The 3-1 victory was definitely a step up from the one-all draw at the Stadium of Light last season, and the best way to bounce back from the last two defeats in all competitions. With Luis Suarez fully returned to the starting line-up and looking back to his best, this was more than just three points, it represented a sort of new start for the Reds.
First off, the negatives. The midfield duo of Steven Gerrard and Lucas Leiva is, as repeated countless times, looking tired. They failed to close Sunderland midfielder Ki Sung-Yeung fast enough – just like how they could not stop Swansea’s Jonjo Shelvey recently – and this allowed the Korean to fire a shot towards Simon Mignolet’s goal. Though the Belgium international could have done better with his stop that allowed Emanuele Giaccherini to swoop onto the rebound and score, the shield of Liverpool’s back-four could have done better at closing Ki down.
The fact that Raheem Sterling’s introduction at right wing-back to shift Jordan Henderson into the centre of midfield led to Liverpool tightening up at the latter stages of the game just showed how much energy is lacking amongst Gerrard and Lucas right now. The Brazilian destroyer’s yellow card and subsequent suspension for the Crystal Palace game could be a blessing in disguise, as such he could get a rest which would force Brendan Rodgers to give Henderson his favoured central midfield role.
Strike Force of the Moment
The positives now. Suarez and Daniel Sturridge once again showed how lethal they are in front of goal, and how much of a threat they are, not only individually, but as a strike duo. Their link-up play and knowledge of how each other would run was such a joy to watch. For Suarez’s first, the way both communicated to each other was immense. Suarez saw Sturridge’s drive to the byline, and instructed the Englishman to go for the far post as he himself lost his marker at the same time.
Suarez’s second was essentially a one-two between the strike duo. The Uruguayan broke forward and delivered a lovely lofted ball towards Sturridge, who then saw Suarez’s gesture and run at the far post. The Englishman cleverly dribbled past his marker towards the byline and sent a low cross over. Suarez duly finished, of course, to end matters in the 89th minute.
It was Liverpool’s first goal in the second half of a Premier League game, and finally one that allowed the Reds to finish with a comfortable two goal margin, for the first time in this campaign as well.
Such was their team work would have delighted Rodgers. Many have accused both Sturridge and Suarez of being too individualistic and selfish, …
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