Liverpool play Sunderland to close gap on Chelsea 


Liverpool play Sunderland less than 46 hours after kicking off against Manchester City on New Year’s Eve.

A win would see them close the gap on Chelsea to just 3 points. Tottenham Hotspur host Chelsea at White Hart Lane on Wednesday night.

It will again be another tough game. With the added factor of fatigue thrown into the mix.

Liverpool will still be buzzing from the 1-0 victory against Man City and the one day of training will never be enough for Jurgen Klopp to get his troops ready. Progress has been made under Klopp’s leadership as Liverpool are on a record number of points (43) at the half-way stage.

Latest match report: Liverpool win hard fought victory over rivals Manchester City

Now all the attention turns to Sunderland. Having beaten another title hopeful, Liverpool can’t afford another Burnley or Bournemouth result. A fifth victory would be very welcome making the difficult Christmas period all the worthwhile.

David Moyes loves playing against us – dating back from the days when he worked under the shadows of Anfield at Everton. I’m sure he won’t need any motivation himself for the game.

Who to select?

The biggest task will be who to select? Jordan Henderson coming off against City could have implications.

Should Henderson fail his fitness test Klopp could select the following;

  • Can, Wijnaldum and Lallana, or
  • Can, Wijnaldum and Stewart.

This would mean a front three of either;

  • Firmino, Origi and Mané, or
  • Lallana, Firmino and Mané.

I’d personally go with the 2nd option. Can, Wijnaldum and Stewart would be a very solid to deal with Sunderland’s midfield. This would allow Lallana to go further forward causing damage to Sunderland’s weaker back 4.

There may be temptation to rest Firmino and give Origi and Sturridge an opportunity instead, however I can’t see this happen as his style of play is so important to Liverpool. He leads the front line well. Harrassing, closing and causing havoc. Everything Suarez or Tevez used to do at their peak.

  1. However, there could be a possibility that Lucas could play – depending on a potential transfer to Inter Milan. I’d still prefer Stewart, regardless, as he’s one for the future.

Win it by half time

If Liverpool go full out attack and rattle Sunderland’s back four the way they have done all season, then this game could be over by half-time.

This would give Klopp an excellent opportunity to allow Sturridge and Co. to come out and stretch the game further whilst resting key players.

What do you think? Feel free to leave a comment.

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