Kone and Anichebe Absent Tomorrow?
Sunderland are facing the loss of their two most physically imposing players for the visit of Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool tomorrow. Victor Anichebe and Lamine Kone were both withdrawn through injury from yesterday's capitulation at Turf Moor.
Kone left the field of play on 24-minutes having collided with an advertising hoarding and Anichebe soon followed - withdrawn at half time with a hamstring injury. Reports this morning have indicated that Anichebe may be missing for at least 3 weeks, but as for Lamine Kone the length of his absence is anyone's guess right now.
The Ivorian centre-half may, or may not, have been due to link up with his Ivory Coast team mates in Abu Dhabi tomorrow as his nation prepares for the African Cup of Nations. Earlier reports had suggested that Premier League players representing the West African country would depart England following tomorrow's New Year round of fixtures, but this has never been confirmed.
The extent of Kone's injury remains unclear. The 27-year-old still has ten or so days to recuperate before being required in Gabon for the African tournament which starts on the 14th January. It seems unlikely he will be anywhere near the Sunderland squad tomorrow.
Victor Anichebe has history with hamstring injuries. He missed the early part of the season - when he arrived on a free transfer at the Stadium of Light in September - through a hamstring problem; and his latter days at West Bromwich Albion were blighted by lay-offs with the same issue.
Moyes has confirmed this morning on SAFC.com that the Nigerian striker is almost certainly out of tomorrow's clash with Liverpool saying on the injury situation after the Burnley game, "Victor's looked like a hamstring so that would rule him out if that's the case".
Jason Denayer was a casualty before yesterday's demolition at the hands of the Clarets. The 21-year-old Belgian also suffered a pull to his hamstring, though the Sunderland boss has confirmed that a scan revealed no damage.
With our dreadful options in the middle of the park and the likes of Sebastian Larsson and Steven Pienaar labouring in that position at Turf Moor, Denayer's energy would be a welcome addition up against a slick, dynamic Liverpool side who could likely tear us apart at will if they're on fire and who are fresh from an enormous victory against Manchester City.
Indeed, the extent of the problems facing Moyes has been exposed by his comments in the wake of defeat in which he claimed neither Pienaar or Jack Rodwell - who has been out for a number of weeks - "weren't ready to play against Burnley", but that "we wanted to include them and get them ready for some of the games coming up".
The stark question which immediately springs to mind then - why on earth did the Sunderland manager replace the departing Anichebe with Steven Pienaar for the second half, if the South African had been deemed to be "not ready" before the game?
Especially when Moyes had Wahbi Khazri sitting there as a forlorn unused spectator. NewsWipe is already dreading the look of the Sunderland teamsheet tomorrow.