Dec 30, 2015

    Reds won't take it easy on Sunderland


    JURGEN Klopp insists Liverpool will not take Premier League strugglers Sunderland lightly after ending high-flying Leicester City's long unbeaten run.

    Liverpool became the first side to stop Leicester scoring in the league this season as Claudio Ranieri's team were beaten 1-0 at Anfield on Saturday - their first defeat since September.

    That was Liverpool's first win in five games and they go to Sunderland today on the back of successive away defeats in the Premier League.

    Reds manager Klopp therefore insists his side have no right to take anything for granted, despite Sunderland's position in the relegation zone and their chastening 4-1 defeat at Manchester City in their last game.

    "There's no doubt about the quality of the players, the character. What we have to create is a stable level of performance," Klopp said. "We have to go to Sunderland and be concentrated from the first second, like we were against Leicester.

    "We want to win at Sunderland. We want to develop and get more points in these very important moments in the league."

    Klopp expects a strong Sunderland reaction to their defeat at City as the Wearside side scrap for survival and will prepare his players for a physical battle.

    "I think second balls will be a big thing to think about for Sunderland. They will go back to their roots. We know what is waiting for us."

    Liverpool will not rush back striker Daniel Sturridge, who has returned to training following his latest four-match injury absence with a hamstring strain. Winger Jordon Ibe could return following illness, but defender Martin Skrtel and midfielder James Milner are still missing.

    Meanwhile, Sunderland manager Sam Allardyce admits that he is taking a risk by turning to veteran defender Wes Brown.

    Former England international Brown is set for only his second appearance since May, with his most recent coming in last month's 6-2 defeat at Everton.

    The 36-year-old is on standby to replace former Manchester United teammate John O'Shea, who is struggling with a calf problem picked up in the City defeat that left the Black Cats second-bottom.

    "We'd have to play a different way and play a certain system to use Wes' experience and also give him a little bit of protection," said Allardyce. "We know that he's getting a little bit older and he's not quite as quick as he used to be."

    Sunderland have lost their last four games to leave them five points adrift of safety.