Sunderland 1-3 Liverpool – Suarez and Sturridge Shine

Picture courtesy of liverpoolfc.com

By Jonathan Carroll

In a game that was defined by Liverpool’s response following Sunderland’s goal showed that even though Liverpool were far from top class they still done enough to win the game and claim all three points. It was the lethal combination of Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge that took Sunderland apart and keeps them rooted to the bottom of the Premier League.

Brendan Rodgers again opted to go with a 3-4-1-2 and it again was effective in creating chances. Compared to last Wednesday at Old Trafford, Liverpool looked more clinical today and with Luis Suarez getting back to full speed, the ratio of chances scored from chances created will only improve. The odd midfield pairing of Steven Gerrard and Lucas Leiva was again utilized and it looked frail early on as Sunderland pressed high and the two players occupied the same area on the pitch. There was no connect between midfield and the front three of Suarez, Sturridge and Victor Moses. Moses in fact dropped deeper to receive the ball and made it a point to get more involved.

Picture courtesy of liverpoolfc.com

The opening goal from Sturridge had a hint of handball about it. A tough one for Howard Webb as shoulder and head came together at once and there was no protest from the Sunderland players. It was a welcome return to scoring from set pieces, something that has been lacking under Rodgers, albeit there hasn’t been much of a physical presence until Mamadou Sakho and Kolo Toure were recently signed.

Picture courtesy of liverpoolfc.com

Toure’s professionalism is on display for all to see. Sakho’s quality is also very apparent after seeing him in his preferred role in the center of the back four. The only worry continues to be the left back area occupied by Jose Enrique. The Spaniard has a tendency to make very poor decisions and these mistakes have cost Liverpool dear in the past. When Glen Johnson is fully fit it would be interesting to see if Rodgers uses him on the left, Sakho and Agger in the middle and Toure on the right. Having two left footers in the middle would not be ideal but the other option of Skrtel is not an attractive option now based on form.

Picture courtesy of liverpoolfc.com

Suarez later tapped home after good work by Sturridge down the Sunderland left. The reds were two nil ahead at half time and seemingly on their way to an easy three points. The midfield area continues to be some thing of a concern. Lucas Leiva has come in for a lot of abuse as of late, a lot of it unwarranted as Steven Gerrard doesn’t really compliment the Brazilian. The tendency exists however for Lucas to give away needless free kicks in dangerous areas. A fact highlighted by his five yellow cards so far this season that will see him miss next weekends game against Crystal Palace.

Picture courtesy liverpoolfc.com

Sunderland grabbed a goal back when Emanuele Giaccherini tapped home the rebound after Simon Mignolet was unable to hold Ki sung-Yueng’s shot. The Black Cats were back in the game and the Stadium of Light was in full voice as players like Lee Cattermole harassed Liverpool when in possession. Lucas and Gerrard looked flustered when they had the ball. Options were lacking and Liverpool were under pressure. Enter real game changers in the form of Sturridge and Suarez. Quick distribution from Mignolet allowed Liverpool to break quickly and Sturridge smartly found Suarez in the box with a pin point cross that was eagerly dispatched by the Uruguayan striker.

Picture courtesy of liverpoolfc.com

Relief all round for Liverpool supporters. Their team had come through unscathed against a team looking to impress their interim manager and also the owner Ellis Short. Far from a convincing win, Liverpool will do well to improve their midfield duo and possibly the positioning of both players if the personnel stays the same. Three points on the road when you’re not playing well is a good result. Winning is the most important factor for Rodgers this season and he will use Suarez as much as possible. The Uruguayan front man will be off in the summerif the club cannot deliver Champions League football next season.

Picture courtesy of liverpoolfc.com

 

Sunderland

  • 20 Westwood – 6
  • 08 Gardner – 5
  • 14 Colback – 4 (Booked)
  • 16 O’Shea – 5
  • 24 Cuellar – 6
  • 04 Ki Sung-Yeung – 6
  • 07 Larsson – 6 (Mavrias – 85′ )
  • 33 Cattermole – 6 (Celustka – 74′ )
  • 11 Johnson – 5
  • 17 Altidore – 6
  • 23 Giaccherini – 7 (Booked)

Substitutes

  • 25 Mannone
  • 12 Celustka
  • 29 Valentin
  • 22 El-Hadji Ba
  • 35 Mavrias
  • 10 Wickham
  • 27 Ji Dong-Won

Liverpool

  • 22 Mignolet – 6
  • 04 Toure – 8
  • 17 Sakho – 9
  • 37 Skrtel – 7
  • 03 Jose Enrique – 5
  • 08 Gerrard – 6
  • 14 Henderson – 6
  • 21 Lucas – 6 (Booked)
  • 07 Suarez – 7
  • 12 Moses – 6 (Sterling – 75′ )
  • 15 Sturridge – 7

Substitutes

  • 01 Jones
  • 05 Agger
  • 26 Ilori
  • 47 Wisdom
  • 31 Sterling
  • 33 Ibe
  • 09 Aspas
Referee: Howard Webb
Attendance: 41,415
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