Mike Pejic: Cautious approach will serve Potters well at Anfield
T HE buzz word for me ahead of tomorrow's big Premier League game at Anfield is wavelength.
No, I'm not talking about radio frequencies, I'm on about the relationship between manager and players.
On the one hand you have Tony Pulis, a man clearly making his instructions clear and simple to his players – and getting what he wants as a result.
But at Liverpool, meanwhile, you have Brendan Rodgers struggling to get his ideas across to a new set of players after just taking the reins at Anfield.
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I just don't think the Liverpool lads are on the same wavelength as their boss and boy is that showing with their results.
They've lost two out of three league games at home – after only losing four at home all last season.
The Liverpool players are showing their frustration at times, then the other night we have Rodgers calling his players lazy after the Europa League defeat at home to Udinese.
He's trying to adopt the passing style that proved so successful at Swansea... and he has better players to do it with.
But when they lose possession they are not fighting hard enough to win the ball back. Compare that to how hard Barcelona work on the few occasions they lose it.
That leaves their centre-backs split, exposed and vulnerable to the counter-attack.
Joe Allen is their holding midfielder, but he's there more for his passing than his tackling.
He also tends to move himself from side-to-side, so he can leave a big hole that exposes those two centre-halves even more.
So if I was Stoke, I'd let Liverpool's full-backs come out with the ball to leave those central defenders potentially isolated.
Although I think Liverpool are vulnerable at the moment, Stoke must attack with caution.
By that, I mean they mustn't get too many of their own players in front of the ball when they do break on Liverpool.
I say that because if the move falls down, Liverpool have genuine pace on the break and will punish you.
I think it's also important Stoke defend the right line because they don't want a pacy and slippery character like Luis Suarez doing damage close to goal.
I know a lot is said about his diving, but let's not forget he is also a top striker. World class in my opinion.
I'm looking forward to seeing Raheem Sterling in the flesh because he looks an exciting prospect, one of the few around who can dribble in tight areas and switch his feet.
Stoke have better players to break forward on teams, we've seen that at Reading and Chelsea.
But they must break sensibly to make sure they give Liverpool nothing behind them.
Stay in the game until half-time and beyond, then see the pressure build on the Liverpool lads.
I'm delighted to see Ryan Shawcross back in the England squad at long last.
It's just a pity we can't find a long lost English grandparent for Robert Huth because he'd be in there as well if we could.
I think Shawcross has benefited from having to play with so many different right-backs alongside him in the back four.
That has forced him to think about his game to adapt to their different styles.
It's helped educate him as a defender and played its part in getting him into that England party.
Listen to Mike Pejic in action during Signal 1's live coverage of Liverpool v Stoke tomorrow afternoon.