Liverpool’s time at the top wasn’t a particularly long one but such is the tightness at the summit of the Premier League that draws are really proving to be costly as of late. Today they will look to bounce back to winning ways when they play host to Sunderland.
Last Saturday saw Jurgen Klopp’s side travel to Southampton and although they produced a rarity in these parts otherwise known as a clean sheet they also produced another one in what was a failure to score at the other end. A mixture of resolute defending from The Saints and woeful finishing from The Reds meant that Liverpool had to make do with just a point from their trip to the South Coast.
And it was a point that meant that Chelsea then leapfrogged them into first place the following day and ended the 12th set of fixtures at the top of the table. Obviously disappointment for Liverpool not to still be leading proceedings but at this point of the season they have probably exceeded their own expectations and have to be considered as definite challengers for the title.
They can solidify that challenge with home wins and today does pose the possibility of a routine one. That said though this is Sunderland side who are in a season best run of form with successive victories which has more importantly lifted David Moyes’ men off the bottom of the table.
Victory away at Bournemouth a fortnight ago was then added to with a comfortable home win against fellow strugglers Hull last Saturday. That coupled with Swansea’s draw away at Everton means the Black Cats are not propping the table up any longer.
The fixture computer may have been slightly kind to Sunderland but that is not to take away any credit from their performances over the past two weeks. After getting the proverbial monkey off their backs at The Vitality Stadium with a somewhat dogged away win you could then see that they played with a huge weight of their shoulders as they brushed Hull to one side at The Stadium Of Light.
Sunderland will be full of momentum but that momentum will be somewhat halted with the news that Paddy McNair will now be out injured for the rest of the season. In a side which is struggling for quality that is going to be a massive blow for David Moyes and that will mean that he will probably have to add reinforcements come January.
They go into this game as underdogs and in fairness it does give them a free hit but Liverpool are going to want to return to winning ways and with the ease that they brushed aside Watford recently you do have to fear for Sunderland regardless of this decent spell they are having.
With all the attacking prowess that Liverpool have at their disposal then it’s going to be a long afternoon for Jordan Pickford and I don’t think even his heroics will be enough to keep them at bay. I can’t see anything other than a Liverpool win this afternoon.