Premier League Stats: Stoke City v Liverpool
Stoke proved to be a stumbling block for Liverpool last time out but surely this time the title pretenders will brush the relegation candidates aside, won't they? Bettor Logic provide the pointers...
Liverpool are the last of the Big Four teams to come to the Britannia Stadium, Stoke showing mixed success against the division's elite so far, memorably beating Arsenal, but losing to both Chelsea and United.
League-leaders Liverpool travel to a promoted side for the first time this season, the Reds thriving in such circumstances in recent times, never beaten - and winning seven of their last nine encounters. Indeed, you have to go back to Man United's 2003/04 defeat at Wolves to find the last time a team on top of the league were beaten by promoted opposition on the road - the only such occasion in over ten years and 31 games (AW20-D9-L1).
Liverpool won 53% of all their games on the road over 2008, including seven of eleven against teams in the division's bottom-half (W7-D3-L1). Whilst this indicates Liverpool's strongest phase of away form under Benitez, it doesn't quite justify a price as short as [1.42].
There's no strong correct score pattern when league leaders visit promoted teams, other than a higher than average tendency for both teams to score (26/44). Not a reliable pattern, but five of the last seven away wins by league leaders over promoted teams have ended 2-1 or 3-1.
In their last nine games away to promoted opposition, Liverpool have scored two goals six times (three 2-1, two 2-0) and whilst Stoke City's three defeats against top-six opposition this term have all been by different score lines (0-1, 0-2 and 2-3), backing Liverpool 2-0 (7.0) and 2-1 (11) could be an interesting speculative position.
There's a very strong win/win pattern when Liverpool travel to promoted teams, all of their last seven victories coming in this manner. Though not as strong, this is supported by Liverpool's eight win/wins in their 13 victories to bottom-six sides in the past four seasons.
Stoke City fell to a late Draw/Loss against Man United on Boxing Day - as have four of the last six promoted teams to host the team leading the league at the time. Additionally, only 34% of these meetings in the Premier League era have ended win/win for the away team, so despite their strong record, the 2.02 for Liverpool/Liverpool looks unattractively short.
Stoke Clean Sheet
Two of Stoke's three clean sheets at the Britannia Stadium this season were against the poorest away attacks in the Premier League (Fulham and WBA, the other was Sunderland). What's more, Liverpool have scored in all of their last nine visits to promoted teams and failed to score just three times in 21 games away to bottom-six teams in the past four seasons, the last time back in May 2007 at Fulham when Benitez fielded a virtual reserve team. So even at 7.0, we cannot recommend the 'Yes', despite the Potters achieving that feat at Anfield in September.
Liverpool Clean Sheet
Liverpool are no Chelsea when it comes to clean sheets on the road, achieving it in only 7/21 games at bottom-six sides since 2005/06 - and just 4/9 away to promoted teams in the same period. Indeed, five of Liverpool's last seven games on the road have seen both teams score - as have almost 60% of games involving league leaders visits to promoted teams. All this makes 'No' the better value at even money.