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Sunderland 2, Liverpool 2: First Thoughts

Liverpool go in front twice, but can’t see out the result as the Reds drop two vital points on the road.

Sunderland v Liverpool - Premier League
Yeah, that’s about right.
Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Sunderland 2: Defoe 25’(P), 84’(P)
Liverpool 2: Sturridge 19’, Mané 72’

  • Pre-match Thoughts: Wow, almost no changes to the starting XI. Daniel Sturridge comes on for an injured Jordan Henderson, and Lallana slots back into the midfield three, but other than that, no changes. Luckily both teams are working on basically the same amount of (no) rest, so hopefully Liverpool’s talent will carry them through the day. Sunderland revert to a back four, because I’m sorry Moyesy, Sunderland will always revert to a low-block 4-4-2. So it is written in the stars.
  • Liverpool already showing some neat interplay in and around the Sunderland box. This bodes well for our chances of breaking down this potentially stubborn defense.
  • Conversely, Liverpool are already missing captain Jordan Henderson and his control of the midfield. Sunderland have managed two half-chances early from a low Defoe shot from outside the box, and a set play off a free kick.
  • Chance for Sunderland. Simon Mignolet makes an excellent diving save on a low Rodwell shot that was bound for the far corner. The attempt came out of nothing really, but it was a dangerous shot through a crowd and the Belgian did well to see it, get down, and palm it away from danger.
  • GOAL! Milner’s corner picks out Dejan Lovren who scuffs his shot, but still manages to find the head of Daniel Sturridge, and the experienced striker nods the chance into the corner of the net. No chance for the Sunderland ‘keeper. 1-0 to the visitors.
  • Penalty. As easy of a decision as you’d like, as Klavan impedes Ndong’s progress, and the attacker goes down. Anthony Taylor wastes no time pointing to the spot.
  • Goal. Mignolet guesses right, but Defoe’s penalty just beats his outstretched hand. 1-1.
  • HUGE chance for Sunderland. The home side nearly takes the lead after the defense is caught sleeping after the restart. Defoe is played through 1-v-1 and Mignolet comes up huge by taking the ball off the experienced striker’s feet. Karius is going to find it difficult to break back into the first team at this rate.
  • Sunderland had a big boost after their equalizer, but Liverpool have reestablished some control as the half wears down. In addition to his goal, Sturridge has managed to test the ‘keeper twice three times with excellent shots to the far post. Go get your hat trick Danny, you deserve it.
  • Halftime Thoughts: Ooof. That was rough to watch. Liverpool started brightly, but always looked suspect in the back. Emre Can is not filling in well for Hendo, and were it not for a couple of great moments from Mignolet, Liverpool could very well be trailing at the half. It looks like there’s more goals in this one, but I couldn’t say if that’s a good thing or not at the moment.
  • Surprise halftime sub (or maybe not, given the short rest) as Alberto Moreno comes on for James Milner. This feels like it’ll either be a stroke of genius or a costly mistake. Bold move, Cotton.
  • Emre Can’s—and Liverpool’s—day almost goes from bad to worse as it appears the German midfielder handled the ball in the box. It was a close call that thankfully went Liverpool’s way, but Can couldn’t have felt too aggrieved if it didn’t.
  • Lovren is quietly having a very good game, coming up with the assist on the goal and a couple of important blocks as well.
  • With nearly 70 minutes gone, Liverpool are starting to look like they’re gassed and out of ideas. The few shots Liverpool have managed this half have come from distance, and without any real venom.
  • GOAL!! Liverpool score from a second corner. Mané latches on to a flick-on at the back stick (courtesy of Sunderland’s defense), and Liverpool are back in front 2-1.
  • Divock Origi comes on for Gini Wijnaldum, who has had a decent-if-quiet game. Though, it’s obvious at this juncture that the Reds need some fresh legs, if nothing else.
  • Daniel Sturridge takes a boot to the heel, causing the striker to limp off which is always a good sign. Sigh. Lucas Leiva comes on for what we all hope is not his last Liverpool performance.
  • Can gives away another free kick from a dangerous area. And...shit.
  • Penalty: Sunderland earn a second penalty as Mané sticks out an arm out on a free kick. Again, no complains on that one. Could have been a red on Mané, truth be told.
  • Goal. Defoe converts again, sending Mignolet the wrong way. Liverpool now have about 5 minutes plus stoppage to get back in front.
  • Final Whistle Thoughts: Liverpool did well to prevent Sunderland from scoring from open play, but giving away two penalties is two too many. Hey, Tottenham, maybe you can not Tottenham on Wednesday? Lots of good work from Saturday night undone here.

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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