Emotional Reds look to revive fortunes at Sunderland
LONDON - The Associated Press
Uruguayan forward Luis Suarez is Liverpool’s biggest hope on attack.After securing an emotional triumph off the pitch this week, Liverpool needs a victory on it against Sunderland on Sept. 14 to revive the team’s fortunes following its worst start to a season in 50 years.
The release of secret papers into the 1989 Hillsborough stadium disaster in which 96 Liverpool fans were killed exonerated the club from any blame for the crush, instead pointing the finger at police malpractice and corruption. Families of the victims and the club itself waited 23 years for the truth to come out, and some players and manager Brendan Rodgers attended a vigil on Sept. 12 to pay their respects.
Rodgers - in his first season at the team - now needs to turn his focus to the pitch, with his side third from bottom in the English Premier League after picking up just one point from its opening three games.
Not since 1962 has Liverpool began a campaign so poorly, with a shortage of options in attack alongside Uruguay striker Luis Suarez as its major problem.
“We’re faithful and confident that things are going to come good for us,” said Wales midfielder Joe Allen, who followed Rodgers to Liverpool from Swansea this summer.
Sunderland, though, has been a tough proposition at home since Martin O’Neill took over as manager in December, while Liverpool’s next game is at home to fierce rival Manchester United. Turning things around won’t be easy for Rodgers.
O’Neill said Liverpool’s demise have been exaggerated.
“It’s the nature of the game these days,” he said. “You can take any set of results - even three hours out of a 10-game period - and say something in particular happened during that time. You have to take the bigger picture into consideration.”
The only point Liverpool has earned this season came against Manchester City.
City is one of three teams to lie two points behind early leader Chelsea, and could be boosted by the return of leading striker Sergio Aguero for the trip to Stoke.
The spotlight will be on Stoke’s choice of attackers, too, with former England striker Michael Owen in line for his first start following his free transfer to the Midlands club after being released by United.
Chelsea visits Queens Park Rangers, when much of the focus will be on what happens before kickoff.
Chelsea captain John Terry will face Anton Ferdinand for the first time since being cleared in court of racially abusing the QPR defender in a league match last year. Ferdinand may snub Terry in the pre-match handshake, which was scrapped twice for Chelsea-QPR matches last season on legal advice.
Fifth-place United hosts Wigan, and Arsenal plays Southampton.