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Not since 2002 has Liverpool shed any points off any games against Sunderland, and it’s been like a donation drive trip for EPL points whenever they visit the Stadium of Light, so despite Torres and Gerrard’s crucial ‘MIA’ tonight, there’s ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ — unless Lucas starts in the middle again and screws up horribly, again.

And news of Zenden’s arrival at the Stadium of Light hadn’t quashed any fears that Liverpool will be dropping points against a team that’s been on a resurgent run under Steve Bruce’s tutelage. Couple that with the thought that EPL’s top English goal scoring machine of the moment, Darren Bent, will be roaming around in a leaky defence, and one of the top assisting Englishman, Andy Reid, it doesn’t bode well for Liverpool.

So let’s see with Torres and Gerrard out, and with an eye on the Champion’s League game coming up next, just who will Benitez start the game with?

Babel partnering Ngog upfront? Or is it the experienced pair of Kuyt and Benayoun? Or will he gamble with Voronin and.. okay, just Voronin? How scary are these line-up?

Then let’s consider the midfield pairing. Lucas and Mascherano? Hmm, two young South Americans who just flew halfway around the world for integral world cup qualifying games recently. Benayoun and Plessis? Jay Spearing and… holy cow, there’s no more available midfielders in Liverpool!? Aquilani’s still out injured so it’s miserable times these days. Not entirely intimidating ‘engine room’ which no doubt will be eaten alive by Lyon and Manchester, should it remain the same in games to come.

As for defence, I won’t even go in too much, cos there’s not much really.

I wonder if the Arabs will buy the club as is rumoured and perhaps inject the much needed cash to transform the ailing club’s fortunes, but if they were astute businessman, shouldn’t they be looking at the club’s asset and wonder if it’ll even make a good investment? I mean, just look at the players’ line-up!

So sad, but I’ll have to concede that Liverpool’s current available squad looks just as good as Sunderland’s reserve team. What a comparison right?

Anyways, as for tonight’s result, I’m still confident that Liverpool will wing it their way and fly off with all 3 points, simply because the Sunderland boys will be giving way too much respect to the team from Anfield, and play even more defensive, despite Rafa deploying a defensive tactic — as I think Liverpool’s history and reputation carries enough weight to affect Bruce’s decisions.

So 1 goals to nothing, in Liverpool’s favour tonight. Heh.