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Sunderland 0, Liverpool 1: First Thoughts

Liverpool were the better team in the first half and didn't score, and were the worse team in the second and did. That's how it goes sometimes, and Liverpool will be pleased to walk away with all three points from the Stadium of Light.

Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

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Sunderland 0:
Liverpool 1: Benteke 46'

  • Pre-match: Klopp selects the same starting XI other than Benteke on for the injured Origi from the 1-0 win over Leicester on Saturday. The only question is whether the team comes out in a 4-4-2 with Firmino and Benteke up top, or if they leave the big Belgian alone up top. Ibe and Teixeira are the only attacking options off the bench, which might not bode well if the lads are chasing a goal late. Hopefully that's not a problem. Can't we just smash 'em and give our hearts a rest for once in 2015? K, thanks. 

  • The Reds are in black with white socks, and the Black Cats are in red and white with black socks. Because reasons.
  • Roberto Firmino is put through on goal after an interception and pass from his international teammate Coutinho, only to have his horrible first touch let him down and harmlessly dribble the ball out of play for a goal kick. The touch was so bad as to be almost comical. Score a goal, Bobby and all will be forgiven!
  • Coutinho is still a work in progress when taking direct free kicks. Apparently Stevie's advice of "Put yer laces through it!" wasn't entirely helpful.
  • Benteke picks up a stupid yellow for sticking his boot out while the keeper was punting the ball. Good thing we have another striker to come in if he picks up a suspension. Oh wait.
  • Firmino almost has his moment of redemption, banging a cracking long-range shot off the bar. Mannone makes a great save to palm the well-hit strike onto the bar and deny Bobby.
  • Firmino with another shot on target, this time with his head, after some sustained pressure from Liverpool. 

  • Halftime: Stop if you've heard this one before: generally good going forward without enough end product, and a couple shaky moments at the back. Not our best half, but far from our worst. Firmino, other than his first effort, has looked lively and likely to score, so far accounting for 2 of our 3 shots on frame. If Liverpool can get some coolness in the second half, they should have no problem getting all three points. 

  • GOAL! Not even 30 seconds into the half and Benteke is played in on goal from a nifty back heel from Lallana, and a niftier dummy from Frimino. The big Belgian calmly converts, and the traveling Kop is singing, TRA-LA-LA-LA-LA. Klopp doesn't even celebrate. Like a boss.
  • In the 15 minutes since the goal it's been all Sunderland, with Liverpool struggling to get and retain possession. Liverpool have had to survive a few set pieces in dangerous areas, and you get the feeling that Liverpool will need another to put this game to bed.
  • Lucas on for Henderson. It looks like our captain has re-injured his foot. Hopefully it's just a precaution, but it's Liverpool, so probably not.
  • Looks like Phil has gotten the shooting bug again. He's unleashed several efforts from outside the box tonight, mostly when he had other options around him, and none tested the keeper.
  • WAAAY TOO MANY SET PIECES! Nervy times in the second half.
  • And Benteke misses a one on one with the keeper in stoppage time. Again. 

  • Full time: A good but fruitless first half lead to an early goal in the second, followed by 44 minutes plus stoppage time of hanging on. The Reds managed to survive a litany of set pieces and dangerous counters to wrap up all three points on the road. Not a great performance by any stretch, but it was just enough against a manager and a type of team we've struggled against in recent years.

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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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