Brendan Rodgers reaffirms Gerrard's importance to Liverpool squad
Reuters

Liverpool host Sunderland at Anfield as the Reds look to build on their winning run and close the gap on Arsenal and Manchester United for the coveted fourth spot.

Where to Watch

Kick-off is set for 3pm GMT. Highlights of the game will be available on BBC Match of the Day at 10:20pm GMT.

Overview

Liverpool have managed to turn things around in the last couple of games with consecutive wins over Stoke City at Anfield and Leicester City where they got the better of the newly promoted side in a 3-1 win.

Steven Gerrard inspired Liverpool's comeback after going 1-0 down in the first half and has to play an important role against Sunderland, which is a must win affair, given their important Champions League tie against Basel in midweek and a flurry of important fixtures coming up in the Christmas period.

The Reds have an impeccable record against Sunderland in the league, winning five and losing just one of their last nine games. Luis Suarez was the main architect behind their dominance over the Black Cats, netting seven of their last 11 goals against the Tyneside club.

Meanwhile, Sunderland will be looking to bounce back after succumbing to a 4-1 defeat at the hands of Manchester City, having led the Champions in the first half.

Their 0-0 draw against Chelsea had raised hopes of an inspired performance, something which Gus Poyet's men were unable to come up with. Their record at Anfield is abysmal to say the least, winning only one of their last 15 visits to Merseyside.

However, they will fancy their chances against a knackered Liverpool side, who will have one eye on the Basel game, which will decide their qualification into the next round of the Champions League.

Connor Wickham
Connor Wickham will look to stifle LiverpoolGetty

What Managers Say

Brendan Rodgers: "I said a few weeks ago there is a really exciting period of games for us after the reaction we had to the little period we had, which was disappointing in terms of results and performance. Since the Crystal Palace game, the reaction has been excellent. The players have shown the character and we want to keep it going because we've got a little bit of momentum and that brings confidence into the team.

Gus Poyet: "I'm sure that Seba is not going to be happy with me. He was coming back from injury, Wes didn't train for two days and we need him for Saturday because Coates is not available. I made a decision not to take a risk [with Brown], to make sure we have a centre-half for Saturday. It's unfair on Coates, probably, but this is football and you need to be ready."

Betting Odds (by 888Sport.com)

  • Liverpool Win: 7/15
  • Draw:17/5
  • Sunderland Win: 13/2

Team Guide

Liverpool

  • Last Five (all competitions): L L D W W
  • Last Result: Leicester City 1-3 Liverpool

Sunderland

  • Last Five (all competitions): W D D D L
  • Last Result: Sunderland 1-4 Manchester City

Team News

Liverpool

  • Injured: Balotelli (groin), Sakho (thigh), Suso (groin). Sturridge (thigh)
  • Doubtful: N/A
  • Suspended: N/A

Possible XI: Mignolet; Johnson, Skrtel, Toure, Moreno; Gerrard; Henderson, Allen; Lallana; Sterling, Lambert

Sunderland

  • Injured: Van Aanholt (shoulder), B Jones (hamstring), Giaccherini (ankle)
  • Doubtful: N/A
  • Suspended: N/A

Possible XI: Pantilimon; Vergini, O'Shea, Brown, Reveillere; Cattermole, Rodwell; Johnson, Larsson, Wickham; Fletcher