create this piece of work. If you’re eager to find out all of their answers, check them out here: http://oatcakefanzine.proboards.com/index.cgi?board=Potters&action=display&thread=173584


1. What do you make from you start to the season?
Gifton Noel Edmunds: as a lad from stoke on trent i'm thrilled to see us in the premier and I think we've made a good solid start in a tricky opening set of fixtures. Especially considering the four european games. It's great getting to see your team play in a different country
Thebearpit: Couldn't have asked for much more really, through to the group stages of the Europa league comfortably, and doing well in the premiership with 5 points from 3 tough games. Although to be fair, West Brom is always a guaranteed 3 points.
David Brent: Very good considering the lack of players we had at the time.
Oasis: A brilliant Start to the season, unbeaten in the league and a 100% record in Europe. Couldn't ask for anymore.
Armitagestokie: Sound start, with 'new' faces could get much better.
Angry44: We've had a good start to the Premier League season, but if you include the season starting from when we entered Europa, we've had a fantastic season so far! We've won 4 games in Europa, won against West Brom last week, and two draws in difficult games, at home to Chelsea and away to Norwich. We have a pretty difficult start to the season, playing Chelsea, Liverpool and Man United as our first 3 home games, aswell as the Europe games in between.


2. How does it feel to be back in Europe after nearly forty years out of it?
Biddulphrumours: Great feeling, but concerned about number of games to play. We must stay in prem as priority.
Aussiebluey: Great! Being 21 I started supporting Stoke as a 10 year old when we were languishing in Division 2. I don't think I even contemplated being in the Premier League until five or six years ago when we were pushing for a playoff spot in the Championship. So to get to the promised land and not only enjoy our season of glory but continue on the magical road is unbelievable!
David Brent: Best experience of my life, especially going to Split in Croatia
Arniepieinthesky: At 27 I can't remember the glory days (70's), so it's all new to me. I think Europe is a little different now, since the induction of the Premier League this in itself as become an elite competition, unless your playing in the Champions League most clubs will see the Europa League as a distraction. Aslong as the league remains the priority then we'll enjoy it.
Armitagestokie: Love it! I remember the last time as well!!!


3. What do you make from your club's transfer dealings this summer?
Aussiebluey: Very excited to see Crouchy on the end of the free kicks, throw ins and corners. Palacios is what we've needed ever since we got promoted - a decent midfield player who break up the play but also pass it around.
StokieMatt: Looks like we are moving to the next level. Alot were worried that we wouldn't get all the players in we needed, but we have covered most bases.
Parttimelurker: Very astute, squad wise I'd put our defence up against anyones now. A lot is being made of the Crouch transfer fee by other team's supporters. A big part of that fee will be going to the player who will be earning a much smaller weekly wage here.
Oasis: Our transfers have brought good cover, experience and strength in depth which we need for Europe. I would have liked to seen a LB come in and a cover for the wings but happy overall. The signing of Palacios is what we have needed since we came up, Jerome adds pace to our attack and Crouch, although majorly overpriced, has opened peoples eyes to Stoke city and signals that we are here to compete, not make up the numbers.
Luke45: A fantastic window, possibly the best in the clubs history. We desperately need to add more depth to the squad with the added fixtures in Europe, and the players we have brought in and the money we have spent really highlights the strides this club has made over the last few years.

4. Could your boss Tony Pulis be any more popular at the Brittania?
Gifton Noel Edmunds: ome of the locals never really warmed to pulis. Some because he often justified battling tactics by pointing to the fact that we come from a traditionally working class area. Some people found this a little patronising. Personally, despite how stubborn he can be, I love the guy, he's made my proud to be a born and bred stoke fan
Thebearpit: Pulis still has his haters at the club, although they generally have the IQ of a brick wall. Anybody that doesn't love him obviously doesn't appreciate what he's done for the club and how far we've come under him, so with the majority, he couldn't be much more popular.
Deliasmith: Oh yes. But managers are rarely wholly popular. I am so old I can remember Waddington, and he was not at all liked by plenty of Stoke fans. I studied in Glasgow, and watched Celtic from the mid sixties to the early seventies, when they were consistently the best team in the UK, and sometimes in Europe, and there were plenty of Celtic fans highly critical of Jock Stein. I would bet there were Liverpool fans who knocked Shankly.
Stokiejoeofalsager: we love our tone. there are however still a few people who want him out ( as there is with every club) but we tend to ignore them. so yes... he could be more popular. (its Britannia ;))
Arniepieinthesky: The man can frustrate the life out of you, generally becomes he's right in the long run

