LIVERPOOL 2-2 SUNDERLAND

Liverpool gathered a single point from a fixture that really should have seen them claiming all three points against a side that has sat in the relegation zone (18th placed or less) of the Premier League for most of the season.

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Fans would finally see the return of Daniel Sturridge, even if was just as an unused substitute. At least we know he’s available and fit enough to have his name written on the team sheet for inclusion in our squad. It’s been too long but you can’t really blame the manager for not bringing him on. We saw two injuries which needed replacements and our captain’s bad form was enough to need a new midfielder, so… Sturridge was never going to be chosen to play in that position.

Danny Ward keeps his place as substitute goalkeeper, Adam Bogdan is unlikely to claim a place in the squad any time soon. Jon Flanagan also gets named in the squad again, it’s nice to see him chosen.

So, it wasn’t a bad lineup. We could be positive and confident of a decent result before the game kicked off even after seeing the players named. There was high hopes for Sturridge to be put on the pitch and maybe get a goal, but it just couldn’t and didn’t happen.

The first half wasn’t much to be spoken about, no goals and at least two injuries for Liverpool during the first 45 minutes.

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It was only 12 minutes into the game before Dejan Lovren was injured and had to be replaced, but there is no need to be upset… Kolo Toure was to be used as our substitution. I do love to watch Kolo play. He has such passion for the game, he’ll give his all (100% effort) and you can see determination to succeed in everything he does. He’s a trustworthy player and a nice guy who is loved by many.

Nearing the end of the first half, Joe Allen would also be replaced by Jordon Ibe. Another injury to be added to the list of recovering players. It’s a shame because lately, Allen has been improving and putting good performances in for the fans who are warming up to him and what he can do for Liverpool FC. We’ve seen assists and goals from Allen. I hope he’ll be fit enough by the end of February, when we’ll have the League Cup Final against Manchester City. All players on good form deserve a shot at winning that trophy. You make a large effort just to be one of the two teams in the Final and need to be there for seeing the reward of participating in and winning it finally. Hopefully not many players will be disappointed at the time of choosing the squad for that Final.

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The second half was by far the better half, considerably more entertaining than the first goalless 45 minutes.

Liverpool looked like they’d been given new motivation for winning… if I knew the manager was there, I’d have said the “team talk was inspiring and motivating” but Klopp was absent for health reasons. Reports say he may have been admitted to hospital for appendicitis, that takes a little time (up to a week) to recover from. Get better soon, Boss!

Liverpool worked their way to the Sunderland penalty area on multiple occasions. With half an hour to go, things started looking up for Liverpool. We’d have a goal to celebrate as we took the lead by the 60th minute. James Milner would throw in an amazing cross and Roberto Firmino would head the ball past the goalkeeper and into the net in front of the Reds fans at Anfield.

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Amazing cross, amazing accuracy, amazing goal! Liverpool 1-0 Sunderland

Liverpool looked hungry for more and would push hard for a second goal. It would eventually arrive about ten minutes later when in the 70th minute, another attack looked likely to produce another goal for the Brazilian but unselfishly, after Firmino was inside the penalty area he pulled the ball back for Adam Lallana who was in a dangerous position and placed the ball with his right foot past the goalkeeper who couldn’t stop it powering into the net. Liverpool 2-0 Sunderland. 

Great goal by Lallana, but it definitely wouldn’t have been possible without that assist from Firmino. I’m officially giving Roberto Firmino the Man Of The Match, he deserved it most.

Man of the Match was Roberto Firmino... again!

Man of the Match was Roberto Firmino… again!

With 20 minutes to go and a two goal lead, this should have been a time when Liverpool held tight and waited for the final whistle after a bout of defending hard to concede no goals. However Sunderland weren’t waiting for the final whistle and neither were some of the Liverpool fans.

A protest over a £77 match ticket price that hasn’t even been introduced yet was scheduled (purely based on Liverpool fans own organisational skills) and it was to be a “walk out” in the 77th minute. Thousands of Liverpool fans left Anfield at the 77th minute. Here’s where I’m conflicted about what happened. I see attendance of games as a show of support. I’ve always disapproved of leaving games early – staying until the referee blows his whistle is a way of showing full support for the entire game. If you leave early, you’re not showing as much support as you could do. Certainly not as much support as the fans who won’t leave until the very end. It’s not the first time I’ve seen this kind of thing happen either.
There’s a crowd of people who leave the game at around the 85th minute and it happens so much that I wanted to know exactly why and when I questioned them about this they say things like “I want to beat the crowd”, “I have to go get a train (or bus)” or “I need to go get in my car, the parking lot will be crazy (busy) just after full time”. These reasons are in my opinion, unacceptable. I don’t care if you’re going to make your way home… the trains and the buses or the car you came to Anfield in will still be there after the referee has blown his whistle for full time. Public transport does not require that you leave 5 minutes earlier than the game ends. There’s bus and train services which will run every fifteen minutes to every half hour until very late at night (often midnight). Just get the next one after the game has ended, no need to rush.  For 3PM kickoff games, you can definitely wait until the games truly over before making your way to the bus or train station. It’s slightly harder to find public transport after 8PM kickoff games (because it’ll be 10PM by the end of the game) but the same rule still applies. A 5 minute head start won’t make any difference and the fans who saw all the game will probably meet you later at the station!
It makes little to no difference if you stay to the end. You might as well stay.

