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Match Preview: Is A Draw The Best We Can Hope For At Liverpool?

Sunderland may well be going into this weekend's game against Liverpool on the back of two solid victories against Bournemouth and Hull but we're facing a side that are in a different class to both of those clubs. Can Sunderland avoid defeat, or is a proper lashing from Jurgen Klopp's team on the cards?

Sunderland v Hull City - Premier League Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images

Pretty much the last team that you want to face after achieving victory your last two league fixtures is Liverpool, a side that have looked incredibly dominant so far this season and have a real chance of winning the Premier League providing they can sustain their early season form.

Without trying to sound too negative, it would completely obliterate our newly-found optimism if we were given a good hiding this weekend and ensuring that we make ourselves hard to beat in this match is of paramount importance.

Just read Karl's Scout Report from earlier today for an indication of what to expect - Liverpool may well have drawn with Southampton last weekend but it wasn't through bad play - they were expressive and attacking but just couldn't break down Fraiser Forster in the Saints goal.

In pretty much every game this season they've attacked freely and have lost just once, at Burnley, and it is that result which should give us hope that we can avoid defeat if we stay organised.

Burnley are probably the most unfashionable side in the Premier League but they play to their strengths and know how to grind out results, and it's that mindset which we need to adopt when we enter the pitch at Anfield.

Focusing on getting the best out of what we have is what could gives us an edge. The recent form of Victor Anichebe and Jermain Defoe has made both men undroppable and ordinarily you would imagine that David Moyes would prefer to play this game with just one striker, but Anichebe's presence on the pitch gives the team someone to hit when we are under pressure and that could be huge, particularly if we can get the likes of Duncan Watmore and Defoe running beyond him.

And though it's a shame that Papy Djilobodji isn't available to play it's probably not a bad thing that his replacement, John O'Shea, comes back into the side. Experience and organisation will be needed if we are to get anything from this game and the Irish defender offers us that in abundance.

As great as Liverpool are going forward they are susceptible in defence and we have a forward three that are in decent form.

The hope, as always, is that we take the very few chances that we are likely to have.

Team News

Whilst Sebastian Larsson and Jan Kirchhoff both made it through the full ninety minutes for our U23s side on Monday evening, David Moyes has confirmed that the away trip to Anfield comes too early for both men and we are more likely to see them in the coming weeks when we face more beatable opposition in Leicester and Swansea.

Papy Djilobodji is unavailable following his red card last weekend against Hull, meaning John O'Shea is expected to return to the centre of defence in his place.

Paddy McNair and Lee Cattermole were both ruled out for most of this season with long term injuries this week and this means that a space in the centre of the park has now become available, with Steven Pienaar and Lynden Gooch the two most likely to be vying for a start in David Moyes' team.

Some Interesting Stats

Sunderland haven't won at Anfield since 1983, when a sole Gary Rowell goal was enough to defeat the Scousers on their home turf - 33 years ago.

Liverpool have scored in 18 of their last 20 home games, whilst Sunderland have conceded in 18 of their last 20 away games. Expect goals, and plenty of them.

Manager's Crack

David Moyes gave away very little today in his press conference but, as per usual, most of the talk centred around Everton and his past achievements against the club that he used to call a rival.

Speaking about our chances on Merseyside this weekend, Moyes said:

We've been competitive away from home and close to winning games so we will go there and make it difficult for Liverpool. It's not easy to get back-to-back wins when you're at the bottom, so the players are in good spirits.

Liverpool are a really good football club with great support, and they've had some fantastic players over the years. It's always been tough to go to Anfield and they've always had good teams, so it's always difficult to beat them.

We won last weekend against Hull City and we go into the game after a good couple of victories, so hopefully we can go to Anfield and do the same again.

Moyes was very clear that his plan will be to go and defend, and when asked if he would take a point if it was on offer, he nodded in agreement.

Lets see how that pans out.

Prediction

If I was looking at this fixture from a neutral perspective I'd be pretty expectant of a heavy Liverpool win. But, having seen our confidence grow in recent weeks I would write Sunderland off running Liverpool close, and a point isn't out of the question.

Gav's punt: I'm going to stick my neck out and say that we'll get a point. 1-1.