Premier League Preview: Liverpool v Sunderland
By Football News
Free-scoring Liverpool can move within one point of Premier League leaders Chelsea if they beat Sunderland at Anfield on Wednesday.
Liverpool fans are dreaming of their 19th English top-flight title - and first since 1990 - after a run of six successive league wins.
Brendan Rodgers' team have scored 24 goals in the process of those victories - taking their total for the season to 82 in just 30 games - and their 6-3 win at Cardiff City on Saturday showed they have the mettle required for a title fight.
Twice they came from behind in an enthralling encounter, and Rodgers has called on the club's supporters to create a special atmosphere for the Sunderland clash as they return to home soil for the first time in a month.
"We're really looking forward to playing at Anfield now on Wednesday night," Rodgers told Liverpool's official website.
"Hopefully the supporters can really get behind the team well before kick-off, get the atmosphere revved up for the game and we'll look to continue on this great run. As you can see, we believe we can perform well and get results."
Uruguay forward Luis Suarez again stole the headlines at Cardiff, scoring a hat-trick to take his tally to 28 goals in just 25 Premier League appearances this season.
He is comfortably ahead of his nearest rival in the scoring charts - team-mate Daniel Sturridge with 19 - and was the main man in Liverpool's 3-1 win at Sunderland in September.
Making his Premier League return from his 10-match suspension for biting Chelsea's Branislav Ivanovic, Suarez scored twice in his first appearance in the competition for over five months.
It was no surprise to see Sturridge score Liverpool's other goal in that win, and the partnership between the pair has been one of the main reasons for Liverpool's success.
Rodgers also has a relatively clean bill of health coming into the business end of the season, with just defenders Sebastian Coates and Jose Enrique (both knee) missing.
Lucas and Mamadou Sakho have recently returned from knee and hamstring injuries respectively and will look to play a big part in the title run-in.
Sunderland's form, meanwhile, is in stark contrast to that of their hosts, with the relegation-threatened Wearsiders winless in their last four Premier League outings.
Gus Poyet's 18th-placed side have not responded from their League Cup final defeat to Manchester City and slumped to a 2-0 loss at Norwich City on Saturday.
They remain three points adrift of safety, but do have up to three games in hand on their relegation rivals.
Sunderland could be without striker Steven Fletcher (ankle) again, and they recalled England Under-21 forward Connor Wickham from his loan spell at Leeds United on Monday.
Goalkeeper Keiren Westwood remains on the sidelines with a shoulder injury for Sunderland, who have not won at Anfield since 1983-84 - a season in which Liverpool went on to win the league.