I don’t approve that you leave early for these kind of reasons. I’ll stay until the very last minute has been played and it’s full time. That’s just how I’ve always shown my support upon visiting Anfield. My family knew this too. My grandfather always stayed with me and he knew I wouldn’t be leaving early. He didn’t complain, even if we came to Anfield in his car and were going to have to make our way through thousands of people to get to where it was parked after the game. That’s the real price of showing support, right until the end. A little “inconvenience”, but still something that I wouldn’t let force me to leave games early.

If you’re going to protest the price of tickets, I’d just rather that you do it in a different way than leaving the game early. It’s not something fans should be doing and not something I’d be a part of. I’d have been one of the fans left in the stadium beyond the 77th minute (had I actually attended this fixture at Anfield, but I didn’t – I was watching on TV).

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t approve of the club raising prices for tickets yet again, although it’s understandable for a club that has a new stadium extension to pay for (the main stand that’s having it’s capacity increased at the cost of the owners millions of £) and then there’s the cost of transfer fees. Brendan Rodgers was given about £200M to spend. How’d you think the owners get any of their many millions back? A loan? Nobody will loan them more than £200M, they’ve got to make it back from club earnings. Ticket prices may rise as a result. I see their position on this subject objectively.

Just as objectively, I see the fans point of view. They spend enough already and some of them prefer to put money into the club via merchandising, rather than high ticket prices. The club will still make money, when they’re buying a shirt with their fave player’s (or manager’s) name on it.  It feels better than just giving extra £ as you buy a match ticket. I bought a new shirt with Klopp’s name on it this season. Many other fans bought merchandising too. Some buy shirts every single season, continually. They can cost just as much as a ticket.

my Liverpool shirt with "Klopp"on it. (20)15 is the year Klopp became our manager

my Liverpool shirt with “Klopp”on it. (20)15 is the year Klopp became our manager. Many Liverpool fans buy merchandise. 

I understand as a Scouser and local citizen of Liverpool that it has long been a “working class city” where people work hard for many hours in order to get the money that buys the match tickets and most fans that attend want to go back to Anfield more than once, or to attend with a family member or friend. They’ll have to buy multiple tickets. To do it repeatedly, the price does need to be right. If tickets value go up, you’ll go to less games than you did in previous seasons to compensate for how much money you have to spend. By the time you’ve run outta money, it’s more quality than quantity you’ve seen now. The club may see a decrease in requests for buying tickets if they’re not careful. Both sides have opinions which I respect and surely there can be a suitable way to find an adequate and fair price which isn’t too much of a rise while still making back some money for the exceedingly large costs the owners have to deal with.

BACK TO THE GAME! Liverpool’s fans may have left, mostly. However the irony was that they would probably be all thinking that their team had gotten a 2-0 win and that it was okay to leave a little early and that they’d seen what would likely be victory anyway. This would be incorrect. Liverpool would concede twice after the 77th minute and Sunderland would manage to get a draw. The fans that were so concerned about protesting weren’t even there at Anfield to see it happen. Maybe if they’d stayed, the players wouldn’t have been so disheartened from seeing all their fans which they wanted to impress leave them early. Like they’d been performing badly or something. They hadn’t been playing badly, they’d given their all for you… but you hadn’t given all the support you could give to them. Not up to the final minute of the game. It could have hit them hard and effected the result.

The goals that Sunderland scored were both scored within 8 minutes of each other… Adam Johnson in the 82nd minute and then Jermain Defoe in what was almost the 90th minute. Such a short amount of time, but it made all the difference to the result of the game. It would be a draw for the side that sits in the relegation zone and a draw for the side who desperately want to return to the Champions League and wish to do so by ending up at 4th place or higher by the end of the Premier League season.

Liverpool 2-2 Sunderland.

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Our season continues and we’re due to play a FA Cup replay at Upton Park, home of West Ham.

Keep walking on with hope in your heart, Anfield Family. You’ll Never Walk Alone.

[written by] Stuart Drewery.

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I’m an Englishman (born and raised in Liverpool in the 80s). My whole family including my parents and grandparents were Liverpool fans so I was born into being a red.

I’ve seen Liverpool win the league (about 25 years ago) and I’ve been 100% loyal and committed while supporting the Reds through all the good times AND the bad times since the 80s.

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