Adam Johnson: The exception to the rule
After forming part of the first wave of Manchester City's billion-pound investment, and subsequently failing to make the required step-up under Roberto Mancini, Adam Johnson made the necessary leap to Sunderland last August. What has transpired has been a 12-month spell at the north east which has brought 48 appearances, six goals and eight assists. Roy Hodgson isn't impressed either with no England call-up having come since last October while Raheem Sterling, Andros Townsend and Wilfried Zaha are all ahead of him in the pecking order. Jumping ship hasn't proved fruitful and his showing against Liverpool was directionless at best.
The making of Jordan Henderson
Liverpool's 3-5-2 system may be forced on Brendan Rodgers due to Glen Johnson's ankle injury and his lack of trust in Andre Wisdom, but the formation could finally be the making of Jordan Henderson. One of the few remaining signings from Kenny Dalglish's second spell in charge at Anfield, Henderson has yet to find his preferred role for the club. While at right wing-back, the England international has shown the mobility required to be an attacking threat while his good positional sense makes him reliable at the back. Not such a square peg in a round hole.
Home Form The Biggest Indicator of Liverpool's Season
Seven points from three away games compared with six points out of nine at home might be marginal, but the nature of Liverpool's performances on the road suggests form at Anfield might be the biggest indicator to their fortunes this term. Rodgers' side have suffered just two losses on the road in 2012, and finished last season with as many away defeats as Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur. At home, they have failed to beat West Ham United, West Bromwich Albion, Everton and Southampton this year, which points towards a lack of penetration and invention when the onus shifts.
Sung-Yueng The Key For Sunderland to Regain Control
Kevin Ball might be attempting to strain every sinew from Sunderland's players but going forward, presumably under Gus Poyet, the Black Cats will require cool heads to prevent a reoccurrence of their current clump and in Ki Sung-Yueng, either side of the exuberant Lee Catermole and the flair of Seb Larsson, they have a player with the capacity to control a game. Liverpool failed to get close to the South Korean all afternoon at the Stadium of Light and even during his loan spell from Swansea, his calmness in possession can spark a revival.
Liverpool Possess the Premier League's Most Potent Partnership
The Premier League has historically been littered with all-star strike partnerships but this 2013/14 season sees one stand-out pair. In Daniel Sturridge and Luis Suarez Liverpool have two most fluent, adaptable and potent strikers in the top flight and regardless of their effectiveness elsewhere in the team, the pair make the Reds at the very least outsiders for the most open title race in decades. Liverpool have a chance in every game in which the duo are available.
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