Liverpool will travel to the Stadium of Light to face a manager-less Sunderland on Sunday afternoon looking to bounce back from their shock defeat against Southampton at home last weekend.
Sunderland are in complete mess. They really are. The Italian management didn’t last long and astoundingly the Black Cats find themselves back at square one. Paolo Di Canio signed 14 new faces in the summer and without any surprise there was no cohesion in the squad, consequently they suffered on the pitch. Is there any positive left at the Wearside to allay the fears?
Or could this be the time to fight back when they’ve hit rock bottom? With seemingly no expectations from them, against a Liverpool side that have their own problems, can Sunderland find a fighting spirit within themselves and pull out a shock result?
Liverpool on the other hand have started the season brilliantly, despite two back-to-back 1-0 defeats in all competitions. Luis Suarez has returned in the last match against Manchester United and Brendan Rodgers will be counting on the Uruguayan to fire all cylinders.
The inclusion of Suarez has forced Rodgers to alter his system a bit. From 4-2-3-1, he has deployed a 3-4-1-2 formation to accommodate both Suarez and Sturridge up front. But, in absence of Coutinho, the central creative play-maker, Liverpool are struggling a bit to feed their strikers with delicious balls to score. And Moses and Iago Aspas are mainly wide forwards and can hardly play the role of the trequartista.
In such a scenario, should Rodgers bring Luis Alberto into the side? The Spaniard is a technically gifted player who can easily slot into the no 10 role. It is always better to give chances to players who are tactically astute to play in a particular position, rather than forcing others to adapt to a new system.
Good news for the Reds is Daniel Agger is fit again and could start against the Black Cats. However, Glen Johnson remains sidelined with an ankle injury while Aly Cissokho and Joe Allen are still sidelined.
Sunderland will miss the services of striker Steven Fletcher with shoulder injury while Phil Bardsley will miss out. New signing and former Liverpool defender Andrea Dossena faces a late competence test.
Daniel Sturridge – The England international has scored four goals in the first four matches and will be looking to add more goals to his name against a struggling Sunderland side.