Considering the fact that these two outfits have just three points between them, there is already plenty of pressure mounting on Martin O’Neill and Brendan Rodgers. Bearing this in mind, this clash at the Stadium of Light could be hugely significant for both clubs.
It would be fair to say that Sunderland finished last season in exceptionally poor fashion and most Black Cats supporters simply couldn’t wait for the campaign to end. Following on from that, many expected Martin O’Neill to bolster his squad significantly through the summer, yet this didn’t really occur and O’Neill was forced to wait until the latter stages of the transfer window before seeing any new players arrive at the Stadium of Light. The likes of Adam Johnson and Steven Fletcher arrived in big money deals, while O’Neill was also able to conclude a loan switch for Tottenham’s Danny Rose. Following on from such transfers, fans will now be hoping that the club can put an end to consecutive draws with a much needed victory. Admittedly, they have played one less than most teams in the division due to their postponement with Reading, yet they’ll still want to get those first three points on the board as quickly as possible to ease the pressure.
However, Sunderland aren’t under anything like as much pressure as their opponents. Liverpool haven’t experienced a start as bad as this in over fifty years and such a statistic certainly doesn’t bode well for manager Brendan Rodgers. After taking over in the summer, Rodgers has struggled to make an impact at Anfield and they approach this game following defeats to West Brom and Arsenal, as well as a draw with Manchester City. Unlike their opponents, Rodgers doesn’t have any new players to rely on either. Incredibly, despite allowing several to leave on deadline day, the Reds didn’t bring in any reinforcements which has led many to question just how they are going to fare over the next few months.
As for team news, Sunderland are sweating on the fitness of Adam Johnson who was forced to miss England’s fixtures over the past week with a thigh problem. In other news, Martin O’Neill is hopeful of handing Danny Rose his debut, while David Vaughan is tipped to at least make the bench after managing to play through the international break. There’s just two pieces of news for Liverpool meanwhile, with Brendan Rodgers first having Joe Allen back available after the former Swansea midfielder recovered from illness. However, he is less sure of Jose Enrique, with the defender penned in for a late fitness test ahead of the encounter.
In terms of a prediction, we think the home side could prosper here. The Black Cats are currently unbeaten and with confidence in the Liverpool camp low, we think Martin O’Neill’s men could make their home advantage count and produce a 2-1 win.