5. You reached the FA Cup Final for the first time in you history. How do you look back on that campaign and the day of the final?
Biddulphrumours: Great feeling but final passed our players bye really. Its a pity semi's are played at Wembley as that day made the final an odd atmosphere somehow.
StokieMatt1992: One of the best days out i've ever had, saw no troubles whilst I was there either. Man City fans were decent, had a bit of banter with them but like I said, nothing heated. Great achievement, and with the squad we have now I think we would have given a better showing of ourselves.
David Brent: A wonderful day out, shame about the result. Beating Bolton 5-0 was a amazing achievement one which I was proud of
Oasis: The F.A cup brought excitement to the whole city and was a brilliant experience. Our performance in the final was quite poor and the better team win on the day. It was very tense for the fans a we were constantly on the back foot which killed the atmosphere.
Luke45: It was a memorable campaign, and despite finishing lower in the league than the previous season due to that frustrating defeat against Wigan on the final day, it was plain to see that we had progressed as a club again. Unfortunately injuries at the wrong time and a lack of depth cost us in the final, but we still made history in getting there. For many Stoke fans, it was the greatest day of our lives, and the proudest moment as a stokie.
Angry44: Going to Wembley for the first time in my life was absolutely amazing, there is nothing like it, the day we beat Bolton 5-0 was the best day of my life, it may not seem that much to a team like Liverpool, getting to the Semi-finals, but consider 5 years ago we were languishing in the Championship, and we were usually knocked out of the cups by some minnow. The final day was also amazing, it's a shame that we just didn't perform, with injuries to two main players, who were on the pitch (Huth and Etherington) and Higginbotham and Fuller out aswell, our injuries and tiredness came to a climax in this game. Still, an amazing day just to be at an FA cup final with my team, and I will never forget it.


6. And is there a realistic chance of another cupset in one of the three cups you're involved in?
Vestan Pance: I think TP will write the League Cup off as a competition for our younger players to play in. The FA Cup remains high on his priorities so if we get good draws who knows? As for the EuropaLeague, history dictates that if an English side take it seriously (Fulham, Middlesboro) they can do well. Here's hoping.
StokieMatt1992: All depends on the draw for me, spurs at home in the carling cup, if they field a weak team and we give it a bit of a go, I don't see why we shouldn't go through. Then we just need the luck of the draw.
Stokiejoeofalsager: definitely. i think we will do well in europe because our style is relatively unheard of in europe. they think all of our tackles are fouls when they are not and also dont know how to deal with our throws of course
Armitagestokie: Depends on draw

7. Are there any youth players who are worth keeping an eye on?
Biddulphrumours: Don't be nosey. we have a couple that could develop though
Thebearpit: The obvious one is Cuvelier who we got from Portsmouth and is tipped for massive things, and it'd be nice to see him getting a bit of game time this season with the amount of games we'll be playing. Rossi is doing well in the youth team, but the best person to ask about the youths is Penkhull Stokie.
Aussiebluey: Ryan Shotton. Already scored two this season from defence and I must add that neither were headers!
Stokiejoeofalsager: diego arismendi, ben marshall, louis moult, ryan shotton
Arniepieinthesky: Shotton, very athletic and strong, local lad...I really hope he plays a part for us this year. Naturally a Centre Half, however, he's been used as a striker and at times as a winger due to injuries, looked comfortable wherever he's been asked to play to be fair.


