Liverpool Club Focus – Reds hoping to avoid third consecutive Premier League defeat for first time since 2003

Carling Cup holders Liverpool travel to Sunderland and the Stadium of Light this weekend, where manager Kenny Dalglish will be hoping his side can clinch maximum points and bring an end to their poor recent form in the Premier League.

The Reds have collected just two wins in their last 10 top-flight game, a run which has seen their chances of finishing in the top-four severely weakened. The Anfield outfit, who have tasted defeat in their last two fixtures at the hands of Manchester United and Arsenal, will be looking to avoid a third consecutive loss when they face Martin O’Neill’s rejuvenated Black Cats. Liverpool have not lost three league games on the bounce since October 2003.

Many of the Reds’ problems this season have come down to their poor record in front of goal. Despite having the likes of big-money signings Andy Carroll and Luis Suarez on the books, the Anfield outfit have scored just 30 goals in 26 top-flight games so far this term – only Wigan Athletic, Bolton Wanderers, Queen Park Rangers, Everton and Stoke City have found the net less often.

But Dalglish has defended his team. According to the Daily Mirror he said: “The media seem to be obsessed [with Liverpool’s goal scoring record]. We’ve been through everything we can say. We’ll continue to do what we do best: that is to play the way we train and if we play the way we train we will eventually get our reward. For us we had the disappointment immediately after the defeat [against Arsenal] but when you sit down and analyse it they can’t do much more than what they did.

He added: “If they keep playing like that and keep bringing performances like that against a quality side then we are going to win more than we lose.

Liverpool will be encouraged by the fact that star striker Luis Suarez has scored in both of his meetings with upcoming opponents Sunderland. The Black Cats, who have failed to record a win over the Reds since the infamous beach ball incident in 2009, have also suffered a dip in form of late and are without a win in their last three games.

However, O’Neill’s men have notched up 34 points so far this season and they will be looking to close the gap on Liverpool, who are currently sitting in seventh place with 39 points. The Reds, who also have a game in hand on many of their rivals, are still aiming for a top-four finish, even though Arsenal are now 10 points ahead of them in that race. Another of Dalglish’s aims will be to see his side make an improvement on their points tally from last season, where they collected 58 points and finished in the sixth place.

See what the expert tipsters at OLBG are tipping on Sunderland v Liverpool

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