Liverpool travel to Sunderland on Wednesday, 30 December, as they look to go level on points with Manchester United leading into the New Year. Stoke City and Tottenham are the only two teams to have taken full points in the Christmas period, winning both their games, while Liverpool have the chance to repeat the feat with a convincing performance against a hapless Sunderland side.
Where to Watch Live
Kick-off is set for 7:45pm GMT. Live coverage of the game will be on Sky Sports 1 and Sky Sports 1 HD.
Sunderland come into the game on the back of four league defeats on the trot and have dropped to 19th in the league, mounting further pressure on Sam Allardyce, who had taken this job to get the Black Cats out of their misery. The fixtures have not been too kind on Sunderland, with games against Arsenal, Manchester City, Chelsea and a high-flying Watford making it very difficult for Allardyce's men to come out with anything from the corresponding fixtures.
The Black Cats are currently seven points adrift from safety, with nearest rival Swansea City on 19 points. The Liverpool game aside, the next two games are likely to have a major impact on their season, hosting Aston Villa next weekend and travelling to Swansea later in the month. Their record against the Reds does not inspire too much confidence, having taken only two points from their last six fixtures but they have to be up for the fight and a win here will do nicely for the second half of the season.
Liverpool are currently languishing in 10th spot, 12 points adrift of leaders Arsenal going into New Year. However, a win here will take them to within five points of fourth placed Tottenham, who have been in brilliant form over the past couple of months.
Jurgen Klopp is likely to persist with Christian Benteke as the focal point in their attack, with Daniel Sturridge still recovering from a hamstring strain and Divock Origi having picked up an injury earlier this month. The former Borussia Dortmund manager was vocal with his criticism of the Belgian, stating that he does not do enough off the ball to merit a place in the team.
What Managers Say
Sam Allardyce: "I could have covered any injury, apart from one to John O'Shea. We have Wes but he hasn't played much football at all this season so that would be a bit of a concern. But that will be the case if John doesn't make it on Wednesday. We'd have to play a different way and play a certain system to use Wes' experience and also give him a little bit of protection. We know that he's getting a little bit older and he's not quite as quick as he used to be."
Jurgen Klopp: "There's no doubt about the individual quality of the players, there's no doubt about the character. What we have to create is a stable level of performance, that's what we have to work on. Now the next station is Sunderland and we have to go there and be concentrated from the first second, like we were against Leicester. [It was] a really good start in that game – I was happy about this – and now we have to do it again. That's the thing. If we do this, then we can get results in a row. But it's no presents, we have to work for it."
Betting Odds (888Sport)
- Sunderland Win: 79/17
- Draw: 35/12
- Liverpool Win: 9/13
Possible XI: Pantilimon; Coates, Brown, Jones; Van Aanholt, M'Vila, Cattermole, Gomez, Johnson; Defoe, Borini
Possible XI: Mignolet; Clyne, Lovren, Sakho, Moreno; Lucas, Henderson, Can; Coutinho, Firmino; Benteke