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Liverpool fc vs Stoke City Watch live

The 23-year-old leads the home attack alongside summer signing Iago Aspas, who makes his competitive debut for the Reds on Saturday – as do fellow new recruits Simon Mignolet and Kolo Toure.

Vice-captain Daniel Agger is fit enough to partner Toure at the centre of the Liverpool defence after a brief spell on the sidelines.

The Reds team in full is: Mignolet, Enrique, Agger, Toure, Johnson, Gerrard, Lucas, Henderson, Aspas, Coutinho, Sturridge.

Substitutes: Jones, Wisdom, Allen, Alberto, Ibe, Sterling, Borini.
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It feels like a lifetime ago that Anfield was on it’s feet, waving goodbye to the 2012/13 season and with it, club legend Jamie Carragher, who hung up his boots on a 16-year career at Liverpool.

But things change and ahead of this Saturday’s Premier League opener against Stoke City at home, Brendan Rodgers will be prepping a few new additions to his squad for their competitive debuts in front of the Kop.

New arrivals

Belgian international Simon Mignolet has replaced Pepe Reina in Liverpool’s goal. Mignolet is 3/4to keep a clean sheet.

Experienced Ivorian defender Kolo Toure has arrived from Manchester City. Iago Aspas provides some creativity and gunpowder in attack, whilst 20-year-old Luis Alberto may have to be content to grow into Rodgers’ system for some time yet.

The opposition

There’s been change for the opposition too. Having parted company with manager Tony Pulis after seven years at the Britannia Stadium, Mark Hughes now leads Stoke into a new era.

The Potters managed to hold Liverpool to a frustrating goalies draw in this fixture last season in October 2012, before going on to finish 13th in the league table.

Opening day blues

Liverpool got last season, and Rodgers’ record at the club, off to the worst possible start. A series of defensive blunders allowed Steve Clarke’s West Brom to humiliate Liverpool 3-0 tag the Hawthorns. It wasn’t until the sixth game of the season that Rodgers found his first league victory with the club.

The Reds are good value at 15/2 to reverse that scoreline and beat Stoke 3-0.

Stoke meanwhile were held 1-1 at the Madjeski Stadium by Reading on the league’s opening day.

LONDON, ENGLAND - Sunday, May 12, 2013: Liverpool's hat-trick hero Daniel Sturridge with the match-ball after his three goals helped the Reds come from behind to beat Fulham 3-1 during the Premiership match at Craven Cottage. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Team news

It has been well documented that Liverpool will be without Luis Suarez for this and the following five domestic fixtures as he completes his 10-match ban for biting the arm of Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic back in April.

Apart from that, Rodgers has the luxury of just about a fully fit squad.

Daniel Sturridge, who spent most of the summer sidelined with an ankle injury picked up on international duty with England, should be fit to play after coming through last weekend’s pre-season friendly defeat to Celtic in Dublin. He also played in a ‘behind closed doors’ friendly against Newcastle at Melwood on Tuesday.

Sturridge to score and Liverpool win is a headline offer from William Hill at 6/4. If you’r feeling optimistic and fancy Sturridge to start where he left off last season, a hat-trick for the 23-year-old is a tempting 20/1.

Philippe Coutinho has lit up Liverpool’s pre-season campaign and will add some sparkle to Liverpool’s forward play this year. Coutinho to bag the first goal of the new Premier League season is 9/2.

Expect and attacking focussed starting line-up from Rodgers as he tries to build his squad further into the pressing football he desires. Such is Rodgers’ abundance in attacking quality, Spaniard Aspas could well play, but we’ve tipped Raheem Sterling to start ahead of him.

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