Sunderland v Liverpool

Barclays Premier League
Venue: Stadium of Light Date: Saturday, 17 October 2009 Kick-off: 1500 BST
Coverage: BBC Sport website, BBC Radio 5 Live, Final Score, full match commentary on BBC Radio Merseyside 95.8 FM & highlights on Match of the Day


Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres
The loss of Gerrard and Torres will be a big blow to Liverpool

New Sunderland signing Bolo Zenden will make his debut against his former club after gaining international clearance.

But the Black Cats will be without Kieran Richardson, who is suspended after his red card at Old Trafford.

Liverpool will be without Steven Gerrard (groin) and Fernando Torres (abdomen) after the pair were injured during the midweek internationals.

Defender Sotirios Kyrgiakos faces a lengthy lay-off after injuring his knee in Greece’s win over Luxembourg.

Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez said: “They [Gerrard and Torres] are both at roughly the same stage of their recovery, they are close, but they will not be ready for this match.

“We are hoping both players are ready for the Champions League game against Lyon at Anfield on Tuesday.

“These international breaks are always difficult for club managers, you just have to hope your players come back safely.”

Black Cats manager Steve Bruce says he did not have to think too much about signing Zenden.

“He is technically very, very good – you don’t play for Barcelona and Liverpool and Marseille and Chelsea and all of those teams if you haven’t got really good ability,” said Bruce.

“He will give us that little bit of experience, that know-how, and also around the dressing room with the younger lads too, he is everything I hoped he would be.”


Suspended: Richardson (1 match)

Doubtful: None Injured: None


Suspended: None Doubtful: None

Injured: Aquilani (ankle), Kyrgiakos (knee), Gerrard (groin), Torres (abdomen)


Sunderland manager Steve Bruce surprised many by awarding substitute David Beckham the man-of-the-match award after England’s 3-0 win over Belarus on Wednesday.

If we play like we did at Old Trafford we have a hell of a chance
Sunderland manager Steve Bruce

But Bruce and his Sunderland team have been full of surprises all season, holding Manchester United to a 2-2 draw at Old Trafford last time out. A win on Saturday would put them above Liverpool and on the brink of the top four.

Rafa Benitez was warned over his future conduct by the FA this week but the Liverpool manager’s main concern is how to get his side back in the title race. They’ve already lost more games this season than in the whole of the 2008/09 campaign.

If there’s a team Liverpool have enjoyed playing in recent years though, it’s Sunderland. The Reds have won their last six Premier League matches against them without conceding a goal.



• Sunderland have beaten Liverpool just once in 16 Premier League meetings. Liverpool have won ten and there have been five draws.

• Liverpool have won their last six games against Sunderland without conceding a goal.

• It is nine hours and five minutes since Sunderland last scored against Liverpool. Michael Proctor got the goal in a 2-1 win in December 2002.



• Have won their last four home games in all competitions, scoring 13 goals.

• Darren Bent has scored in Sunderland’s last four league matches.

• Steve Bruce could record an unwelcome century this weekend, having lost 99 Premier League games as manager.


• Haven’t lost back-to-back matches since December 2007, when beaten by Reading and Manchester United.

• Yossi Benayoun, Ryan Babel and Javier Mascherano have all made 99 appearances for Liverpool.

• Liverpool have had more shots on target (91) than any other club this season.

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