Visitors to Anfield know the size of the challenge facing them this season, insists Nathaniel Clyne, as the defender prepares to play his part against Sunderland on Saturday.

Liverpool led the Premier League before being held to a goalless draw at Southampton last weekend, and have won four of their five home games in the division so far.

The Black Cats – who currently sit in the relegation zone but have claimed three points in each of their past two matches – are the next team tasked with overcoming the Reds on their own patch.

Ahead of the contest, Clyne spoke to Liverpoolfc.com about how Jürgen Klopp’s side will go about trying to secure a victory, the hectic run coming up and more.

On the challenge of Sunderland…

It’s going to be a difficult game. Sunderland will come here and make it difficult. They are confident on the back of a good win at the weekend, so their confidence should be up. We need to try our best to manage the game, which we know we can do, and to try to break them down. We know they’re going to be solid at the back and go on the counter-attack, so we need to try to break that down and get the early goal, which would make the game a lot easier. That’s what we’re going to look to do.

On the threat of Jermain Defoe…

Defoe is a prolific striker and he can score from any chance really. We can’t give him any chance to get a shot off – that’s his strong point. If we manage the game well, we can get the win, and that’s what we’re looking to do. He has been playing in the Premier League for a very long time now. He has scored lots of goals, that’s his main trait – he’s always in and around the box, like a ‘fox in the box’, and we need to mark tightly to give him no chances.

On the fear factor developing at Anfield…

Every team knows when they come to Anfield they are going to be in for a game, with the players we’ve got and the way we play football with a fast tempo. They know they’re going to be in for a game. They know they’re going to have to match up to it. As long as we play our game, we know we can get the win, and probably beat any team on our day.

On the importance of the upcoming matches…

It’s a busy part of the season coming into the Christmas period, with a lot of games. If we can win every single game, that would be terrific! But it’s all about getting into a run of games, keep winning and the momentum will come. Hopefully we can finish the Christmas period on top of the league.

On the battle at the top of the Premier League…

It’s tight at the top. Five teams up there are all challenging and could probably all win it. It’s going to be a tough test and we’ve just got to be on our game 100 per cent in every game we play to try to get maximum points. And mainly focus on ourselves really. If we can do the job, hopefully we can be in amongst it at the end of the season.

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