Wednesday, 19:45 GMT
Stadium of Light, Sunderland
Sunderland host Liverpool FC hoping to end a 4-game losing run, while the Merseyside outfit will be hoping to capitalise on their first win in four games against Leicester City.
Liverpool FC have had a roller coaster ride, so far, under new manager Jurgen Klopp. The journey so far under the German has seen the Reds hold Spurs to a draw at White Hart Lane, and beat the likes of Manchester City, Chelsea FC at their respective stadiums, while also beating leaders Leicester City at home. However, they have lost crucial points, losing to the likes of Newcastle United, Watford and drawing against West Brom.
The win against Leicester last match day represents an opportunity for the Merseyside outfit to set the tone for the new year by recording back to back wins once again.
Sunderland on the other hand will be hoping to revive their Premier League campaign, having not won in four games, losing on each occasion.
Team News & Tactics
Former Liverpool FC striker Fabio Borini has stated his desire to score against his former side, with the Italian expected to be preferred to former England international Jermaine Defoe, who has reportedly fallen out with manager Sam Allardyce.
Allardyce will look to make it difficult for Liverpool, by playing a 4-2-3-1 spearheaded by Borini, who will be supported by Toivonen, Johnson and Watmore.
The midfield is expected to consist of M’Villa and Gomez in the absence of former City and Everton midfielder Jack Rodwell, who is suspended. Jones, O’Shea, Coates and Aanholt will be tasked to protect goalkeeper Pantilimon.
Predicted Sunderland XI (4-2-3-1): Pantilimon; Jones, O’Shea, Coates, Aanholt; M’Villa, Gomez; Toivonen, Johnson, Watmore; Borini
Liverpool FC Team News & Tactics
The Reds’ wretched luck with their frontmen refuses to fade away, with Divock Origi becoming the latest one to join the injury list consisting three of the four forwards at Anfield.
The Belgian has a damaged hamstring and the result of his scans are yet to come, which would make it difficult to put a timeline on his comeback.
Jurgen Klopp is expected to go with the 32.5m GBP signing Christian Benteke up front, with the Belgian coming off the bench against Leicester and scoring a wonderfully taken goal to help Liverpool beat Leicester 1-0.
Klopp is expected to continue to play the 4-4-2 he deployed for the first time in the last game, with Benteke teaming up with Firmino up front and Phillipe Coutinho and Adam Lallana on the wings. Emre Can and Jordan Henderson will man the midfield, that will be hoping to provide some cover to Mamadou Sakho and Dejan Lovren in the central defence.
Nathaniel Clyne and Alberto Moreno are, as always, expected to feature in the fullback positions with Simon Mignolet in the goal.
Jordon Ibe is back in contention for a place in the match day squad, having missed the Leicester City tie due to a bout of illness.
Predicted Liverpool FC XI (4-4-2): Mignolet; Moreno, Lovren, Sakho, Clyne; Lallana, Coutinho, Henderson, Can; Firmino, Benteke
- Liverpool are undefeated in their last 6 matches against Sunderland in all competitions.
- Sunderland are on a 4-game losing streak, while Liverpool have won just once in their last five games.
- Sunderland have been losing at both half time and full time in their last 3 matches in the Premier League.
- Sunderland have conceded 37 goals in the league, three more than any other team.
Man to watch:
Having had The acrimony of being used as a substitute to Roberto Firmino and Divock Origi off late, Benteke took the chance with both hands when he was bought on against Leicester. The Belgian will be fired up in order to cement his place in the starting XI and the fact that Sunderland have conceded the most goal in the league with 37 going past their leaky defence, should mean that Benteke will be fancying his chances.
Sunderland 1-3 Liverpool FC
Liverpool might have just too much quality for the struggling Sunderland side, especially given the fact that they have recently endured a not so great a run before the morale boosting win over leaders Leicester. Sunderland’s defence simply won’t be good enough to cope with the attacking threat posed by the Merseysiders.
Blast from the past
We all remember the infamous beach ball game. The following highlights are sure to get Liverpool fans to remember how they pulled their hair in frustration following this tie.
Thoughts go out to the Liverpool fan, a small kid, who threw the ball on the pitch and was reduced to tears following this loss.