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Ghanaian does not blame striker over World Cup handball

Sunderland defender John Mensah insists he is fully focused on taming Liverpool this weekend and not on what Luis Suarez did in the World Cup last summer.

Mensah will come up against the Uruguay striker for the first time since he denied a clear goal when he punched the ball on the line in the quarter-final in South Africa.

But the Ghanaian defender has put what happened to the back of his mind.

He said: "What he did in the World Cup is not in my mind right now.

"What is in my mind at the moment? That we stop him and Liverpool from scoring.

"I believe I am playing for Sunderland against Liverpool, not against Luis Suarez only.

"He knows we as Ghanaians are sad for what he did, but I don’t blame him too much and I don’t think about it."

Mensah believes the Black Cats can take great confidence from their draw against Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium in their last league outing.

Sunderland currently sit four points behind Kenny Dalglish’s side and can close the gap with a victory.

He added: "Arsenal two weeks ago was a big game and we got a point.

"They were looking to come back after failing to win the cup but we played well and earned a good result.

"Now we have another difficult game against Liverpool. They are above us so we believe we have to win this game.

"We have determination and we know the calibre of their players – we must go out to get three points.

"Our determination and playing as a team is vital.

"If we play together no matter where the opposition player is on the pitch with the ball, we can get to him."

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