Odds: Sunderland 9/2, Draw 29/10, Liverpool 7/10
Last season 1-1.
Sunderland are currently rooted to the bottom of the Premier League with just one point and have Kevin Ball in Caretaker charge, though all the signs point to this being his only Premier League game in charge with Gus Poyet expected to be appointed manager. Isn’t all doom and gloom for Sunderland as they did manage to get past Peterborough in the League Cup in midweek. On the injury front, former Liverpool man Andrea Dossena could be in line for a debut as he recovers from a thigh injury if Ball wishes to select him. Steven Fletcher will miss out after dislocating his shoulder against West Bromwich Albion last weekend whilst no timescale has been given on the injuries to Wes Brown and Phil Bardsley.
Liverpool have suffered their first two defeats of the season in the past week, having lost at home to Southampton in the league and Manchester United in the League Cup, but have collected ten points from five games and will be determined to get back to winning ways. Luis Suarez has been welcomed back into the side after a lengthy ban, whilst Simon Mignolet returns to his old club for the first time since making the switch to Anfield. On the injury front, Daniel Agger remains a doubt, whilst Philippe Coutinho, Glen Johnson and Aly Cissokho are all due back next month.
So with all that going on around the fixture, here are five players to look out for on Sunday afternoon.
Having got 90 minutes under his belt this week, a lot of eyes will be on the Uruguayan to see if he can contribute to getting Liverpool back to winning ways on a ground where he has scored twice in the past three seasons.
Left-back has been a bit of a problem position for Sunderland, and there is a chance that Dossena could line up against his old club. If he is selected by Kevin Ball, can he make that position his own and bring a bit of stability to the position?
He seems to be a very creative player who can spot a run or a pass, so it wouldn’t be surprising if a lot of Sunderland’s flare play comes from Ki. If he has a good game, Sunderland have a chance of getting a positive result.
He was a bit out of favour with Paulo Di Canio but was given the nod by Kevin Ball in the week and one thing he will bring to the midfield is a bit of bit and aggression, and if he gets in a few faces, Liverpool will have a battle on their hands to control the game.
He is now on four yellow cards this season already, but it’s doubtful that he will change his style of play for anyone. Away from home, he could be a key man, especially against the likes of Ki and Cattermole in order for Liverpool to win a midfield battle.
Last time they met
Liverpool 3-0 Sunderland – Premier League January 2013
It was a relatively comfortable evening for Liverpool as they brushed Martin O’Neill’s Sunderland aside where Luis Suarez was the star of the show. Firstly by sending Raheem Sterling away for him to lob over the onrushing Simon Mignolet to give Liverpool the lead. The lead was doubled when Suarez took advantage of referee Phil Dowd allowing the game to flow before latching onto a 50 yard Steven Gerrard pass after half-time to round off the scoring.
image: © Ben Sutherland