Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers says Raheem Sterling's winter break had been 'already planned' since the summer.
The 20-year-old forward was given permission to go on holiday to Jamaica, and missed both the club's FA Cup win over AFC Wimbledon and yesterday's 1-0 win at Sunderland in the Premier League.
But Rodgers said he felt Sterling needed a rest.
Sunderland boss Gus Poyet says fans 'need to accept the reality' of the situation the club is in.
The home crowd vented their frustrations during yesterday's 1-0 defeat to Liverpool at the Stadium of Light. That result leaves the Black Cats just one point above the Premier League relegation zone.
But Poyet said:
Liverpool lead at half-time through Lazar Markovic's goal in the 9th minute.
Click the link below for match updates from the Stadium of Light. Kick-off at 12:45pm.
Premier League Sunderland v Liverpool
Liverpool striker Fabio Borini will start for the visitors on his return to the Stadium of Light.
The Italian spent last season on loan at Sunderland.
Sunderland have announced their starting XI to face Liverpool in their Premier League clash at the Stadium of Light. Kick-off is at 12:45pm.
Sunderland boss Gus Poyet says he 'wouldn't miss' the chance to see Steven Gerrard play his final Premier League game in the North East.
The Liverpool captain has announced that he's moving to the MLS with LA Galaxy this summer. Today's game is likely to be the last time the 34-year-old will ever play at the Stadium of Light.
You can read Michael Owen's full statement on his website