Sunderland welcome Liverpool to the Stadium of Light this weekend looking to provide another stiff challenge to one of last season’s top four. Liverpool have been on a decent run of late but have failed to capitalise on key chances during matches, resulting in points dropped but the aim will most certainly be an away victory here.
The Black Cats have only won once in their last 10 games in the league which came against their arch rivals Newcastle in a 1-0 win at St. James Park. The 90th min winner from Adam Johnson secured only their third win of the season with 11 of their 20 matches thus far ending in a draw. With only three victories to their name, they still sit in 14th place, three points off the bottom three which they will want to stay well away from after memories of the miraculous escape last season. Their last match in the league resulted in a narrow defeat to champions Man City after coming back from 2-0 to draw level, only to be thwarted by Frank Lampard who sealed the win. Sunderland did however win in their last outing with a 1-0 victory against Leeds in the FA Cup.
Liverpool have funnily enough lost more games (7) than Sunderland (6) this season but have gone on a run of one defeat within their last ten games in all competitions. Now seven points off the top four, the Reds will want to push and make the most of some winnable fixtures that are on the horizon, starting with this weekend. Their last league result was a disappointing 2-2 draw against Leicester which is definitely two points dropped after taking a 2-0 lead early on in the contest. Chelsea await in the semi-finals of the Capital One cup and victory against Wimbledon on Monday night gave them a tie against Bolton at home in the next round of the FA Cup. Much to be optimistic about at Anfield but good results have to continue in order to bring their season back around.
Jack Rodwell suffered a hamstring injury against Leeds in the FA Cup last weekend and is ruled out for this weekend’s clash. Lee Cattermole is a doubt with a groin injury and is also one yellow card away from suspension. Anthony Reveillere is also doubtful after a calf strain suffered against Newcastle a few weeks ago. Vito Mannone missed the FA Cup match last weekend due to illness and Ricky Alvarez was taken off due to a similar issue but both could be available again.
Although Daniel Sturridge will miss yet another Premier League clash, his rehabilitation is going well and is scheduled to be back in the squad within the next few weeks. Liverpool will be more concerned of the injury suffered to Adam Lallana who was starting to find some form in a Red’s shirt but a thigh injury has ruled him out to up to a month. Javi Manquillo hobbled out of the FA Cup win against Wimbledon and could miss out but Martin Skrtel returns after a one match suspension. Brad Jones, Joe Allen, John Flanagan and Glen Johnson are unavailable and Kolo Toure is on international duty with the Ivory Coast at the African Cup of Nations.
Sunderland: Pantilimon – Vergini, O’Shea, Brown, Jones – Bridcutt, Larsson, Gomez – Wickham, Fletcher, Johnson
Liverpool: Mignolet – Can, Sakho, Skrtel – Moreno, Gerrard, Lucas, Henderson – Markovic, Sterling, Coutinho
- The Black Cats have won just one of their last 10 Premier League games against Liverpool (W1 D4 L5).
- Costel Pantilimon has the best saves to shots ratio of any Premier League goalkeeper this season (78%).
- Nine of the last 11 goals Liverpool have scored against the Black Cats were netted by either Luis Suarez or Daniel Sturridge.
- Sunderland have picked up more yellow cards (52) than any other team in the top flight.
- Liverpool have won five of their last eight Premier League visits to the Stadium of Light (W5 D1 L2).
- The reverse fixture between the two sides last month ended as a 0-0 draw.
Recent Head to Heads
2014/2015 Sat 06 Dec Liverpool 0 – 0 Sunderland
2013/2014 Wed 26 Mar Liverpool 2 – 1 Sunderland
2013/2014 Sun 29 Sep Sunderland 1 – 3 Liverpool
2012/2013 Wed 02 Jan Liverpool 3 – 0 Sunderland
2012/2013 Sat 15 Sep Sunderland 1 – 1 Liverpool
2011/2012 Sat 10 Mar Sunderland 1 – 0 Liverpool
2011/2012 Sat 13 Aug Liverpool 1 – 1 Sunderland
Sunderland – Adam Johnson
Over the past number of matches Adam Johnson seems to have found himself back in form as he tries to help Sunderland stay away from the relegation places. The English winger has scored three goals in his last four games and has scored four goals altogether in the Premier League, including the last gasp winner in the derby against Newcastle. On his day Johnson has shown that he can be a handful for defenders and cause a lot of trouble with 67% of his 42 attempted dribbles being successful which is something that he will look to do against a very vulnerable Liverpool defence. He also offers creativity and flair to help the other forwards score goals as he has created 20 chances this season.
Liverpool: Steven Gerrard
After the news broke out that That Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard would be leaving the club after his contract ran out at the end of the season, which has left many Liverpool fans heartbroken, he yet again showed in the FA cup against Wimbledon, where he scored two goals to help send Liverpool into the next round, why he is considered amongst the very greatest to have ever played for Liverpool. Even at 34 years of age he has proven that he is still a massive influence at the club as he is their top scorer in the Premier League with five goals, including two in his last game against Leicester. Gerrard is known as an all rounded midfielder with many qualities, but one of his standout abilities is his vision and range of accurate passes with 86% of his 1021 attempted passes being accurate.
Liverpool have been very unpredictable this season with good performances like against Arsenal not reaping full rewards in tandem with displays against Burnley which would not normally result in three points. Sunderland have been the draw specialists this season and part of me says a draw is in the offing but I’ll go with an away win for this one.
My Prediction – Sunderland 1-2 Liverpool