Jürgen Klopp leads his Liverpool side into their third fixture in seven days on Monday, as Liverpool visit Sunderland looking to keep up the pace with Chelsea at the top of the Premier League table.
Match: Sunderland vs Liverpool
Venue: Stadium of Light
Date: Monday 2nd January
Time: 15:00 BST
Liverpool’s good form continued with a superb defensive display, winning 1-0 against Manchester City on New Years Eve. That result left the Reds in second position in the Premier League table, meaning they sit comfortably in a Champions League spot heading into the New Year.
Before the City game, Liverpool had impressively won three on the bounce, beating Middlesbrough, Everton and Stoke City in successive games. Two of those, Middlesbrough and Everton, were away from home, giving the Reds confidence that they can claim three points against a Sunderland side battling relegation.
Sunderland’s form coming into this one isn’t actually too bad, with the Black Cats having won four of their previous nine Premier League games, having failed to win any of their first 10 under David Moyes, following Sam Allardyce’s departure in the summer.
Three of those wins came at home, against Hull City, Leicester City and Watford, meaning that they themselves may be confident of picking up at least a point. Still, they’ve struggled against the big teams this season, losing to Arsenal, Tottenham, Chelsea, City, United and Liverpool already.
Adding to that, the Black Cats were thumped on New Years Eve, losing 4-1 at Burnley.
With Jordan Henderson hobbling off the only fresh injury picked up against Manchester City, it’s all about rotation for Liverpool, with Klopp having previously criticised being forced to play two games in less than 48 hours.
With this in mind, Alberto Moreno can be confident of a start ahead of James Milner, whilst the likes of Ben Woodburn, Ovie Ejaria and Trent Alexander Arnold might get picked for their first Premier League starts. Daniel Sturridge is likely to play having again been on the bench against Manchester City, whilst Divock Origi may well play on the left. Philippe Coutinho is back in training, however isn’t expected to feature.
Sunderland will be without Jordan Pickford after the talented young ‘keeper picked up a ligament injury last week, meaning Vito Mannone will start in goal. Moyes too will look to rotate, although to what extent isn’t clear. Wahbi Khazri has struggled for minutes of late but could pick up a start, as could ex-Manchester United player Donald Love.
Liverpool Predicted XI: Mignolet, Clyne, Lovren, Klavan, Moreno, Can, Wijnaldum, Lallana, Mane, Sturridge, Origi.
Sunderland Predicted XI: Mannone, Manquillo, Kone, Djilobodji, Van Aanholt, Ndong, Rodwell, Pienaar, Borini, Anichebe, Defoe.
WHEN THEY LAST MET
You should easily remember the last time the two teams played, as it was just over a month ago on November 26, the game where Coutinho picked up the ankle injury that has kept him out up to this point. It was a frustrating day at Anfield for Liverpool until the final period, where Divock Origi’s curling finish kick-started his run of five goals in as many games, coming before James Milner’s stoppage time penalty sealed a 2-0 win.
In terms of the last game between the two at the Stadium of Light, that came around this time last year, Liverpool again coming out on top, 1-0 winners thanks to Christian Benteke’s goal.
- Liverpool’s last two visits to the SOL have ended in 1-0 victories for the Reds.
- Sunderland have had four different league goalscorers this season, Liverpool have had 12.
- Liverpool have scored 29 more goals than Sunderland in the league this season, yet have only conceded 14 less.
PREDICTION: Sunderland 1-1 Liverpool
I know it’s a negative prediction, but I just feel that – given the expected rotation – Sunderland might just be able to blunt Liverpool’s attack enough to get a point, probably nicking a goal themselves through Defoe in order to pick up a point. Sadio Mane to score for the Reds before jetting off to AFCON.