Three Changes Forced & The Return Of Jack Rodwell? Team News For Sunderland v Liverpool

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Defeat today will see Sunderland slump down the form table and make it five defeats in six - with only the Watford victory now in recent memory to remind us that hope exists. David Moyes will again likely have three significant changes forced on him thanks to key injuries compounding defeat at Burnley. More lay-offs have enveloped Wearside in a growing dread about the visit of Liverpool, but, where he who dares wins Rodney - will we see the return of Jack Rodwell today?
 

Lamine Kone and Victor Anichebe were the two killer casualties from the New Years Eve debacle at Turf Moor. Both suffered hamstring problems during the game with Jason Denayer ruled out prior to kick-off with a similar problem. 

Kone is the most straight forward to replace - if he doesn't make it - with John O'Shea a certainty to continue alongside Papy Djilobodji, as he did for three-quarters of Saturday's game. With a bit of luck David Moyes will have introduced John to Papy this morning as the two looked as if they had only just met when they came together at Burnley. 

Speaking of hamstring injuries - Jack Rodwell returned to the bench for the trip to Burnley having missed the last two months with the very same thing.  The 25-year-old joined Steven Pienaar as a substitute, with the South African also having been absent for a few weeks with a calf problem. 

Moyes suggested that neither Pienaar or Rodwell were "ready" for the starting eleven at Turf Moor, but that he had included them as preparation for upcoming games - with the elder of the pair introduced at half-time for the withdrawn Victor Anichebe. The 34-year-old looked rusty as a result and his clumsy surrender of possession by stumbling over the ball gave Burnley possession to score their third and killer goal. 

The Sunderland boss is unlikely to have transformed into someone a little more adventurous for 2017, however, and the visit of Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool side - who are flying thanks to victory over Manchester City on Saturday - will see Moyes aiming to keep things as tight as possible. So, Wahbi Khazri will surely not replace Anichebe with Pienaar probably a shoe-in going on past team selections. 

If Jason Denayer is still ruled out, Moyes really is down to the bare bones in midfield which may pave the way for a return for Jack Rodwell. 

Billy Jones is suspended so Donald Love or Javier Manquillo are the options at right-back. The Spaniard may feel he has a point to prove to Liverpool after spending half a season at Anfield, but he still hasn't shown anything to Sunderland let alone today's opponents. So, with it starting to feel like Manquillo may even have his loan spell cut short, Moyes may opt for Love who looked comfortable against Watford. 

Vito Mannone will have to up his game. His agent put about a few weeks ago that the Italian fancied a move in January and was disappointed by his "treatment" in losing his number one spot to Jordan Pickford, only for the 28-year-old to put in that dreadful display at Burnley  - and prove exactly why his young teammate has been between the sticks for most of the season. 

So, it's either a 4-3-3 or a 4-2-3-1 dependent on who is fit when the players arrive for duty this morning. Three changes in bold below, but will Moyes believe Jack Rodwell has a bit more 'bite' and fitness to keep pace with a fluid visiting Liverpool midfield?

Likely line-up
Mannone - PVA - Djilobodji - O'Shea - Love - Larsson - Pienaar - Ndong - Borini - Defoe - Januzaj 


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