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Premier League

  • March 10, 2012
  • • 15:00
  • • Stadium of Light, Sunderland
  • Referee: A. Taylor
  • • Attendance: 41661
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Sunderland - Liverpool Preview: Hosts have scored just once in last five encounters with the Reds at Stadium of Light

Kenny Dalglish's men have an impressive defensive record against the Mackems and will hope to atone for a disappointing draw at Anfield earlier this season

  PROBABLE LINE-UPS
SUNDERLAND


Mignolet
Bardsley, O'Shea, Turner, Richardson Larsson, Colback, Gardner, McClean Campbell, Bendtner
LIVERPOOL


Reina
 Kelly, Skrtel, Carragher, Enrique
 Henderson, Adam, Spearing, Bellamy
 Suarez, Carroll

Martin O'Neill will be forced to reshuffle the side which were held to a 1-1 draw against bitter rivals Newcastle, after Lee Cattermole and Stephane Sessegnon were handed four and three match bans respectively for their dismissals in the Tyne-Wear derby.

Wes Brown remains out with a knee injury sustained in the game against Norwich, but David Vaughan returns to the squad alongside goalkeeper Craig Gordon, who is available for the first time in over a year after battling a long-term knee injury.

Titus Bramble also returns to the squad after suffering with a calf strain of late, but he is unlikely to return straight into the starting eleven.

Liverpool face a couple of late fitness tests ahead of their trip north to Sunderland, with Steven Gerrard battling to return to the side after missing last week's game against Arsenal with a hamstring injury picked up on international duty with England.

Glen Johnson is the other member of the first-team squad struggling with injury, after picking up a hamstring strain in the Carling Cup final win over Cardiff.

Daniel Agger remains the only other person on the injury table for the away side, with the Dane likely to be sidelined for the remainder of March with cracked ribs.

DID YOU KNOW?

  • Sunderland have posted victory over Liverpool just once in their last 11 attempts, with that win coming courtesy of the now infamous beach ball goal from Darren Bent in this fixture back in October 2009.
  • That controversial strike is the only goal which Sunderland have managed in Liverpool's last five visits to the Stadium of Light.
  • Sunderland have conceded a higher proportion of headed goals than any other Premier League side this season.
  • Liverpool were held on the opening day of the season by Sunderland, as Sebastian Larsson's superb volley earned then-Mackems manager Steve Bruce a deserved 1-1 draw.
  • The penalty miss from Dirk Kuyt (pictured right) against Arsenal last weekend marked the eighth Liverpool have missed from the spot this season in all competitions.
  • Liverpool have the worst conversion rate of any Premier League side this campaign, turning just 8.6% of their shots into goals.
  • Sunderland have won 19 points from their 13 home fixtures this season, whilst Liverpool have won 19 points from their 13 away fixtures.
  • The Reds have picked up just five points from their last six games. In the same run of fixtures, Sunderland have notched 10 points.

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Last Five Matches
Odds
Team News
Available Squads
22Simon MignoletGoalkeeper
2Phil BardsleyDefender
3Wayne BridgeDefender
6Michael TurnerDefender
16John O'SheaDefender
7Sebastian LarssonMidfielder
8Craig GardnerMidfielder
14Jack ColbackMidfielder
-James McCleanMidfielder
25Fraizer CampbellStriker
17Nicklas BendtnerStriker
1Craig GordonGoalkeeper
27Matthew Kilgallon Defender
16Sotirios KyrgiakosDefender
-David VaughanMidfielder
7David MeylerMidfielder
27Ahmed El MohamadyMidfielder
10Connor WickhamStriker
25Pepe ReinaGoalkeeper
3José EnriqueDefender
19Sebastián CoatesDefender
34Martin KellyDefender
37Martin SkrtelDefender
14Jordan HendersonMidfielder
20Jay SpearingMidfielder
16Charlie AdamMidfielder
7Luis SuárezStriker
11Dirk KuytStriker
39Craig BellamyStriker
32DoniGoalkeeper
23Jamie CarragherDefender
38Jon FlanaganDefender
8Steven GerrardMidfielder
11Maxi RodríguezMidfielder
19Stewart DowningMidfielder
9Andy CarrollStriker
Players to Watch
James McClean
James McClean
Position: Midfielder
Squad Number: 0
Games Goals YC RC
0 0 0 0
The young Irishman has been nothing short of a revelation since bursting onto the scene since Martin O'Neill took charge of the Black Cats.

With Sessegnon suspended, the burden may fall upon McClean to act as the link between the midfield and attack with his surging runs down the left-hand side.
Andy Carroll
Andy Carroll
Position: Striker
Squad Number: 9
Games Goals YC RC
0 0 0 0
Sunderland are susceptible to headed goals and, whilst Carroll has struggled this season, he has two goals in his last six games.

Finding the back of the net against Wolves and Brighton will have done his confidence wonders and, as a former Newcastle man, he would love to get one over on his old rivals.
Prediction
Sunderland are still going well under Martin O'Neill but their expectations have been tempered recently by some more 'realistic' results.

A battling draw against Newcastle and the suspensions that has brought may just mean that the Reds can take the frustrations of Arsenal's smash and grab victory at Anfield last week out on the Mackems.

If Kenny Dalglish's men keep things tight then they should have more than enough up top to grab all three points.
Editor's Prediction

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