Stoke City: Tony Pulis urging fans to help shout down Liverpool at the Britannia
TONY Pulis has called on fans to blow away their Christmas cobwebs by backing Stoke's bid to upset another of football's grand reputations when Liverpool visit the Britannia Stadium this evening (7.45pm).
Pulis insists a fixture against Liverpool remains one of the toughest tests in the Premier League calendar.
But he says Stoke can extend their unbeaten run to nine games with the support of a noisy Brit.
"I hope our fans have had a bellyful of turkey," said the Stoke boss, "and now we need them to come and work it off.
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"People go on about how many years it's been since Liverpool won the title, but you look at what they have spent and the players they are assembling, and then tell me they aren't a team on the up.
"Our lads have done superbly lately, particularly defensively, and they know they will have to be at 100 per cent to get anything out of Liverpool.
"The same goes for our fans, because without the noise they make we would never be in the position we are."
Stoke went into Christmas with more points than ever before at this stage of a Premier League season, while their eight-match unbeaten run is their longest since promotion in 2008.
Pulis says this is proof that the club and his team are improving year-on-year, but at a gradual pace that must not be increased too quickly.
He said: "I think our fans understand that because they have certainly been with us every step of the way."
Pulis will consider making several changes this evening with the likes of Dean Whitehead and Peter Crouch pushing for starts in midfield and attack respectively.
There is also an outside chance Pulis could slip Michael Owen on to the bench against his old club after fitness problems prevented him travelling to Anfield for October's goalless draw.
Big match preview: Page 38