The Reds have won just once in their previous three trips to the Stadium of Light, including the infamous goal scored by a beach ball that obstructed Pepe Reina's goalmouth.
Jordan Henderson may have to be content with a spot on the bench as he returns to the club where he started his professional career.
Danny Rose could make his debut as Phil Bardsley battles an ankle injury. Wes Brown could return in the heart of Sunderland's defence, while Jack Colback could be moved into midfield in place of Lee Cattermole, who has a dead leg.
Sunderland: Mignolet; Rose, Brown, O'Shea, Cuellar; Colback, Larsson, Gardner, McClean, Sessegnon; Fletcher
Liverpool: Reina; Johnson, Skrtel, Agger, Carragher; Allen, Sahin, Gerrard, Downing; Borini, Suarez
Sports Mole says: 1-1