Liverpool will be looking to make it three league wins in a row when they welcome Sunderland to Anfield on Saturday afternoon.
After a terrible run of games that saw them drop into the bottom half of the league, the Reds have picked up six points in successive games against Stoke City and Leicester City since last weekend and now find themselves in eighth place. Win on Saturday and they could move above Swansea City, and two points off the top four.
Sunderland suffered an emphatic defeat at the hands of Manchester City during the week and are only two points above the relegation zone. If they can get the victory over Liverpool however, they could move up to 12th place in the league table, if other results go their way of course.
The result then could be greatly beneficial for both sides and this should hopefully lead to a great game on Saturday afternoon.
Jose Enrique and Philippe Coutinho could both make their returns to the Liverpool squad this week after recovering from their respective injuries. Mamadou Sakho is also back in training but it remains to be seen whether he will be fit enough to play any part in this fixture. It is still too early for Mario Balotelli in terms of when he will be fit, while Daniel Sturridge, Jon Flanagan and Suso remain the only long term injuries.
Adam Johnson could return to action for Sunderland this weekend after recovering from a hip injury. Billy Jones and Emanuele Giaccherini will not be able to play for another week at least, while Gus Poyet is unable to confirm when Patrick van Aanholt will be fit to play again. Sebastian Coates will be ineligible to play as he is on loan at Sunderland from Liverpool.
- Luis Suarez has scored seven of the last 11 goals Liverpool have managed against Sunderland, while Daniel Sturridge has scored two.
- Liverpool scored 20 league goals in December last year. Suarez scored 10 of them.
- Steven Gerrard has scored 13 goals in the league in 2014, more than any other English player.
- Sunderland have not managed to win on any of their last 15 visits to Anfield in the league.
- The Black Cats have only won three of their last nine league games against Liverpool.
- Lee Catermole has been booked five times in his last six league matches.
Henderson has had a quite a rise in terms of the respect the Liverpool faithful have for him since his first season at the club. His performances have improved dramatically, he has become one of Rodgers’ most reliable players as well as a fan favourite, and has been rightly awarded the role of vice-captain of the club this season. The midfielder has played in all but one of Liverpool’s 14 league games this season and while has had his faults, he has still been one of the best players in the team. In his advanced midfield role, he has created 23 chances for his team mates and according to Squawka.com, three of these have resulted in assists. He has even scored two goals of his own. He has completed 593 passes, giving him a pass accuracy of 84%. Henderson has won 51% of his overall duels, with headed duels the only specific one he does not have a winning percentage in. He still has an affection for his old club but Sunderland will face a difficult challenge in midfield against Henderson.
Sunderland have not played particularly well this season but that has not stopped Larsson from putting in some good performances. Having played in all of his club’s league games so far this season, Larsson has a performance score of 321 on Squawka.com – the highest score in the Sunderland team. From his position in midfield, he has been able to create 28 chances for his team mates, two of which have resulted in assists. The midfielder has completed 433 passes in the league, giving him a pass accuracy of 84%. His overall duel victory percentage is only 44% although this is brought down by his limited success in headed duels and fouls suffered. Sunderland may find it hard against Liverpool but if any of their players can exploit the Reds defensive frailties, then you would think Larsson is the one to do it.
Liverpool have had it tough for most of the season so far but they seem to be coming into some good form just in time to face a club they have an already excellent record against. Sunderland will be desperate for a win however and it will be interesting to see if they can exploit Liverpool’s defensive problems. That being said, I think it will be a victory for the home side and finish 1-0 to Liverpool.