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26th Dec, 2016 | 9:50am

John Barnes delivers verdict on tough Liverpool game v Stoke

By Matt Farr

Liverpool legend John Barnes believes the Reds’ fans will be demanding a win over Stoke in the Premier League clash on Boxing Day.

Jurgen Klopp’s side find themselves as arguably Chelsea’s biggest title rival this season, and are second behind the league leaders after 17 games.

Liverpool have lost just once in their last 10 games, and are the league’s most potent attacking outfit, scoring 41 goals.

However, the gap between them and Chelsea is already six points, and Barnes has urged his former club to make sure they maintain their grip on the title race by beating Stoke.

He told the Daily Express that the Liverpool supporters will be expecting a victory on Boxing Day, and that the players must rise to the occasion and get the victory.

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“Stoke are always a tough team, no matter when you play them in the season,” he said.

“They have a good structure and are tough to beat. But the Liverpool fans may expect us to beat Stoke.”

If Chelsea fail to beat Bournemouth, then the only way Liverpool can take full advantage is by beating Stoke. However, if Liverpool fail to win, the Reds risk slipping behind Manchester City who are a point behind them in third.

History is in Liverpool’s favour though, as the Reds remain unbeaten against Stoke at Anfield in the league since 1959; but the Potters are capable of trumping the big teams, and have done so on numerous occasions in recent seasons.

They are currently 11th in the Premier League, but have not won in their last three games.

In other Liverpool news, club legend Steven Gerrard has revealed which two players surprised him most.