Long balls ahoy… Liverpool fans have their say on Stoke’s expected tactics

It’s a lazy stereotype that Stoke City are a long ball team. The Potters carved out their role in the Premier League by playing direct football under Tony Pulis and stayed up since the 2008/09 season by a mixture of being tough to break down at home and tricky to play against.

Since those days, however, the club have evolved, and in the Mark Hughes era they have become more ‘continental’ in their approach, signing technically adept players such as Bojan Krkic and Ibrahim Affelay – basically those who failed to make the grade at Barcelona – and opting for slick play, rather than big hoofs from back to front.

The results have been admirable, too, with Stoke never really a side associated with the relegation scrap, despite their relative lack of funds and, with all due respect, limited appeal.

However, their XI to visit Liverpool this evening looks to be one tailored to going back to basics, with Peter Crouch up top and Jonathan Walters and Mame Biram Diouf in behind on the flanks. Although we cannot confirm this is how they’ll play yet, it would seem that passes will be long and high towards the beanpole striker, who will be tasked with knocking the ball down to his team-mates.

Agricultural, but often effective, it seems Kopites are worried and annoyed by it judging by the reaction on Twitter…