Friday 19th August 2005
LIVERPOOL v SUNDERLAND
Saturday 20th August
LIVERPOOL play their first home Premiership match, but third game of the season at Anfield. Their opponents, the newly promoted Sunderland, have not won in the top flight since beating the Merseysiders 2-1 at the Stadium of Light on 15 December 2002, when Gavin McCann and Michael Proctor were on target.
The European champions, who entertain CSKA Sofia on Tuesday and look all but assured of Champions League qualification, were unable to get past a ten-man Middlesbrough at the Riverside last Saturday, and had to be content with a point from a goalless draw. That took their undefeated run in all competitions this term to six games. They've also not been beaten in a home Premiership match since Manchester United recorded a 0-1 success on 15 January.
Four of the five Premiership meetings with Sunderland at Anfield have been stalemates. The Merseysiders hold an unbeaten home Premier League record against the Black Cats.
SUNDERLAND looked sadly lacking when opening their Premiership account with a 1-3 home defeat by a ten-man Charlton side last weekend. The Championship champions go to Anfield in danger of suffering back-to-back defeats for the first time in 52 League outings.
Mick McCarthy's men also carry with them the legacy of their miserable run in the top League three seasons ago. They hold the record for the longest sequence of successive defeats in the English top flight of 16 games. Failure to take maximum points would see them increase their string of matches without victory in the English top division to 22 and rise up to equal seventh in the all-time list alongside Huddersfield, but still well behind Portsmouth's record of 28.
Sunderland won their last meeting with Liverpool just under three years ago. The struggling north east side took advantage of the off form Merseysiders, and missed a penalty into the bargain. The Wearsiders last enjoyed a League maximum on Liverpool turf on 1 October 1983 when they recorded a 0-1 victory.
Unbeaten in eight League and Cup matches spanning last season. Counting the win on penalties over AC Milan in the Champions League final as a victory, the Reds have won seven and drawn one, since losing 3-1 at Arsenal in the Premiership on 8 May.
Lost only one of the last 12 matches in all competitions, taking into account the end of the last campaign.
Undefeated in seven Premiership games at home, winning four and drawing three.
Gone 13 matches since winning by more than a single goal - the longest such sequence currently in the Premier League.
The 3-1 home triumph over Fulham on 5 February was the last occasion a greater than one goal victory was posted.
KEY PLAYER NOTES/POTENTIAL MILESTONES
Steven GERRARD, who's scored seven times already this season, is a double away from bagging 50 club career goals - all for Liverpool.
If on the field for the opening whistle, Jamie CARRAGHER will be making his 350th club career start - all for the Merseysiders.
If selected in the 11, Steve FINNAN will be making his 50th Premiership start for the Reds.
If involved, Luis GARCIA will be making his 50th appearance for the European champions.
If he figures, Florent Sinama PONGOLLE will be making his 50th appearance for the Anfield club.
HEAD TO HEAD TOTALS
HEAD TO HEAD at Liverpool
News report filed by The Editor (Sourced from BBC)