COMMENT by Amir Mir
Sunderland travel to Anfield on Saturday afternoon to take on Jurgen Klopp’s high flying Liverpool.
The Reds are one point behind leaders Chelsea in the Premier League table, while the Black Cats are three points from survival after 12 games.
Despite recording back-to-back wins in recent weeks, David Moyes’ side face a stern test at the weekend against a Liverpool team that has scored a league high of 30 goals this term.
Here, Football Insider analyses the three key players for the away side at Anfield at the weekend:
To score seven goals in 12 Premier League games in a struggling team this season is a remarkable return for a striker.
It goes to show how dangerous Defoe is and how closely he will need to be monitored by the home defence at Anfield on Saturday.
Liverpool will no doubt dominate possession, but the away side will still pose a threat on the break and in particular be reliant on Defoe’s ability to finish in and around the penalty area.
Centre-back Kone will have to lead from the back to ensure Moyes’ side frustrate the home team at Anfield.
Kone cannot afford to slip-up or else the Black Cats will be in for a long afternoon as they have already conceded 21 goals this season.
The Ivory Coast international has the speed and strength to come toe-to-toe with the Reds attackers and he must display those qualities at the weekend, if Sunderland are to come away with any points.
The 22-year-old goalkeeper has been in outstanding form this season and he must display those performances against Liverpool.
Pickford has only kept one clean sheet in ten league games, which in truth does not show how important he has been for Sunderland.
He will face a flurry of shots against an attacking Reds side and Pickford is fully aware that despite his side’s frailties in defence, his shot stopping can keep Sunderland in the game.
In other Liverpool news, Michael Owen has backed his former side to beat Sunderland on Saturday.