Martin O'Neill

Liverpool v Sunderland Preview

by Stuart Vose

We look ahead to Wednesday's game at Anfield.

Sunderland kick off 2013 by heading to Anfield tomorrow looking to continue their recent spell of good form.

The Black Cats have won three of their last five games, including a fine 1-0 victory over champions Manchester City on Boxing Day.

That triumph was followed by a narrow loss to Tottenham Hotspur as Sunderland went down 2-1 despite taking the lead.

Now they face a Liverpool side looking for traction with boss Brendan Rodgers targeting a consistent run over the course of the second half of the season.

The Reds have alternated a win and a loss over the course of their last five games, ending the year in ninth position with 28 points from 20 games.

However, only Manchester United have won more of their last six games than Liverpool, who have triumphed on four occasions.

Rodgers' last matchday of 2012 was remarkable, with the former Swansea boss missing his side's match at QPR after being struck by a virus.

However, the players were in fine fettle as they scored three first-half goals to secure a comfortable 3-0 win at Loftus Road.

They were inspired by Luis Suarez, who scored twice to take his season's tally to 16 from 26 games.

The dangerous Uruguayan has been one of the league's best players this season, averaging 12.2 touches per game in the opposition's penalty area. No other player has managed more than 7.3.

The win was a timely boost for the Merseyside club, who suffered a 3-1 defeat at Stoke in their previous outing.

Sunderland, who kept a joint league high 15 clean sheets in 2012, head south looking for a first win at Anfield since October 1983.

Liverpool have won four, drawn three and lost three of their 10 home games this season, scoring 14 goals and conceding 10.

The Black Cats claimed a 1-1 draw in this fixture last season as Seb Larsson scored a spectacular equaliser on his Sunderland debut after Suarez had opened the scoring.

The corresponding fixture at the Stadium of Light earlier in the current campaign also ended 1-1, with Suarez again notching as he cancelled out Steven Fletcher's goal.

The two sides have met 159 times in all competitions, with Liverpool holding the advantage with 72 wins to Sunderland's 52. A further 35 games have ended in draws.