Sunderland preparing an attacking game plan for visit of Liverpool

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Sunderland could be preparing to take the game to Liverpool when the two sides meet at the Stadium of Light on Saturday lunchtime.

The return to fitness of midfielders Ricky Alvarez and Emanuele Giaccherini will help Gus Poyet try and take more risks going forward and knock their reputation as the draw specialists.

And with Patrick van Aanholt and Billy Jones also available for the game you would expect the Black Cats to make a lot of runs in wide areas, in an attempt to feed either Steven Fletcher and Connor Wickham.

Scrappy Liverpool

The Black Cats will certainly need to bring something to the table if they want to stop Liverpool continuing their vastly-improved run of six undefeated games.

But that stat doesn’t take into account how difficult Liverpool have made life for themselves in recent weeks, scrapping to a 2-1 win at AFC Wimbledon on Monday night and also squandering a two goal home lead to Leicester on New Year’s Day.

Opening for Gerrard

The absence of Lee Cattermole and Jack Rodwell through injuries could mean open the door for another impressive Steven Gerrard performance, though, who has now scored four goals in two games since announcing his decision to leave the club.

With Adam Lallana out through injury Lazar Markovic is expected to start again and Raheem Sterling may have to continue duties as a makeshift striker as Rickie Lambert looked sluggish in Monday’s cup-tie.

The reverse fixture finished 0-0 at Anfield earlier this season but both sides have shown enough in recent weeks to suggest that there could be goals in this one.

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