8. How does it come that you are a really tough then when playing at home, but still a bit of a roll over side when on the road?
Gifton  Noel Edmunds: it's probably down to the local home support. So passionate for their club. The club belongs to them you see, the people of stoke on trent. The players love the support from them and the manager feels he can play a more attacking system when in our home town. I think you'll see us improve away from home this season though.
StokieMatt1992: Liverpool were the same last season I may add, as are most of the teams in the prem. It's just more so at stoke, we are much more defensive away from home and tend to sit back far too much for most people's liking. At home we give it much more of a go.
Parttimelurker: I think this is where Pulis gets the balance wrong, he tends to play a more defensive game away from home, he needs to attack teams more - hopefully we will!
Luke45: I suppose you'd have to question the tactics on occasions, but encouragingly we've looked alot better on the road so far this season, and we are still unbeaten on our travels. I think the hostile atmosphere we generate at the Britannia makes a difference too, not many teams in the league view a draw at the Britannia as a bad result.
Malvernstokie: Have you seen the roads in this country?? Shocking.
Angry44: I don't go to that many away games, I've been to a bout 6 or 7 in the last 3 years, the latest one being West Brom last sunday, and do you know what, that was the first away win I've seen in the Premier League, the previous one being Coventry in 2008. I think it is a combination between the atmosphere at the Brit, confidence and tactics. We seem to lose the confidence away from home, and Pulis sets up a more defensive stance away from home. Hopefully with out new signings we can nick a few more points away from home this season.


9. Do you think it's a shame that the derby between your club and neighbours Port Vale isn't played anymore?
Gifton Noel Edmunds: I miss the derby a huge amount. Nothing like getting one over on your work mates. A local derby is a great occassion. I pity the poor bastards but deep down I guess I respect them, especially if they were born in the north of the city near vale park. They did what was right to be honest. It's not their fault their team is shit
StokieMatt1992: No, I'm glad we are in a position where we never have to play them. It would be the same as for you and Everton - the ultimate humiliation for a rival is to become so much better than them that you never have to play them again, so that being said wouldn't you love everton to be relegated a few times.
Parttimelurker: Nope, they are where they should be, our Director of Football dragged them out from the sewers for a while at exactly the same time as we were at our lowest ebb as a club so our paths crossed briefly. It's like you missing playing Tranmere!
Arniepieinthesky: I always hope we will draw them out in the FA Cup!
Malvernstokie: It’s very funny


10. When other teams' supporters(particularly Arsenal's) are criticising you because of your supposed ugly football, do you really give a damn about that?
Vestan Pance: We'd be lying if we said we didn't care. Most of the things that are said are based on our first season, where we readily admit we did what we had to stay alive. We are a tough, uncompromising, hard working team but there's more to us than Arsene Wenger or the Arsenal fans are prepared to concede. But if truth be told, whatever people say about us galvanises not only the players, but the supporters too. There's no great mystery to why we have such a great atmosphere at home...it's a siege mentality and we feed off it.
Aussiebluey: Its quite amusing, its only ever mentioned when we've beaten their team or a decision has gone our way for once. The classic "I don't know how they watch that every week" always comes out - even when we've beaten teams by 2 or 3!
David Brent: No. Most Arsenal fans clearly do not know what they are talking about. Scum bags.
Deliasmith: I know we're supposed to say "No, couldn't care less", but I DO mind myself. I mind because the critics get so much attention, and because I know that very few of them have ever seen a Stoke game, except on TV, where you have to be very strong-minded to ignore the comments from the "summarisers", who are to a man slaves of the obvious phrase and conventional wisdom. And I particularly hate Arsenal because their fans take their beat from a fundamentally dishonest manager.
Stokiejoeofalsager: no one gives a shit.

11. Who'll be your best players this season?
Vestan Pance: John Woodgate, Robert Huth & Ryan Shawcross have started well. Our two wingers are always massively important and we have high hopes for Crouch and Palacios. We have no superstars like you lads with Gerrard & Suarez. We'll do what we do as a team, a unit. It's the only way we know.
David Brent: Hopefully all of our new signings have a good start and Etherington and pennant are always threats and huth and shawcross are solid at the back, could be anyone of those mentioned.
Luke45: If we can keep Wilson Palacios fit, I think he could the key player for us this season. He's the central midfielder we've been missing for quite some time now.
StokieMatt: Pennant and Huth
MalvernStokie: Luis Suarez (He's transferring to Stoke in January)


12. And your worst?
Thebearpit: Some would say Cameron Jerome, but those same people didn't want Walters last year and look at him now. It'll probably be Salif Diao, but I doubt he'll see much action this season (At least I hope not).
Parttimelurker: I think it’s time we put Salif out to pasture.
Deliasmith: Rory, I am sorry to say. Worst player, best human being.
Oasis: No one hopefully! I don't think Jon Walters can repeat last years performances.
Stokiejoeofalsager: sidibe
StokieMatt: nobody, anyone who comes off bench will do a job for us.
Angry44: I don't like criticising our players, but sometimes they are so bad I have to (Danny Pugh). I honestly don't think there will be any stand out bad players in our team this season, many people don't like Kenwyne Jones, but who can argue when he's scoring goals.


