When Sunderland visited Anfield last season Gus Poyet created controversy by suggesting Liverpool would be languishing in mid-table without Luis Suarez.

As Poyet prepares to take on Liverpool he returned to that subject and claimed,”People were very upset with me last year when I said that. A few hate me. But I was not going against Liverpool and Steven Gerrard, who is one of the icons of English football, it’s just that I knew how good Luis is. He’s so good he makes a difference. It’s the same with Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo or Sergio Agüero.”

“I think it’s been a strange atmosphere at Anfield this year and we can make it a little stranger,” said Poyet. “Because what they did last year was so spectacular, so very special, expectations this season were a little bit out of proportion. Everyone was expecting them to be in the top two again and to be close to winning the Champions League but it’s not that easy. They are getting there but I think it’s going to be a slow process and not as quick as people think, especially when they keep changing players.”

Sunderland are targeting a return to winning ways after their four match unbeaten run came to an end at the hands of reigning champions Manchester City on Wednesday night as Manuel Pellegrini’s side came from behind to seal their first win at the Stadium of Light in five attempts. Prior to that defeat Gus Poyet’s side were enjoying an impressive run of form which saw them register a win over Crystal Palace before earning credible draws with Everton, Leicester City and unbeaten league-leaders Chelsea.

Despite Poyet pointing out that Sunderland have missed Fabio Borini and his goals, his board have ruled out the possibility of making a renewed bid for the Italian next month.

“I hope Fabio doesn’t play against us,” said Poyet, before urging travelling supporters not to jeer a player they feel let down by.

“If he does play I hope our fans will give him a terrific reception. We never wanted to say ‘goodbye’ to Fabio but he is not here any more and so it’s a good opportunity for us to say ‘thank you’ to him. I had a top-class relationship with Fabio and I’m looking forward to seeing him and having a nice chat.”

Sunderland’s last win over Liverpool came in March 2012 as Nicklas Bendtner’s 56thminute strike sealed three points at the Stadium of Light, with their last league win at Anfield coming in October 1983.