Martin O'Neill

O'Neill previews Reds clash

by Kate Smith

Manager hoping for good home start.

Martin O’Neill has warned there’s no room to underestimate Liverpool following the Reds’ difficult start to the season.

Brendan Rodgers’ side have taken one point from their first three games and head to the Stadium of Light this weekend following the international break.

However, O’Neill isn’t being swayed by early criticism of the Merseyside club in some quarters, which he describes as “over-exaggerated”.

And he believes the Reds will pose an increasing threat as they get used to life under new manager Rodgers.

“They’ve got loads of quality,” the Sunderland manager explained.

“It’s the nature of the game these days. You can take any set of results – even three hours out of a 10-game period – and say something in particular happened during that time.

“No-one can argue with that because it might be factually correct, but you have to take the bigger picture into consideration.

Liverpool are just settling down. They’ve seemingly had their worst start to the season in a number of years, but it’s over-exaggerated as always.

- Martin O'Neill

“After 11 or 12 games you’ll start to see a picture developing in the league itself, never mind Liverpool, and then you can follow some sort of trend.”

But, turning his attention back to his own side, O’Neill is hoping to set the tone for the home campaign ahead with a confident performance.

“It’s become our first home league fixture, and what a fixture,” he said. “I’m looking forward to it and I’m sure the crowd are as well.

“I obviously want to see us attack, and I think we’re capable of doing that now. In [Adam] Johnson we have a player who can take people on.

“Add that to a fitter Stephane Sessegnon and Steven Fletcher and, if those players stay fit, we have some attacking options I don’t think we possessed last season.

“That is good news for us. 

“I want to get the crowd excited with our play but I can’t dismiss the most important issue of the lot, which is winning football matches.”