After the weekly madness that seemed to accompany fiery Italian manager Paolo Di Canio, the Stadium of Light seems a calmer place for the time being as Kevin Ball takes to the Sunderland dugout for the second time in the Premier League.
Ball led the Black Cats to an assured midweek League Cup victory over Peterborough, and he is expected to name a similar side for the visit of fifth-placed Liverpool.
Steven Fletcher remains unavailable after dislocating his shoulder against West Brom, and on-loan Fabio Borini is ineligible for the game against his parent club.
Luis Suarez will return to Premier League action for the first time since biting Branislav Ivanovic last April, as the Reds seek to recapture their early form of the campaign.
Brendan Rogers has a long injury list which includes Phillipe Coutinho, Glen Johnson, Joe Allen and Ally Cissokho, while Daniel Agger will face a late fitness test.
However Martin Kelly could return to the Liverpool line-up for the first time in over a year, after finally making a return from a ruptured cruciate ligament against Man United in midweek.
PAST THREE MEETINGS…
Liverpool 3 (Sterling, Suarez 2) Sunderland 0, Premier League, January 2013
Sunderland 1 (Fletcher) Liverpool 1 (Suarez), Premier League, September 2012
Sunderland 1 (Bendtner) Liverpool 0, Premier League, March 2012
Kevin Ball is taking charge of Sunderland as caretaker manager for the second time, with his other spell coming in 2006. The club have now had 11 managers in the past 10 years.
Sunderland have conceded 3 goals in each of their last 3 games in the Premier League and are yet to score more than once in a fixture.
Luis Suarez has scored 5 times in the 5 games in which he has played for Liverpool against Sunderland.
Liverpool are on a three game streak without a win, and have yet to score a single goal in the second 45 minutes of a match this season.
Sunderland to win: 5.7
Liverpool to win: 1.73
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