SAFC v Spurs

Manager previews Anfield test

by Kate Smith

Sunderland kick off 2013 with a trip to Anfield to face Liverpool.

The Reds welcome Martin O’Neill’s side to Anfield on the back of their weekend victory over QPR in the capital, whilst the Black Cats slipped to defeat at the hands of Tottenham.

The two teams come head to head on Wednesday 2 January in a 7.45pm kick off.

Anfield is a great place to go and a great stadium for us to play football.

- Martin O'Neill

Ahead of the fixture, Sunderland boss O’Neill commented: “Naturally it’s a difficult trip for us.

“Anfield is a great place to go and a great stadium for us to play football. We might be able to get a lift from that.

“It’s a tough place to start the year.”

The Liverpool game completes a difficult triumvirate of festive fixtures for Sunderland, having been pitted against reigning champions Manchester City, high-flying Spurs and a New Year trip to Merseyside.

O’Neill has been buoyed by his team’s recent form, with a determined Boxing Day performance seeing them take three points against Manchester City and despite conceding two goals against Tottenham, the Black Cats acquitted themselves very well against Andre Villas Boas’ free-scoring Spurs.

“We can draw comfort from these last two games.” O’Neill added.

“The commitment of the team was very strong and there’s plenty of spirit there as was displayed in the last two games.”

O’Neill singled out Reds danger man Luis Suarez as a one to watch when Sunderland face Liverpool, after the 25 year-old inspired his team to victory over QPR with an early brace to take his top-flight goal tally to 11 for the season so far.

“Liverpool are a fine side with some good players,” O’Neill continued.” They’re just finding their feet at the minute and they’ve got a real calibre of player at their disposal in Luis Suarez.

“It will be a difficult test.”