Liverpool dropped six points off the European spots in midweek and will be searching for a response against a Sunderland side still marooned in the relegation zone.
Jurgen Klopp’s side were undone by another excellent Leicester performance on Tuesday night and dropped below Southampton into eighth, and their tally of 34 points at this stage is their third-lowest in Premier League history.
Klopp’s record in front of the Kop has not set the world alight in the German’s short time in charge; the Reds have won just two games at Anfield since the 48-year old took over, and a defeat on Saturday would mark the first time Liverpool have lost consecutive home games since 2012. Klopp will be desperate to avoid this fate, particularly against a manager who described him as a ‘soft German’ the last time the two sides met.
Christian Benteke has found himself out of favour in recent weeks, but the Belgian enjoys playing against Sunderland; he has scored six times in seven matches against the Black Cats, including the winner when these two teams met at the end of December.
The visitors put up a spirited fight in defeat against Manchester City on Tuesday, but the result kept them four points adrift of safety and still in desperate need of points.
Their recent record at Anfield will not fill travelling fans with hope; the Wearsiders are winless in the red half of Merseyside since a 1-0 win way back in October 1983.
Liverpool away has also never been a kind fixture for Sunderland boss Sam Allardyce, who remains winless in 12 Premier League matches at Anfield; Saturday would be the perfect time for him and his side to end their respective barren runs.
Klopp’s side have received some welcome news on the injury front this week, with influential midfielder Philippe Coutinho and Belgian striker Divock Origi back in contention after hamstring trouble. Daniel Sturridge is back in training but will not feature on Saturday.
Yann M’Vila and Jeremain Lens are doubts for the visitors, but Younes Kaboul has overcome a hamstring injury and is likely to start in defence. Allardyce could also hand a full debut to new signing Wahbi Khazri.
League Positions: Liverpool – 8th (34 pts); Sunderland – 19th (19 pts)
Previous Meeting: Sunderland 0-1 Liverpool – December 30, 2015
League Form: Liverpool – WLDLWL; Sunderland – LWWLDL
Key Players: Liverpool – Jordan Henderson; Sunderland – Jermain Defoe
Shoot Says: Liverpool 2-0 Sunderland