Liverpool face a difficult trip to the Stadium of Light on Saturday as they try to keep their Premier League title hopes alive against a dangerous Sunderland side who have made a solid start to the season. The top two league goal scorers this season, Fernando Torres and Darren Bent, will go head to head in a match that Liverpool need a positive result from to limit the points gap between them and Chelsea and Manchester United at the top of the table. The following three player battles will be key in determining which team comes out on top:
Darren Bent v Jamie Carragher – A battle of players in contrasting form. Bent has hit the ground running at his new club, forming a good partnership with Kenwyne Jones and he continues to be a constant goal threat, scoring seven goals in eight games in the league this season. Carragher on the other hand has recently admitted to fatigue and the amount of games he has played over the past couple of seasons seem to have caught up with him as his usually high standard of performance is starting to drop. But Carra has vowed to recapture his best form and is vital in helping Liverpool to rediscover their defensive strength.
Lee Cattermole v Steven Gerrard – There is a lot of hype surrounding Lee Cattermole and I am yet to be fully convinced by his ability, but this is the perfect chance for him to show his doubters what he can do. He is being touted as a future England international, but will have to face up against one of the best players in the Premier League at the weekend. Gerrard is Liverpool’s key player and the hub of the team through which most of their play goes through. If Cattermole manages to keep Gerrard quiet throughout the game then I think that it will go a long way to Sunderland getting a positive result and prove that Cattermole is a high quality holding midfield player.
Anton Ferdinand v Fernando Torres – This season Torres, the Premier League Player of the Month for September and the league’s top goal scorer with eight goals, has continued to run defences ragged and this weekend will be no different. Ferdinand whose confidence may have been knocked after scoring a comical own goal against Manchester United in his last match will have his work cut out to keep the Spaniard off the score sheet. If Ferdinand doesn’t get to grips with Torres early in the game, then he may be chasing shadows for the full 90 minutes.
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