Liverpool vs Sunderland Preview: Reds must pounce on Black Cats
Liverpool will hope to return to winning ways this weekend as they host Sunderland at Anfield on Saturday, the side in second taking on the side second bottom.
On a bitter November’s day at Anfield there shouldn’t be a beachball in sight, something that the Reds can use to their advantage in a bid to return to the Premier League’s summit.
Match: Liverpool vs Sunderland
Date: Saturday 26th November
Time: 15:00 BST
Referee: Anthony Taylor
Liverpool will feel unfortunate not to come into the game off the back of a win after being dominant at Southampton last Saturday, only to come away with a 0-0 draw. That the Reds’ second consecutive 0-0 draw coming off an international break, the last one coming against Manchester United in October.
However, in-between the United and Saints fixturs, Jürgen Klopp’s Reds picked up four wins in a row, three of those in the league. West Brom, Crystal Palace, Tottenham Hotspur and Watford were all swept aside, with the goals flowing freely. All of this means that the Reds haven’t been beaten in over three months, an impressive feat indeed.
The draw against Southampton saw Klopp’s side give up top spot to Chelsea, but with the Blues kicking off later on Saturday, a Liverpool win would put them back on top for a couple of hours at least.
Led by David Moyes, Sunderland are enjoying something of a revival after an absolutely terrible start to the Premier League season.
Winless in 10, taking just two points during that period, the knives were sharpening for Moyes before his Black Cats managed something of a smash-and-grab 2-1 victory away at Bournemouth. They followed that up with a much more convincing display at home to Hull City last weekend, a 3-0 win securing back-to-back victories.
They’re now off the bottom and into 19th, but they can’t rise above that position even with an unlikely three points this weekend.
Liverpool’s last six: DWWWWD
Adam Lallana’s groin problem doesn’t look like it’s going to heal quickly enough to get him back into the starting lineup, leaving Klopp with the choice of whether to stick with the same side, or bring Daniel Sturridge back into the fold.
Sturridge impressed in the limited time he was given at Southampton, so the temptation will be there to bring him in for either Can or Wijnaldum, potentially dropping Coutinho back into midfield. Still, given he has no new injury worries, Klopp is likely to stick with the side that were admittedly unlucky not to take three points from the South Coast.
Sunderland have got injury problems of their own after Paddy McNair was ruled out for the season with damaged knee ligaments. Papy Djilibodji is out too at the back due to a suspension, meaning Lamine Kone may line up alongside John O’Shea, given that Jason Denayer is likely to be deployed in midfield.
Liverpool predicted XI (4-3-3): Karius; Clyne, Lovren, Matip, Milner; Henderson, Can, Wijnaldum; Mane, Firmino, Coutinho.
Sunderland predicted XI (4-4-2): Pickford; Jones, Kone, O’Shea, Van Aanholt; Ndong, Denayer, Watmore, Love; Defoe, Anichebe.
WHEN THEY LAST MET
These two met at Anfield in March amidst the backdrop of a staged walkout protest at FSG’s new ticket prices, one that was ultimately successful. The walkout seemed to have a real effect on the home players, who had gone 2-0 up through Roberto Firmino and Adam Lallana. However, as the fans poured out, Adam Johnson and Jermain Defoe struck to give the relegation threatened visitors a vital point, further narrowing Liverpool’s Champions League hopes.
- Sunderland haven’t won at Anfield since the First Division became the Premier League, but have drawn more than they’ve lost.
- After Leicester’s defeat to West Brom, Liverpool have the longest unbeaten home run in the league.
- Jürgen Klopp hasn’t named an unchanged lineup yet in the league this season.
- Ex Everton striker Victor Anichebe has three goals in his last two appearances for Sunderland.
- James Milner has scored more Premier League goals against Sunderland (5) than any other team.
PREDICTION: Liverpool 4-1 Sunderland
I backed a draw last weekend, albeit 1-1, and turned out correct, so you’ll be comforted to read that I predict a return to winning ways this season. Liverpool have run West Brom, Hull City, Leicester and Watford ragged at home this season, and I don’t think it’ll be any different on Saturday despite Sunderland’s upturn in form. They’ll likely get a goal due to employing two strikers, but I’d expect to see all three of Mane, Firmino and Coutinho on the scoresheet.