Both Liverpool and Sunderland will be looking forward to getting back to Premier League action on Saturday after suffering midweek defeats in the League Cup.
Liverpool was dumped out of the cup by League Two side Northampton Town on penalties, while Sunderland were knocked out of the competition by Premier League strugglers West Ham United.
It’s been a tough week for the Liverpool squad and their fans after defeat to bitter rivals Manchester United in the Premier League was followed by a humiliating midweek defeat on penalties to Northampton Town in the Carling Cup.
The Reds weren’t at their best against United but Roy Hodgson will take heart from the fight back from his side put up, although he will be concerned that his side conceded a third goal and that all three of United’s goals came from crosses.
Things didn’t get better on Wednesday night when the Cobblers knocked the Reds out of the League Cup. Despite making 11 changes Liverpool fans were expecting a victory but it wasn’t to be as they were outplayed by Northampton, who were deserving of their victory on penalties.
Reds fans will at least be buoyed by their record against Sunderland in the Premier League at Anfield and will hope the return of their more senior players sees an improved performance and a much needed victory.
Sunderland are on a bit of a high in the Premier League at the moment, following their victory over Manchester City, a strong performance against Wigan and their dramatic injury time equalizer against Arsenal.
Confidence was high at the Stadium of Light, but a surprise defeat to West Ham United in the League Cup will have dented that a little.
The form of Darren Bent and Asamoah Gyan will be something Steve Bruce will be happy with — between them the strikers have bagged seven of the eight goals scored by the Black Cats this season. Bruce will be hoping his new look strike partnership continues to flourish as Sunderland go in search of their first victory at Anfield in the Premier League.
Roy Hodgson is expected to recall his senior players for this match and that could mean 11 changes to the side beaten by Northampton Town.
Liverpool fans will be expecting to see Steven Gerrard, Jamie Carragher, Fernando Torres and Joe Cole back in the starting line-up and will hope they can turn around the Reds form.
Potential starting XI: Reina; Johnson, Carragher, Agger, Konchesky; Cole, Poulsen, Meireles, Babel; Gerrard; Torres.
Steve Bruce played a full strength side for the Carling Cup defeat against West Ham so he may not make any changes to his starting line-up.
Captain Lee Cattermole will be available again after serving a one match suspension following his red card against Wigan, however Titus Bramble may not be involved following his recent arrest on suspicion of rape.
Potential starting XI: Mignolet; Onouha, Ferdinand, Bramble, Richardson; Henderson, Cattermole, Riveros, Malbranque; Bent, Gyan.