LIVERPOOL narrowly missed out on the title last season, but this weekend’s opponents are nowhere near as good this time around.
However, any team who lose a world-class player like Luis Suarez and also Daniel Sturridge through injury, is going to suffer.
I’m looking forward to seeing ex-Sunderland players Jordan Henderson and Simon Mignolet returning to the Stadium of Light, although the two have had differing fortunes this season.
Henderson is firmly established in the Liverpool team, to such an extent that Brendan Rodgers rarely leaves him out, and he usually takes the captain’s armband if Steven Gerrard isn’t present.
Mignolet, on the other hand, has had a torrid season with heavy criticism of his performances coming from fans and media pundits, and it’s only an injury to Brad Jones that has got him back in the team.
In Mignolet’s last season at Sunderland, he was outstanding and nobody did more to keep them up, making crucial saves that won his team points.
He also started his Liverpool career well, so it’s difficult to work out why it’s gone wrong for him this campaign, but if an opposition goalkeeper is struggling for confidence, then Sunderland should put him under pressure, whether he is a former favourite or not.
Another player with Sunderland connections who could feature is Fabio Borini, who had a successful season-long loan spell, where he scored some crucial goals and played a key role in the Great Escape.
Borini then became the most talked about non-signing of the summer, as his on-off transfer turned into a soap opera before he finally decided to stay at Anfield.
Sunderland badly let down their fans in the last home league game against Hull City, but three points against Liverpool would go some way to making up for that Boxing Day defeat.