Liverpool vs. Sunderland: Team News, Preview, Live Stream, TV Info, Ticket News

Jack LusbyFeatured ColumnistFebruary 6, 2016

Liverpool's German manager Jurgen Klopp (R) and Sunderland's English manager Sam Allardyce (L) take their places for the English Premier League football match between Sunderland and Liverpool at the Stadium of Light in Sunderland, north east England, on December 30, 2015. AFP PHOTO / OLI SCARFF

RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. / AFP / OLI SCARFF        (Photo credit should read OLI SCARFF/AFP/Getty Images)
OLI SCARFF/Getty Images

Still licking their wounds from a comprehensive defeat away to Leicester City on Tuesday night, Liverpool welcome relegation candidates Sunderland to Anfield in an intriguing Premier League matchup.

The last time the two sides met in the league was Jurgen Klopp's introduction to an English top-flight institution in Sam Allardyce, resulting in a pitch-side confrontation that saw the Black Cats manager label Klopp a "soft German" after the game, as reported by Sky Sports, though both have since laughed off the incident.

SUNDERLAND, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 30:  Christian Benteke of Liverpool celebrates with team-mates Adam Lallana and Roberto Firmino of Liverpool during the Barclays Premier League match between Sunderland and Liverpool at Stadium of Light on December 30, 2015
Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

That game finished as a 1-0 victory to the Reds, with Christian Benteke scoring the winner just after half-time, but since then Allardyce's squad has changed significantly.

Sunderland signed Wahbi Khazri, Lamine Kone, Dame N'Doye, Jan Kirchhoff and Steve Harper in the winter transfer window, as they continue their annual mid-season push for survival, while Allardyce cleared out some of the deadwood left over from previous reigns, including a surprise loan move to Marseille for Steven Fletcher.

Klopp may know what to expect from an Allardyce side after December's clash, but the Black Country native's busy January may spring a surprise for the ex-Borussia Dortmund manager.

 

Date: Saturday, 6 February, 2016

Time: 3 p.m. GMT/10 a.m. ET

Venue: Anfield, Liverpool

TV Info: NBC Deportes En Vivo Extra (U.S only)

Live Stream: NBC Sports Live Extra (U.S only)

 

Form Lines (Last 5 Games)

Liverpool: W-W-L-D-L

Sunderland: L-W-L-D-L

 

Team News

Addressing the media on Friday afternoon, Klopp delivered some good news for supporters during a miserable February that has seen the Reds miss out of prime winter target Alex Teixeira, lose to top-four rivals Leicester and reveal a startling price increase on tickets from 2016/17.

However, while the German's positive injury update, concerning the returns of Philippe Coutinho, Daniel Sturridge and Divock Origi, will be a boost to Liverpool—as the club's official website reports—they will not be available against Sunderland:

The day before yesterday [Sturridge] was together with Phil and Divock. If you see these three players then you know what you have missed for a few weeks.

With Divock, Phil and Daniel in training, of course you think after five minutes maybe we should take them back into the squad.

But that's the moment to say 'come on'; there are another three sessions which we can use and they are available for West Ham, that's the idea in this moment if nothing happens in the next session.

The trio will provide a welcome relief to a flagging forward line, though Klopp's defence is still struggling for numbers as Martin Skrtel remains on the sidelines with a hamstring injury.

Coutinho, Sturridge, Origi, Skrtel, Jordan Rossiter, Danny Ings and Joe Gomez will all be unavailable, while Joe Allen is a doubt after suffering a knock in Tuesday night's defeat to Leicester.

Meanwhile, Sunderland will check on the fitness of a pair of summer signings in Jeremain Lens and Yann M'Vila, with Lens struggling with a groin injury and M'Vila bruising his foot during the Black Cats' 1-0 defeat to Manchester City at the beginning of the month.

Speaking to reporters on Thursday, Allardyce provided an update on M'Vila, Sebastian Larsson and Younes Kaboul, as relayed by the club's official website:

Kaboul will be back in the squad but Seb is still having a little bit of trouble with the medial ligaments.

It's turning out to be a lot longer than we expected and it's obviously concerning for us, but hopefully he will recover shortly.

Yann caught the bottom of [Sergio] Aguero's boot and has bruising so he hasn’t trained at all today, so we will have to wait to see if he’s fit for Saturday.

Lens' injury could provide Khazri with the opportunity to make an impression on what would be his first start for the club, with Allardyce no doubt overjoyed with the options available to him.

 

Predicted Lineups

LEICESTER, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 02: (L to R) Emre Can, Roberto Firmino, James Milner and Adam Lallana of Liverpool react after Leicester City's first goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Leicester City and Liverpool at The King Power Stadiu
Matthew Lewis/Getty Images

With Coutinho, Sturridge, Origi and Skrtel all still out of contention, Klopp is likely to line his Liverpool side up in a similar manner to Tuesday night's trip to the King Power Stadium.

