While matters concerning a certain beach ball dominated the headlines last season when Liverpool and Sunderland met, the start of this seasons meetings yields a very different picture.
With protests planned at Anfield this afternoon in an effort to step up the process to remove owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett from the fold, the future of the club grabs more headlines than the team sheet does for once. The eleven that faced Northampton midweek in the Carling Cup Catastrophe find themselves with no starting position in todays side as Roy Hodgson rings the changes in search of 3pts to push Liverpool up the table from the 16th position they languish in at present, albeit after just only five games being played. Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard has issued a rallying call to the troops in recent days and a resurgence to the level of the effort made by Liverpool’s fans, the Spirit of Shankly and similar organisations is required.
Liverpool find themselves with only Dirk Kuyt (shoulder) and Fabio Aurelio on the injury list while Sunderland currently have nine players (Gyan, Richardson, Ferdinand, Turner, Campbell, Mensah, McCartney, Gordon & Meyler) on the treatment table gradually coming back to the side over the next month. Titus Bramble is expected to feature for the the Black Cats despite recent troubles in his personal life.
Liverpool have won just one of their last 7 league games in the Premiership but Sunderland’s away record has seen them only take maximum points on the road, twice in their last 31 outings.
Expected Line Ups:
Liverpool: Reina, Johnson, Carragher, Skrtel, Konchesky, Poulsen, Meireles, Gerrard, Cole, Torres
Sunderland: Mignolet, Bramble, Turner, Onuoha, Bardsley, Henderson, Cattermole, Malbranque, Elmohamady, Welbeck, Bent