Sports Betting Weekly

Stoke City v Liverpool

When: Sunday, 24 May 2015 @ 21:00 (FINISHED)
Where: The Britannia Stadium
Sunday will see Liverpool talisman Steven Gerrard playing his last game for Liverpool before heading over to the MLS with LA Galaxy, as the club he’s given almost three decades’ worth of service to seeks to nail down fifth position and qualification for the Europa League with a victory at Stoke City.

Gerrard received a tremendous show of support before, during and after his final match at Anfield against Crystal Palace last week – however, he will be keen to make amends for his side’s performance as they lost 3-1 having gone a goal up, effectively ending hopes of a top four spot.

It has been a disappointing season all round for both Liverpool and Gerrard, as the Reds’ form this year has proved just how vital Luis Suarez was to their side before he left to join Barcelona for £75 million in the summer.

Despite spending heavily on the likes of Mario Balotelli, Adam Lallana, Dejan Lovren and Rickie Lambert, none of those players have managed to fill the void left by the Uruguayan and, as such, Liverpool never really looked like breaking into the top four.

It is perhaps fitting in a sense for Gerrard that this Liverpool side has performed below expectations, as the former England international was always portrayed to be significantly better than his teammates. Even this season, Gerrard is Liverpool’s top scorer in all competitions with 12, despite not playing as frequently as he has in years gone by. How Liverpool cope with losing another key player – perhaps someone more important to them even than Suarez was – remains to be seen.

Stoke, however, do not have such issues and Mark Hughes has led the club to ninth position – the Potters’ joint-highest finish in the Premier League – for the second year running. It is a place in the table that they will hold on to regardless of the outcome this Sunday, with the team four points clear of 10th-placed Everton and five behind Swansea City in eighth.

The style of play has been much easier on the eye since Hughes took over from Tony Pulis too, with the Welshman keen to salvage his reputation as a manager following a disastrous spell at Queens Park Rangers – something which he’s now definitely achieved. As for this match, the bookies are opting for a Liverpool victory at 6/5, with a Stoke win available at 13/5 and the draw on at 13/5.

Former Liverpool man Peter Crouch will be Stoke’s main point of attack – and the giant striker is 8/1 to score first or 11/4 to score anytime. As for Liverpool, the focus will be on Gerrard and, like Crouch, he is also at 8/1 to break the deadlock and 11/4 to find the net during the match.