Sunderland v Liverpool Sat 15:00
With neither side enjoying their best run of form recently, both Liverpool and Sunderland will be looking to get back to winning ways when the pair clash this weekend as Paddy Power make the Reds odds against favourites to take all three points back to Anfield.
Liverpool travel to the Stadium of Light without a league victory since late January but have positives to take from the fixtures that have occurred in the meantime.
The most obvious talking point for Liverpool to boast is their victory in the Carling Cup final, ending a silverware drought for the Merseysiders that had stretched back some six years.
The Reds then continued their strong performance against Arsenal last weekend and although they slipped to a 2-1 defeat in the latter stages against the Gunners, Liverpool held a good account of themselves and appear to be showing progress.
Sunderland are on a somewhat different path and after experiencing a dramatic turn in results following the appointment of Martin O’Neill, the rest of the league may be wising up to the Black Cats’ act.
The North East outfit were riding high in the top ten of the English top flight for the past month but have slumped slightly, most recently dropping points against bitter local rivals Newcastle United.
Following his red card against Newcastle, talismanic attacker Stephane Sessegnon won’t be the only player to miss the Liverpool encounter, with Lee Cattermole seeing red after the full time whistle for saying one word too many to referee Mike Dean.
Should the Black Cats come out victorious this weekend, Sunderland can move to within two points of Liverpool and up to eighth place should other results go in their favour.
Liverpool may not have thought that they’d be battling with the likes of Fulham and Sunderland for a top half position at this stage in the season but Dalglish’s outfit run the genuine threat of slipping even further off the top six pace should they come away from the Stadium of Light empty handed on Saturday.
Steven Gerrard and Glen Johnson will face late fitness tests for the visitors as they look to bounce back from injury and back into the Reds starting line-up as the Reds captain issued a rallying call to players for a push on a crucial Champions League spot.
A loss at the Stadium in Light would really set the Reds back in their season, as once again football critics and pundits cast a rueful eye over the misfiring Andy Carroll and the disappointing Jordan Henderson, who returns to his former club today.
Both were big money signings during the summer, and, along with Stewart Downing in many eyes have yet to repay the faith of the Liverpool fans.
Three points against Sunderland would definiteley be a step in the right direction.