Sunderland 1-1 Liverpool Match Report
After such an emotional week for Liverpool Football Club, where the Hillsborough Independent Panel’s report was released, after 23 years fighting for justice. Liverpool turned back to football matters. An away trip to Sunderland was Liverpool’s schedule, with both teams looking for their first league win of the season. It seemed a long time ago since Liverpool lost at home to Arsenal because of the international break.
Enrique was replaced by Glen Johnson at left-back with Martin Kelly slotting in at right-back alongside Skrtel and Daniel Agger in Liverpool’s defence. Jonjo Shelvey coming in to the team for new signing Nuri Sahin was the other change to the side that lost at home to Arsenal.
Prior to kick off, Liverpool’s players took to the field with the number 96 printed on the back of their anthem jackets in tribute to those who lost their lives in the disaster, as well as the families, survivors and fans who have campaigned for so long.
Sunderland too showed their support by flying the flags at the Stadium of Light at half-mast in light of events this week, while they also paid their respects with a message displayed on the two big screens inside the ground as the game got underway.
Liverpool started the match on the front foot with Shelvey dragging a shot wide of target on 4 minutes.
Next, Suarez spun into space 25 yards from goal before seeing a similar effort evade the far post.
Liverpool was dominating possession as Sunderland looked to hit the visitors on the break.
On 18 minutes Borini pounced on a slack header by Cuellar only to see his prodded effort blocked by Mignolet.
Liverpool were by no means in complete control, but they were to threaten again soon after. Another finely-executed passage of play saw Shelvey slip a neat reverse ball into the path of Suarez’s run into the box. The Uruguayan produced a first-time lay off to set up Borini on the edge of the box, and his snap-shot was beaten away by Mignolet.
Then on 29 minutes, Liverpool was stunned when Sunderland took the lead with their first effort on target.
Gardner skipped beyond two challenges on Liverpool’s left before delivering a teasing centre that evaded the hand of Pepe Reina and allowed Fletcher to tap in from close range.
Liverpool continued to dictate the play after this set-back, but they could not get the goal to give them parity before the break.
A positive start to the second half was the order of the day for the visitors, and after Shelvey had tested Mignolet from distance, Glen Johnson cannoned a curler against the crossbar after collecting possession in space down the left.
Sunderland dominated a spell of pressure before Gerrard shaved the base of the post with a side-footed effort after good work by Sterling and Shelvey.
The chances were now starting to come more frequently and Skrtel’s glance goalwards from a deflected Gerrard strike almost caught Mignolet off guard, but a lack of power meant the ‘keeper was able to collect.
Johnson saw a tremendous curling effort smash of the Sunderland bar as Liverpool cursed their luck.
Then, on 70 minutes, Sterling’s ball to Suarez created a shooting opportunity for the No.7, however his attempt was deflected away into the path of Johnson, who drilled over the bar.
Sterling’s influence on the contest was growing – and it was, therefore, no surprise he played a key role in Liverpool’s equaliser a minute later.
The 17-year-old danced into space beyond Danny Rose before feeding the ball into the danger zone. Titus Bramble was unable to clear, allowing Suarez to slam home with aplomb.
It was no more than Liverpool deserved and Liverpool now looked for a winner. But for all their pressure they had to settle for a point, with Shelvey going the closest in the final stages , bringing out a good save from Mignolet.
Liverpool deserved more from this match they dominated. But once again Liverpool’s failure to finish off chances proved costly. Raheem Sterling put in another great performance and instrumental in Liverpool’s equaliser. Glen Johnson made some great attacking forays down the left flank. A very encouraging performance from Liverpool , but disappointing to only take a point from the match.