Bruce predicts Anfield edge

Black Cats boss still smarting over Reds' chase for Jones

Bruce: Renews Benitez battle

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Steve Bruce believes Sunderland's trip to Anfield will have an extra edge following the infamous beach-ball goal and Liverpool's pursuit of Kenwyne Jones during the winter transfer window.

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The last time the two clubs met, Sunderland claimed the spoils thanks to Darren Bent's assisted strike at the Stadium of Light back in October.

And the Black Cats boss admits he is relishing this Sunday's clash with his Manchester United roots as a player certain to cast him as an unpopular figure from the away dugout.

"There's always an edge for me when I go back to Anfield," Bruce told Sky Sports.

"I get abuse from pillar to post for obvious reasons but it's always one in the calendar that you enjoy playing.

"It's a great place to go and play and a great place to take them on."

Bruce was furious with Reds counterpart Rafa Benitez in January at persistent speculation that Jones would leave Wearside and join the Merseysiders on loan for the rest of the season before completing a permanent switch during the summer.

The Trinidad & Tobago international was clearly unsettled by the rumours as his form dipped and, while his manager insists there will be no continued resentment as he sends his team out at Anfield, the saga still clearly rankles.

Loopy

"Listen, it's said and done. In management, you have to do one thing, which is look after your own club," said Bruce of Jones, who could return from a hip flexor injury for the Merseyside fixture.

"I couldn't get away from the speculation and, for me, it did affect Kenwyne.

"He must have read some of the reports thinking I had gone loopy, thinking I was going to let him go on loan.

"It was continuous. I don't know where the notion came from - I was thinking, 'Am I going round the twist here? Am I missing the plot?'.

"Kenwyne Jones going on loan - I am sorry, but it was just a non-starter.

"But it kept going and going and going. Obviously, Rafa Benitez must have been getting the information from somewhere.

"I would have thought, out of decency, maybe he would have done the honourable thing and rung me if there was an interest.

"But the speculation kept going and going and, for me, affected Kenwyne and affected the team.

"Thankfully, when the window shut and all the nonsense had gone away, we started seeing the best of Kenwyne again, and it was nice to see."