AFTER dominating but losing last weekend against Arsenal the Carling Cup holders Liverpool are in desperate need of a win today at Sunderland. They start the second game in a row without Gerrard, Johnson or Agger, although the captain does at least make the bench today.
Martin Kelly keeps his place at right back in Johnson’s absence but Jamie Carragher has been dropped to the bench. Sebastian Coates starts in Carra’s place, allowing Skrtel to play on the right side of central defence, the position he usually takes up when Agger is fit.
Jordon Henderson starts at his old ground, joined in midfield by Charlie Adam and Jay Spearing. We’ll have to wait and see where Bellamy and Kuyt start, but Luis Suarez is up front against a team he’s scored against on both occasions he’s played against them.
Former Reds centre-back Soto Kyrgiakos is on the bench for home side who have had a change of manager since the Anfield meeting at the start of the season. Martin O’Neill replaced Steve Bruce, who was manager in 2009 when the beachball goal was scored.
Sunderland are missing captain Steve Cattermole and Stephane Sessegnon, both red-carded last weekend in the local derby with Newcastle.
John O’Shea, who is expected to play with a protective cast on his hand, takes the Sunderland arm-band. Pepe Reina is Liverpool’s captain for the day, at least as long as Carra and Gerrard stay on the bench.
Sunderland: Mignolet, Bardsley, Bridge, Turner, O’Shea (c), Larsson, McClean, Colback, Gardner, Campbell, Bendtner.
Subs: Kyrgiakos, Kilgallon, Vaughan, Meyler, Wickham, Elmohamady, Gordon.
Liverpool: Reina (c), Kelly, Skrtel, Coates, Enrique, Henderson, Spearing, Adam, Bellamy, Kuyt, Suarez.
Subs: Gerrard, Carroll, Rodriguez, Downing, Carragher, Flanagan, Doni.
Referee: Anthony Taylor (Manchester)
UK: Not being shown live.
US: FoxSoccer.TV (online, sub required *).
Radio: City Talk 105.9 (UK only).
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