Liverpool have been consistently inconsistent since Jürgen Klopp arrived to replace Brendan Rodgers, and a defeat to league leaders Leicester City last time out has left the Merseysiders down in eighth place. They'll certainly be expecting to get back to winning ways at home to Sunderland on Saturday, but with Liverpool having remarkably won only four of their 11 games at Anfield so far this season, it wouldn't come as a surprise if they struggled.
Sunderland head into this match in deep trouble near the bottom of the table. Despite hiring the Premier League's Steady Eddy, Sam Allardyce, the Black Cats are a fundamentally poor team. They find themselves four points adrift of safety and head into this match having failed to win any of their last three. If they're to avoid the drop, they're going to have to pull off yet another dramatic escape. They've still got time to pull things around, but it's fast running out.
Key player: Jan Kirchhoff (Sunderland)
Sunderland strengthened their terrible defense in January by signing Bayern Munich's forgotten man Jan Kirchhoff. The former German youth international has been stationed in defensive midfield since arriving in England, and Allardyce has lauded his own tactical ingenuity in subsequent press conferences. There's no doubt that if they're to avoid conceding at Anfield, Kirchhoff will have to deliver a strong performance.
If Sunderland are to win this match, they'll have to defy recent history. Liverpool have won all but one of their last six meetings with the Black Cats, and Sunderland haven't beaten the Merseysiders since 2012. Even more remarkably, they are winless at Anfield since a 1-0 win back in 1983. That day, a penalty from Gary Rowell was enough to secure a young Black Cats side a narrow victory against a star-studded Liverpool team containing Graeme Souness, Ian Rush, Kenny Dalglish, Alan Hansen and Mark Lawrenson.
Liverpool injuries and suspensions
Out: Joe Gomez, Danny Ings, Divock Origi (knee); Daniel Sturridge, Jordan Rossiter, Martin Škrtel (hamstring). In doubt: Philippe Coutinho (hamstring).
Sunderland injuries and suspensions
Out: Adam Matthews (ankle); Sebastian Larsson (knee). In doubt: Younès Kaboul (hamstring).
Liverpool still have a long injury list, including striker Sturridge and center back Škrtel. However, Klopp will be hoping to have playmaker Coutinho back from a hamstring injury.
Sunderland will still be without fullback Matthews and midfielder Larsson, though veteran center back Kaboul could be available after a hamstring problem.
Match date/time: Saturday, 10 a.m. ET, 3 p.m. local
Venue: Anfield, Liverpool, England
TV: TSN, RDS (Canada)
Online: NBC Sports Live Extra (U.S. - English); NBC Deportes En Vivo Extra (U.S. - Spanish)