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.

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