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Sunderland 1, Liverpool 3: First Thoughts

First half goals from Daniel Sturridge and Luis Suarez had Liverpool cruising after a shaky opening, and while Sunderland threatened to draw level in the second half, the duo combined in the final minutes to kill the match off.

Gareth Copley

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Sunderland 1: Giaccherini 52'
Liverpool 3: Sturridge 27', Suarez 36' 89'

  • Liverpool just could not cope with Sunderland's early pressure, and there was no midfield presence whatsoever. Any space afforded by Manchester United midweek disappeared, with Liverpool left to try to soak up pressure rather than apply it. It was not pretty. Victor Moses was wasted as a number 10 with no real idea about where to fit or what to do. The first twenty-five minutes was scary, guys, and the midfield never surfaced.

  • Then two goals in ten minutes and life is good again. A good corner from Steven Gerrard, a flick-on from Kolo, and Daniel Sturridge in the right spot at the right time to elbow it in. Then Gerrard releases Sturridge down the right and the striker works his way into the area to set up a Luis Suarez tap-in. Everything is and always was the best, at least until Liverpool tried to give away their two-goal lead about four times before the half was over. Thanks for the help, Simon Mignolet.

  • Two goal lead equals calmer second half ammirite? No, no I'm not. Sunderland dominated the early going and got their goal on some sloppy all-around defensive play. Nobody closed down Ki, Mignolet could only block, and no Liverpool players followed the shot to clear the rebound. Not a pretty goal to concede, and Mignolet was forced into a tough save moments later. 

  • The times when Victor Moses was able to lead a break or float wide were very encouraging, but otherwise Liverpool had nothing doing. Bringing Raheem Sterling on for Moses and pushing Henderson central was a gamble, as Sterling was tasked mostly with defensive duties and Moses was one of the only real threats in the second half. Thankfully Liverpool controlled most of the final twenty minutes, and Henderson was a welcome addition in the middle.

  • Lucas' yellow card means he's out for Crystal Palace's visit next weekend, and there's going to be some thinking required by Rodgers on how they set up. His booking came during a run of play that looked as though Liverpool were going to give it away, but a late break--aided by Henderson busting a gut in support--saw Sturridge cut back for Suarez, who made no mistake with his left foot and killed the match off. Relief.

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We'll be back shortly to take an in-depth look at everything that happened in today's game with the full recap. Until then, let us know your take on the ups and downs of the match in the comments, and if you haven't already, join the community on the Liverpool Offside, where we'll have full coverage and lively in-game discussion for every match this season.

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