This should see Simon Mignolet deployed in goal, behind a back four of Nathaniel Clyne, Dejan Lovren, Mamadou Sakho and Alberto Moreno, though with Moreno clearly suffering from fatigue against the Foxes, Brad Smith or Jon Flanagan could be drafted in as cover.

In midfield, while Lucas Leiva's poor recent performances could see him drop out, doubts over Allen's fitness are likely to see the Brazilian continue in a three-man midfield alongside Jordan Henderson and Emre Can.

James Milner and Adam Lallana should take up their roles on the flanks, supporting Roberto Firmino.

SUNDERLAND, UNITED KINGDOM -  FEBRUARY 02:    Dame N'Doye and Wahbi Khazri (R) warm up for Sunderland during the Barclays Premier League match between Sunderland and Manchester City at The Stadium of Light on February 02, 2016 in Sunderland, England. (Pho
Ian Horrocks/Getty Images

Injuries and recoveries could dictate Allardyce's team selection, with Khazri likely to come in for Lens and Kaboul potentially replacing John O'Shea.

Vito Mannone is set to keep his place in goal, while Billy Jones, Patrick van Aanholt and Kone should continue in defence.

If M'Vila is deemed fit to start, the Frenchman is likely to be deployed at the base of Sunderland's midfield, joined by Kirchhoff and Lee Cattermole, while Khazri and former Liverpool striker Fabio Borini will support the in-form Jermain Defoe.

Likely Liverpool XI: Mignolet; Clyne, Lovren, Sakho, Moreno; Lucas, Henderson, Can; Lallana, Milner, Firmino

Likely Sunderland XI: Mannone; Jones, Kaboul, Kone, Van Aanholt; M'Vila, Kirchhoff, Cattermole; Khazri, Borini, Defoe

 

Players to Watch

NORWICH, ENGLAND - JANUARY 23:  Alberto Moreno of Liverpool in action during the Barclays Premier League match between Norwich City and Liverpool at Carrow Road on January 23, 2016 in Norwich, England.  (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
Clive Mason/Getty Images

Alberto Moreno

Moreno endured a nightmare evening at the King Power Stadium on Tuesday, with the Spanish left-back consistently out of position in both the defensive and attacking phases and, when called into action pushing forward, worryingly slack in his delivery.

Largely at fault for Leicester's second goal, Moreno showcased a mental fatigue that could be exploited by Khazri and the rest of Sunderland's right-hand side at Anfield.

If Moreno continues his poor run of form, he will be the one to watch in terms of Klopp's selection—as his place could be under threat in the near future.

SUNDERLAND, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 02:  Jan Kirchhoff of Sunderland in action during the Barclays Premier League match between Sunderland and Manchester City at the Stadium of Light on February 2, 2016 in Sunderland, England  (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Image
Stu Forster/Getty Images

Jan Kirchhoff

Kirchhoff made the surprise move to Sunderland from Bayern Munich in January after a lengthy spell in obscurity, following his switch from Klopp's former side Mainz in 2013.

After struggling to make his mark in his debut for the Black Cats against Tottenham Hotspur last month, Kirchhoff has slowly settled into life on Wearside, and producing a star turn against City last time out, he was singled out for praise from Allardyce.

"I don’t know anybody who has played better than that in central midfield for anybody [this season]," the 61-year-old claimed, as reported by Richard Mennear of the Sunderland Echo, and if Kirchhoff is in similar form at Anfield, he could dominate the midfield battle.

 

Key Battle

LEICESTER, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 02:  Roberto Firmino of Liverpool during the Barclays Premier League match between Leicester City and Liverpool at the King Power Stadium on February, 2016 in Leicester, England.  (Photo by Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images)
Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images

Roberto Firmino vs. Sunderland's Centre-Backs

At the King Power Stadium on Tuesday night, Liverpool's £29 million summer signing Firmino was offered little support from his attacking colleagues and, despite showing flashes of quality, was unable to impose himself in the final third.

But against a centre-back pairing of Kone and O'Shea or Kaboul, still finding their feet, the Brazilian could hold the key to Liverpool securing a much-needed victory.

Intelligent, hard-working and with a keen eye for goal, Firmino could punish Sunderland's sluggish back line if he hits form again on Saturday.

 

Odds

Liverpool: 47/100

Sunderland: 36/5

Draw: 15/4

Odds via Odds Shark and correct at time of writing.

 

Ticket Information

For ticket information on all Premier League games visit the official site or go to the ticket page on the home club's official website. Secondary ticket information for Liverpool can be found here.

 

Statistics via Transfermarkt.co.uk.