Sunderland star ready for Sterling challenge

Sunderland's Danny Rose tangles with Liverpool's Raheem Sterling
Sunderland's Danny Rose tangles with Liverpool's Raheem Sterling
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DANNY ROSE is eager to resume hostilities with Liverpool starlet Raheem Sterling tonight.

Rose made his Sunderland debut in September’s 1-1 draw with the Merseysiders at the Stadium of Light and enjoyed a tough baptism against England winger Sterling.

The on-loan Spurs left-back, who has played alongside Sterling for England Under-21s this season, managed to contain the 17-year-old during the opening 45 minutes of the encounter.

But when Rose’s lack of match fitness took its toll in the second half, Sterling began to thrive and punished the Sunderland defender in the build-up to Luis Suarez’s equaliser.

Since then though, Rose has developed into a key figure for the Black Cats and hopes his return to the side can correspond with a fruitful result against inconsistent Liverpool in tonight’s Anfield encounter.

“My first game here was against Liverpool and I had a good battle with Sterling,” said Rose.

“I’m looking forward to round two and hopefully I can get the better of him.

“Sterling is a handful and I’ll be looking forward to playing against him again and hopefully I can come out on top.

“No matter what their form is, Liverpool have still got some very good footballers and they keep the ball for large parts of the game so we have to go there and try to be patient and catch them on the break.

“But their results haven’t gone as Liverpool would like this season.”

Tonight’s game marks the fourth Premier League encounter in 11 days for Martin O’Neill’s men, who looked fatigued in the second half of last weekend’s defeat to Spurs.

Sunderland still have another game to go in their festive schedule after tonight too, with the Wearsiders heading to Championship Bolton in Saturday’s FA Cup third round tie.

But Rose revealed Sunderland’s players have been promised a breather after their cup duties and hopes they can reach the finishing line positively.

“The Christmas schedule is very demanding and the coaching staff know that as well,” added the 22-year-old, who was ineligible to face parent club Spurs.

“They’ve said if we can get over the finishing line against Bolton, they’ll give us a few days off.

“Perhaps tiredness told towards the end of the game on Saturday.

“Playing Man City as well on Boxing Day, was very hard and that took a lot out of the lads.”