Sunderland vs Liverpool and Stoke vs Norwich: Open Thread

For followers of the Premier League, one of the advantages of having mid-week games in the UEFA Champions League is that it means there are fewer matches on a Sunday. That sounds odd, but today is a good example. Instead of trying to watch bits and pieces of four EPL games on a Sunday, some of which are being played concurrently, we can watch two games back-to-back today, allowing us to concentrate on the games at hand and watch some teams more closely that we otherwise may pass on.

Kicking things off today was Stoke City against Norwich City (8:30am ET, NBCSN), two teams that — on paper — should have created an entertaining match with end-to-end action.

In the second match of the day, Sunderland caretaker manager Kevin Ball will lead out his side against Liverpool at the Stadium of Light (11am ET, NBCSN). After Sunderland’s mid-week League Cup victory against Peterborough, confidence will be better today than last weekend. However, Steven Fletcher has been ruled out for six weeks, so Sunderland striker Jozy Altidore will most probably start up top by himself again. He really needs a striker alongside him as well as good service from his midfielders, which he hasn’t had for the majority of this season.

Starting line-ups:

Sunderland: Westwood, Gardner, Colback, O’Shea, Cuellar, Larsson, Ki, Cattermole, Johnson, Giaccherini, Altidore

Subs: Wickham, Celustka, Ba, Mannone, Ji, Roberge, Mavrias

Liverpool: Mignolet, Toure, Sakho, Skrtel, Enrique, Henderson, Lucas, Gerrard, Moses, Suarez, Sturridge

Subs: Jones, Agger, Aspas, Ilori, Sterling, Ibe, Wisdom

For Liverpool, Luis Suarez will return to Premier League action. After showing a lot of promise on Wednesday night despite being rusty, today will be a good test to see how well he plays with Daniel Sturridge.

Before, during or after today’s match, join the conversation with fellow soccer fans in the comments section below about these matches (or any others).

Have a wonderful Sunday!

Photo credit: Stan Collymore.

27 thoughts on “Sunderland vs Liverpool and Stoke vs Norwich: Open Thread”

  1. Britannia in full voice as usual. For those of you thinking this isn’t a marquee matchup, it will be physical and there is plenty of skill on the pitch. Both teams will be going for the 3 points. This should be good!

  2. I’m not convinced that this set of Stoke City players are able to fit into the system that everyone wants them to play — more attractive, on the ground football.

    Going direct is easier, requires less of your players and creates more chances.

  3. Norwich well deserved lead.Stoke looks like they missed the wake up call.if not for the sunshine and his mates Ian would be wasting 2 hours of his Sunday.

  4. Great start to this match. I have to say, It’s a little bittersweet for me. Di Canio put together this squad and raised their fitness levels. Regardless of his outbursts, he was supposed to have a chance to manage this club. He should have been given more time.

    The club should have backed the manager instead of the players. There should have been a united front. It’s dangerous to give players that kind of power. It might show some short term positives. But it won’t work in the long run.

        1. I don’t mind him. He does talk too much as far as I’m concerned. He can over-describe the match at times. Sometimes an announcer just needs to let the images speak for themselves.

        2. I actually think he’s been excellent for the most part. I just have to call him out over stuff like this. Road uniforms makes me vomit. It’s an away kit.

    1. i was never on board with arlo white or martini boy.arlo talks to much and sometimes says stupid things.sad to see the rabbit get a goal.

  5. Altidore looks all at sea in English football. Slow, borderline unfit. Not the same player we see for the national team. Terrible marking on the corner not getting goal side of Sturridge. He would be better off in MLS.

  6. Altidore whistled for offside more than once after his side loses, then quickly regains possession. A sure sign of laziness when not on the ball.

    Skirtel and Sakho not easy to be sure but Altidore should watch some video of RVP, Chicharito and others to learn how to confuse central defenders and better position himself with space (and therefore time) in dangerous areas.

    50% knowledge and experience, 50% work rate. This isnt the Eredivisie

  7. A football match seems to have broken out in Sunderland. Ellis Short must have told the players he’d bring di Canio back if they didn’t improve in the second half.

  8. Altidore looks for the foul instead of winning the headers. I sense the bench in his future unless he starts putting in some goals.
    On the other end, Suarez is a beast. If Arsenal had gotten him, the title might be back in the Capital this year.

  9. Good win for Liverpool and they fought for it against a very determined Sunderland side that seems to have woken up after Di Canio’s firing. This is the best I’ve seen Sunderland play so far this season and maybe Kevin Ball should be given the job as he’s done well this week and already knows the players.

    Liverpool might not win the title but they could be in the mix for the top 4 if they continue to get results and then have Coutinho back in a month or two. Besides United (who are struggling), they haven’t played any top teams yet (Southampton are 4th and did beat Liverpool at Anfied) so let’s see how they do against the other top teams.

    This year’s title challenge and top 4 berths are all for grabs. There are no favorites and that’s great for both neutrals and partisans alike.

  10. Martino said that Poyet was another controversial appointment that Sunderland would not want to hire. He never said what was controversial about Poyet. Anyone know what he meant?

    1. He’s currently involved in a legal dispute with his former employer, Brighton, which hasn’t been resolved yet. His departure from Brighton was not amicable to say the least.

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