January 2, 2013
Liverpool bug kept at bay
Team Stat Comparison
|Goals for *||1.7||1.1|
|Goals against *||0.8||1.8|
|Last 5 home||W-D-D-D-W||D-D-W-L-D|
|Last 5 away||W-W-D-W-L||L-L-W-L-L|
|* Goals per match - home matches for home club and away matches for away club|
|Stats: Liverpool | Sunderland|
|3/16||A: Manchester United||3/15||H: Crystal Palace|
|3/22||A: Cardiff City||3/22||A: Norwich City|
|3/26||H: Sunderland||3/26||A: Liverpool|
|3/30||H: Tottenham Hotspur||3/31||H: West Ham United|
|4/6||A: West Ham United||4/7||A: Tottenham Hotspur|
Liverpool defender Jose Enrique will miss the visit of Sunderland with a hamstring injury.
Winger Stewart Downing, who has filled in at left-back previously, may be asked to provide cover again.
Illness has been sweeping through the camp but the club are confident of keeping infection down to a minimum after midfielder Jordan Henderson and back-up goalkeeper Brad Jones were affected prior to Sunday's win over QPR.
Manager Brendan Rodgers expects to be back in the dug-out after being struck down.
Most of the team who were involved at Loftus Road were given a day off on Monday and all media activity ahead of the midweek game was cancelled as the club tried to keep the Melwood training ground off-limits to prevent further cross-infection.
The club are confident their methods will reduce the chances of other players being affected.
Henderson returned to the starting line-up for a league match for the first time in a month and admitted he was not prepared to give up his chance just because of illness.
"I was close to not playing. I had a bad stomach and was sick on Saturday night, which is unusual for me,'' he said.
"I caught the bug a few people and the boss got, but I love playing football and I want to play every chance I get for this club.
"There's a lot of competition for places, so when you are given the opportunity you can't let anything get in the way. So I was pleased to be able to play.
"The coaches just said to me see how I felt in the warm-up. I felt okay so I managed to play for an hour which I'm pleased with.''
Sunderland manager Martin O'Neill will be without defender John O'Shea.
The Republic of Ireland international damaged a hamstring during Saturday's 2-1 home defeat by Tottenham, in which he had earlier given the Black Cats the lead, and is ruled out.
Full-back Danny Rose returns to the squad after being ineligible against his parent club, but skipper Lee Cattermole and central defender Wes Brown (both knee) remain on the sidelines.
O'Neill has admitted he could allow forgotten man Ji Dong-won to go out on loan.
The 21-year-old South Korea international has become an increasingly peripheral figure at the Stadium of Light, although he was included among the substitutes for Saturday's 2-1 Barclays Premier League defeat by Tottenham.
However, amid speculation that former club Chunnam Dragons may be keen to take him back, O'Neill has revealed he will look at the options next month, but only after he has completed his efforts to strengthen his existing squad during the winter transfer window.
Ji announced himself in style on Wearside on New Year's Day last year when he came off the bench to score the goal which condemned Manchester City to a 1-0 defeat.
The manager said: "There have been a number of enquiries about not only Ji, but a number of our players, and I am unable to tell you anything at this minute.
"All I can say just from the general viewpoint is it's been a frustrating time for him just recently.
"He played in the Olympics, he didn't always start the games, I know, for South Korea, but perhaps after that goal against Manchester City a year ago, maybe he was hoping it would be lift-off time for him.
"He's found it difficult, he's found it difficult to cope with the physical aspect of the game.
"But he has natural talent and it's really up to him. But if there was a possibility of a loan spell perhaps, I will give it some consideration.
"I can't really consider that at this minute until we look to see what we might be able to do with incoming players.''