SUNDERLAND 0 1 LIVERPOOL
Liverpool have taken all three points from this game. Simon Mignolet managed to keep a clean sheet (please keep that up!) and only one of our players needed to score (though it was still a team effort) to make sure we were victorious as we won our 9th Premier League game of the season against Sunderland.
The first team was interesting. Emre Can is continuing his new role in defense with Sakho, Skrtel and Moreno while 5 midfielders (Henderson, Markovic, Lucas, Coutinho and Gerrard) were assigned to get behind a lone striker (Fabio Borini) in a 4-5-1 formation.
The first half went well, although was not without problems. The referee seemed to show no concern or interest in Liverpool’s claim for a penalty very early on (around 4 or 5 minutes) as Wes Brown blatantly fouled Lazar Markovic but went unpunished and it became clear that we would be playing against the match officials as well as Sunderland’s 11 men in this game.
However, soon after our penalty claim was denied, Fabio Borini would assist Markovic and Lazar would put Liverpool into the lead in only the 9th minute.
While scoring first does give you an advantage at first, the losing side already know that if they want to get any points, they’ll have to fight for them and score themselves and they had 81 minutes of the game left to do it in. Liverpool would keep on going in their efforts to find a second goal but it just would not come as kept struggling against both our opponents and the referee who was determined to not allow the away side any advantages (but a little FAIR PLAY would have been nice, we just want what we deserve and nothing more), as we kept being denied by the man in black, Craig Pawson. Liverpool would receive two yellow cards in the first half and so would Sunderland as four names were written in the referee’s book – Borini, Coutinho, Vergini and Bridcutt. Chances of scoring became less and less likely to happen as some of the players had to be quite cautious due to the referee.
The score would remain at Sunderland 0 – 1 Liverpool at half time.
Brendan Rodgers would make a change to the line up as he brought Dejan Lovren on and Steven Gerrard off. No word on whether that was a simple tactical change or if Steven had picked up an injury yet.
The second half would be just as influenced by the referee as the first and within 10 minutes (after the break), there was a foul on Emre Can and then a second yellow card for Liam Bridcutt shown by Craig Pawson and Sunderland were down to ten men for the rest of the game. It felt like “even sides” now though, given that we had gone into the second half without our regular captain, who is retiring at the end of the season.
Less than ten minutes later, Jordan Henderson and Dejan Lovren had both also been shown yellow cards as the match official kept enforcing his authority over the game. Liverpool would have some attacking plays but nothing that resulted in another goal. Around the 67th minute, Mario Balotelli would come on to replace Fabio Borini (why not try using the Italians together, Brendan?) possibly in an effort to further our scoreline though “Super Mario” yet again failed to show a Super performance and could not find the net, as has been the case for most of this season.
The rest of the game was mostly just Liverpool holding off Sunderland’s attacks and trying to make sure we did not concede a late goal which could have been two points “stolen” off us as we had shown ourselves to be more deserving of the win in this game. No mistakes from the goalkeeper (that’s one thing which has really cost us in some games this season) today and the defense (including Emre Can who is still adapting to his new defensive role) did enough to secure the win, away from home. The fans will be happy with three more points to add to the rest as we attempt to make our way upwards in the Premier League, still holding onto hopes that we may be able to gain Champions League qualification (4th place and above) by the end of the season.
Many would be likely to consider Markovic as “Man of the Match” for this game, he had spent it mostly making dangerous attacking plays including some very acrobatic football and his goal was vital for claiming all three points in a closely contested game which could easily have ended up as a draw. Liverpool’s next game will be another Premier League fixture against Aston Villa soon.
Until then, just keep walking on with hope in your heart. You’ll Never Walk Alone, Anfield Family.
[written by] Stuart Drewery.
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.