- Liverpool has won last 3 trips to Sunderland
- Sunderland has conceded 11 goals in last 5 matches
- Liverpool on club-record point total after 19 games
2nd and 18th meet with very different goals as Liverpool travels to the Stadium of Light to take on Sunderland (Watch live at 10:00 a.m. ET live on NBCSN or live online via NBCSports.com).
For Sunderland, it’s been feast or famine the last two months, and mostly famine. They have four wins since the start of November, but the rest have all been losses. Nevertheless, with Crystal Palace falling to Arsenal on Sunday, the chance is there to not only beat a top team but also pull themselves out of the relegation zone.
[ MORE: JPW’s PL picks for Matchweek 20 ]
From the other end of the table, things have been gravy for Liverpool of late. Four wins in a row has Liverpool rolling, on a club-record point total at this point in any Premier League season with 43. Adam Lallana already has more assists than he ever has in a season, and Ragnar Klavan has quietly turned the Reds’ leaky defense into a team strength. If this is how they look without Philippe Coutinho, they could be truly dominant when he returns.
All that would come crashing down, however, should they stumble against a bottom club. They still have a six-point gap to make up behind a historic Chelsea season, and they must not drop points if they hope to stay within reach.
What they’re saying
Sunderland manager David Moyes on transfer window: “We’ll see what we can do. It’s difficult. It will even be difficult to attract the players. We need to say, ‘We need you’.”
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp on the match importance: “No excuses for no-one – that’s how everyone wants it. We have to deliver – and we will deliver. It was very important we won against City. It would be really hard to go to Sunderland if you got nothing so we will go there and play our best.”
The top teams have had no problem with lower-level sides this season, and this match should be no different. If it’s anything like Tottenham’s trip to play Watford, it will get out of hand in a hurry. 3-0 or 4-0 is reasonable for this one.
Goals from Mohamed Salah and Philippe Coutinho helped Liverpool come back from an early deficit to win the PL Asia Trophy on Saturday in Hong Kong.
Islam Slimani gave Leicester City an early lead in front of a heavy pro-Liverpool crowd at Hong Kong Stadium, but Coutinho delivered the goods on both goals in a 2-1 win.
The tournament win is Liverpool’s first in its second trip to the PL Asia Trophy Final.
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First he crossed for Salah to head home, and then he scored the above goal by cutting in from the left and lashing a shot past a flailing Kasper Schmeichel.
We’ve seen this one before from Coutinho, just not on this particular continent. The Brazilian remains a Barcelona target, but looks prepared for the season in whatever land he sets foot.
Neymar and Alexis Sanchez to Paris? Brazil and Chile’s finest living as one? Reunited and it feels so French?
The latter’s talents will see Arsenal’s resolve tested by a $46 million bid, according to Sky Sports, though Gunners manager Arsene Wenger has been adamant that Sanchez will not be sold this summer.
Reports circled last year that Arsenal was prepared to offer Sanchez and Mesut Ozil record deals to stay at the club, though PSG has reportedly met with Sanchez and his agent with ideas of incredible $650,000 per week wages at the Parc des Princes.
[ EXCLUSIVE: Strootman talks Roma w/ PST ]
A source also told Sky Sports that it would take “a miracle” for Neymar to remain at Barcelona, so that Sanchez/Edinson Cavani/Neymar trident could be coming to a theater near you.
Southampton manager Mauricio Pellegrino is hopeful of convincing Virgil Van Dijk to stay at St. Mary’s, but for now he’s been forced to ask the defender to take time away from the club.
Van Dijk, hopeful to engineer a move to a UEFA Champions League club, has not been in the preferred mental state for Pellegrino.
“When I was talking with him, the boy said that he is not available to play because he wants to leave. I need to work with a player that works at 100 percent to defend Southampton. This is the decision. I had to say: ‘OK, if you don’t want to be involved because you don’t feel OK, you have to train alone until this period of time.'”
Liverpool publicly ended their interest in Van Dijk following Southampton complaints, and the club maintains it will not sell the influential center back.
West Ham’s loan move for Joe Hart could see both of its 2016-17 goalkeepers leaving the London Stadium. Multiple reports say Darren Randolph could be off to Middlesbrough, with Adrian also heading to the Northeast to play for countryman Rafa Benitez at Newcastle.
Goals from Luka Milivojevic and Bakary Sako led Crystal Palace to a 2-0 win over West Bromwich Albion in the third place game of the PL Asia Trophy.
Palace had lost 2-0 to Liverpool in its semifinal, while West Brom fell to Leicester City in penalty kicks after trading goals over 90 minutes.
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Milivojevic’s free kick, won by Wilfried Zaha, was super. Whipped in with force and a wicked curl, Baggies keeper Ben Foster didn’t have a chance to reach it with his dive.
Sako created his goal with a darting move off a long dribble, though it needed a pair of deflections to get behind Foster.
The Baggies had their chances, and Julian Speroni made an outstanding save on Matty Phillips late in the match.
Goals from Bakary Sako and Luka Milivojevic spearheaded Crystal Palace’s 2-0 win over West Bromwich Albion in the PL Asia Trophy third place game, and now Liverpool and Leicester City tangle for the title.
The final will be staged at 8:30 a.m. ET, when Liverpool will hope to build on a 2-0 semifinal win paced by Divock Origi and Dominic Solanke goals.
[ LIVE: Stream PL Asia Trophy here ]
West Brom lost to Leicester City in its semifinal when youngster Sam Field missed the side’s seventh attempt in penalty kicks. Jay Rodriguez scored the Baggies goal in regulation of a 1-1 draw.
Here are the lineups for Leicester City and Liverpool: