Liverpool FC would look to reclaim top spot in the Premier League when they host Sunderland at Anfield this Saturday. Last week saw Liverpool drop to the second spot after being held to a frustrating 0-0 draw against Southampton.
The game against Sunderland proves to be a potential banana skin for the hosts as the visitors are fresh from two back-to-back wins in the Premier League against AFC Bournemouth and Hull City FC and would look to carry on the momentum against an in-form Liverpool side led by ex-Sunderland midfielder Jordan Henderson.
Ahead of the game against the Black Cats, Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson has stated that the team must be patient against teams who adopt a defensive approach against the Reds. Speaking to the club’s official magazine he said, “I think because of the way we started the season, teams will come and try to come and defend and break up the play: they’ll want to disrupt our rhythm as much as possible.”
Kickoff and Live Telecast
Date and Time- November 26, 2016 – 20:30 pm (IST)
Live Telecast- Star Sports Select HD 1
Venue- Anfield, Liverpool
In all probability, Liverpool would field the same eleven that started at St. Mary’s. Liverpool have most of their players fit for the upcoming game but they would be missing the services of English midfielder Adam Lallana who is currently nursing a groin injury which he suffered in a friendly against Spain last Wednesday. Meanwhile, Daniel Sturridge would like to get on the scoresheet thereby ending his drought in the Premier League.
Sunderland would travel to Anfield without Paddy McNair, Lee Cattermole and Fabio Borini who will miss out due to injury and Papi Djilobodji due to suspension. Sunderland were handed a boost when Jan Kirchhoff and Sebastian Larsson played an U-23 game against Manchester United and came out unscathed. John O’Shea looks set to return to the first team after Papi Djilobodji was sent off against Hull City.
Liverpool F.C. (4-3-3): Karius, Clyne, Matip, Lovren, Milner, Henderson, Emre Can, Wijnaldum, Coutinho, Mane, Firmino.
Sunderland (4-2-3-1): Pickford, Jones, Kone, O’shea, van Aanholt, Kirchhoff, Denayer, Watmore, Ndong, Anichebe, Defoe
Sunderland have started gaining some momentum in their campaign after winning their last two matches against Hull City and AFC Bournemouth, but must be vary of a Liverpool side who are unbeaten at home this season.
Sunderland boss David Moyes will have his task cut out in stopping the front three of Mane, Coutinho and Firmino. If Sunderland wish to gain something from this game, they must be defensively resolute and clinical in front of the goal post.
On the other hand, Liverpool will expect to get back to winning ways after last week’s draw at Southampton. The hosts would look to use the home support when they take to the field against The Black Cats on Saturday. Liverpool must be wary of the likes of Victor Anichebe and Jermaine Defoe who are capable of latching on to any mistake committed by the Liverpool defence.
The last meeting between these two sides ended in a 2-2 draw after the hosts gave up a 2-0 lead in the dying moments of the game.
Joel Matip vs Jermaine Defoe:
One of the key battles that may decide the result of this game is the one between Joel Matip and Jermaine Defoe. Defoe found the back of the net in the win against Hull City and would look to continue his scoring form against Liverpool. Defoe needs 13 goals to surpass Robbie Fowler’s tally of 167 goals in the Premier League and will try to shorten the gap against Liverpool.
The veteran possesses great physicality and has a sharp eye for scoring which has made him one of the most feared strikers in the Premier League. On his day, Defoe is capable of making any defence pay and Liverpool must be very careful while defending against Jermaine Defoe. His immense work-rate may also worry defences as they must be alert at all times.
Going head-to-head in this game is Liverpool’s Joel Matip who has adjusted to life in the Premier League with great ease. Matip’s composed nature and a brilliant sense of positional awareness may be a good match for Defoe’s intelligence. The Cameroonian who made his mark in the Bundesliga with Schalke 04 has become an integral member and a steadying influence in Liverpool’s defence.
Liverpool will look to register a comfortable win against Sunderland and claim their third clean sheet of the season. The hosts would like to get back to scoring ways and a Sunderland defence without the likes of Papi Djilobodji will face a difficult task to contain Liverpool’s front three.
Liverpool may win the game if they get their basics right and are clinical in front of goal. As for Sunderland, they must be defensively solid to gain anything from this fixture.
Predicted score: Liverpool- 3 Sunderland-1
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