By Gary Fulcher and Daniel Rhodes.
Liverpool host Sam Allardyce’s Sunderland at Anfield on Saturday – 3pm kick off UK time – and with just three wins from the last ten Premier League games, the league table makes extremely grim reading as the Reds sit mired in mid-table mediocrity, 16 points behind the leaders Leicester, 11 points behind fourth place Arsenal and 13 points above the drop zone.
With the FA Cup 4th round replay against West Ham at Upton Park on Tuesday, it will be interesting to see who survives from Tuesday’s 0-2 defeat at Leicester when the team is announced to face Sunderland. Will Klopp stick with a predominantly youthful side for the trip to the Hammers or will he hand some of them a first Premier League start on Saturday? Based on recent performances by the ‘kids’, compared to their more experienced team mates, it’s becoming harder to argue against using them in the league when so many big names fail to deliver on a consistent basis.
Liverpool have been boosted by the return to training of attacking trio Daniel Sturridge, Divok Origi and Philippe Countinho but it’s highly unlikely any of them will feature against the Black Cats, despite the Reds’ failure to find the back of the net on a consistent basis.
Sunderland sit four points adrift from safety and have picked up just seven points from the last 30 available, scoring 12 and conceding 21. They’ve won three of the previous 29 meetings with Liverpool – home and away – in the Premier League and you have to go back to the 1983/84 season for the last time they left Anfield with maximum points; a run of 16 league games without a win at L4. The corresponding fixture last season ended 0-0 while the Reds won the reverse fixture 1-0 back at the end of December courtesy of a Christian Benteke strike.
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