Liverpool were top of the Pemier League heading into the international break after mercilessly thumping Watford FC 6-1 at Anfield, but a goalless draw at Southampton gave Chelsea—who were in second—a chance to take top spot. Antonio Conte’s resurgent side duly obliged by winning a sixth game with a clean sheet in succession. Only Manchester United have prevented Jürgen Klopp’s side from scoring and winning at Anfield this season, but will Sunderland fall to the same fate as Leicester City, Hull City, West Brom, and Watford?
The draw at St Mary’s shouldn’t be a cause of concern whatsoever. Liverpool aren’t going to win every game this season, and with the strong record that Southampton have at home this year combined with Liverpool’s struggles there of late, dominating the game only to get a point doesn’t halt the momentum built up so far this season. Failing to beat teams like Sunderland, however, would be a case of needless points dropped.
Sunderland, to their credit, have started to win games. Inspired by the evergreen Jermain Defoe, tomorrow’s visitors have finally added numbers in their Premier League win column after defeating Bournemouth (1-2) and Hull (3-0). The Black Cats are still in the releagation zone in 19th spot above Bob Bradley’s Swansea City. Duncan Watmore and Victor Anichebe have proven to be fine support acts for Defoe, but will Moyes alter a winning formula against the league’s top scorers?
For Liverpool 4-3-3:
Clyne, Matip, Lovren, Milner
Wijnaldum, Henderson, Can
Mané, Firmino, Coutinho
Adam Lallana injury during the international break will keep him out for another couple of games, and so, Klopp will not be able to count on a player who brings composure and craft to his midfield. Daniel Sturridge nearly created an match-winning opening last weekend and could start against a team that shouldn't be able to resist Liverpool’s attacking talents. The problem, though, is breaking up a brilliant front three. Dropping Philippe Coutinho into midfield would mean shifting Roberto Firmino to the left, and even though that provides Sturridge with a route to the starting lineup, the attack is in no need for surgery.
Sunderland have managed to pick up draws at Anfield in recent years but will be without former Chelsea defender Papy Djilobodji after he was sent off against Hull. John O’Shea, once of Manchester United, is set to deputise for Djilobodji in the visitor’s defence. Moyes may have a lengthy injury list but has found a winning formua in the past two games. Klopp reminded his players of the need to maintain their focus as nothing of note is achieved in November, and this game will be a fine test of the squad’s capacity to listen.
Kickoff is set for 3PM GMT/10AM EST tomorrow on NBCSN in the US. Elsewhere, Optus Sport in Australia, Sportsnet in Canada, Star Sports Select HD1 in India, SuperSport 3 Africa in Kenya, Astro Supersport 3 in Malaysia, and mio Stadium 106 in Singapore are carrying the match. Online radio coverage is provided by BBC Radio 5 Live Extra. You can find full listings at LivesoccerTV.
We'll be keeping you updated with all the buildup to the game, including team news as it's released, our live matchday thread and post-match recaps from The Liverpool Offside staff. If you want to join the discussion, sign up for an SB Nation account to have your say on all the action as it happens.