13. Don't you think you're having a lot of strikers right now with Crouch, Fuller, Sidibe, Jones and Jerome?
Vestan Pance: Yes, but there are 4 cup competitions. We defend from the front at Stoke so they will all have plenty of running to do. They'll all be tired come May
Aussiebluey: Well Fuller is injured until the new year and Mama (Sidibe) is about the same time frame and probably won't get too much game time even when he is fit. We are in 4 competitions this season though ;) p.s. you missed super Johnny Walters from the list
Arniepieintheky: Sidibe's day are up now I think, Fuller...well he's a Stoke legend and I hope he can regain full fitness, on his day he's a class act and the best footballer I have personally seen in a Stoke shirt, but the reality is, injuries may have taken their toll, we'll see. So other than that we have 4 fit strikers.
StokieMatt: Only had 2 fit strikers at start of season Jones and Walters, so with Crouch and Jerome it gives us options, also Jerome was brought for wing cover.
MalvernStokie: You call Sidibe a striker?!

14. Then Liverpool. What do you make of the revolution at Anfield and our transfer dealings this summer?
Thebearpit: Think you've brought in some very good players this season, although it wasn't hard with the amount of money you've spent. Downing is class and the Carroll/Suarez frontline will be one of the best in the prem.
Parttimelurker: You've got rid of a lot of crap - can that include the post Rafa Torres even though it was in Jan.
Stokiejoeofalsager: i think 20 million for henderson was ridiculous. i really dont rate him and to be frank i hate him. however i do think liverpool will be tougher to beat than last season.
Luke45: You've bought well this summer, and Dalglish will be expected to deliver a successful season with the money that has been spent. Jordan Henderson has started well for you, but his transfer fee was still very inflated I think. Andy Carroll's fitness must be a concern for you too having spent 35 million on him. Top 4 finish for Liverpool this season, which I'm sure all your fans would take.
StokieMatt: Gone about it right way, just paid over the odds.
Angry44: My big bold statement of the summer - Charlie Adam is overrated, and he'll be crap at Liverpool. Wrong. I actually really like Liverpool's side so far this season, they have so much energy about them, and look like they've already gelled. There are two that aren't so good in my opinion, firstly henderson, for £20m I think is a complete rip-off. Also even though it wasn't this summer, Carroll, he seems to be a player that much suits a more physical and direct team. Both are still fairly new and have plenty of time to prove themselves though.

15. And how do you feel on Kenny Dalglish, our boss?
Aussiebluey: I've always liked him, he's obviosuly got a huge passion for the game and its good to see him back managing at the top again.
Deliasmith: I am surprised Kenny's done so well. But just watch what happens when he gets a few bad reviews - he finished up at war with the Scottish press a few years ago.
Armitagestokie: As it used to be at Liverpool, promotion from within!!
Angry44: What can I say really? Got you out of the shit last year, and made some shrewd signings, a cracking manager.

16. If there was one Liverpool player you could choose to disappear in our line-up and you couldn't say Suarez(because that's becoming a bit boring now) who would it be?
Biddulphrumours: Your goalie (cannot spell his name)
StokieMatt1992: Agger, I think he's your better central defender, without him it would make it a lot easier to get something from the game.
parttimelurker: Lucas, shame Hodgson isn't still isn't in charge cos he was going to let him leave. Was strongly rumoured that Pulis was after him.
Armitagestokie: Bellamy, cos we wanted him!!


17. Where will both teams be in the table come May?
Gifton Noel Edmunds: I think liverpool will finish third with chelsea fourth, maybe the other way round. I think we'll finish ninth
Oasis: Liverpool will be top 4 comfortably, 3rd or 4th, probably the latter and Stoke, between 8th and 11th. For me it depends on how far we go in cup competitions (mainly Europe)
Luke45: Liverpool 4th,  Stoke City 7th
StokieMatt: Both top half pushing for top 10, maybe you bit higher

18. And finally, what will be the score?
Vestan Pance: You can walk on with hope in your heart, but not against us. Stoke to win 2-1. All the best.
David Brent: 1-1. Crouch and Adam.
Deliasmith: 0-1, not sure to whom
MalvernStokie: 1-0

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