The first game of the New Year! It’s came as a bit of a shock as for how soon it is after our fixture against Manchester City. Two days.
Forty eight hours, not even.
Jurgen Klopp will be fuming.
Either way, the game has to be played and Klopp will be wanting to keep the pressure on league-leaders Chelsea, as they head to White Hart Lane after Spurs smashed Watford over the weekend.
David Moyes will be looking to do the impossible and take points from Liverpool with a pathetic Sunderland side, who currently sit 18th in the Premier League table.
Victories for Hull and Swansea and a loss for Sunderland would actually see the Mackems fall to the bottom of the table – not the happy New Year Moyesy would have been hoping for.
There is a good chance for Liverpool with the Monday afternoon fixture; a win would put Liverpool just three points behind Antonio Conte’s Chelsea and it could stay that way.
Spurs are in a good bit of form and could throw a spanner in the works of the title race. It’ll be less of Chelsea running away with it than it being a race involving several class horses.
Liverpool are still sweating over Jordan Henderson, we’re yet to hear back from Lverpool’s medical staff but I’m sure there will be some clarification in the pre or post-match interview with Klopp.
Either way, I’d probably count our captain out of a return to his former stomping ground.
Phil Coutinho and Joel Matip are still significant doubts for Liverpool and I suspect they won’t play a part in this fixture on the north east coast.
I suspect there will be a host of changes for Liverpool on Monday afternoon; Klopp will be ensuring he doesn’t burn his best players out.
I’d expect to see Trent Alexander Arnold step in for Nathaniel Clyne, Ragnar Klavan and Lucas to sit in front of Simon Mignolet and Alberto Moreno to make up our back four.
Sheyi Ojo or Ryan Kent are probably within a shout of making an appearance but I wouldn’t think Klopp would want to make too many changes; we still do need to win this game as much as we did against Manchester City.
Sunderland are having an absolute nightmare with injuries, so much so they have used a total of 27 players this season – the most in the Premier League.
This is never a good thing for a struggling side as they end up looking how like Watford did on New Year’s Day. Not good.
Sunderland currently have nine first team players who are unavailable to them – they’re as follows: Lamine Kone, Victor Anichebe, Jordan Pickford, Jason Denayer, Jan Kirchhoff, Duncan Watmore, Lyden Gooch, Paddy McNair and Lee Cattermole.
I’d expect Sunderland to put out a similar side to the one that featured against Man United on Boxing Day, losing 3-1 on the day.
The lineup on that day was: Pickford, Jones, Van Aanholt, Djilobodji, Kone, Denayer, Ndong, Borini, Larsson, Anichebe, Defoe.
Naturally, I’d have to swap out Pickford, Kone, Denayer and Anichebe with Manonne, Manquillo, O’Shea, and Januzaj.
Liverpool (last six results in all competitions) –
Liverpool 1-0 Manchester City
Liverpool 4-1 Stoke
Everton 0-1 Liverpool
Middlesbrough 0-3 Liverpool
Liverpool 2-2 West Ham
Bournemouth 4-3 Liverpool
Sunderland (last six results in all competitions) –
Burnley 4-1 Sunderland
Manchester United 3-1 Sunderland
Sunderland 1-0 Watford
Sunderland 0-1 Chelsea
Swansea 3-0 Sunderland
Sunderland 2-1 Leicester
Decent chance this could get ugly. To be fair to them though, they’ve performed better than expected at the Stadium of Light but Liverpool will be too much.
Liverpool are on fire, we’ve been playing some very sharp football recently and I think it’s going to be too much for Moyes to deal with.
The injures that Sunderland have suffered will be crucial to the disaster that will be their loss on Monday afternoon.
My prediction is that even a weakened Liverpool side will demolish Sunderland. I do think there will be a goal for Sunderland – as per – but Klopp’s men will be in control.
Sunderland 1-3 Liverpool.
If you’d like to strongly disagree with me or remind me of what I’ve written, all of Sunderland’s injured players limp into the starting XI and beat Liverpool 3-0, you can find me on Twitter – @StefanoHairon