Tired Liverpool run out of luck during Sunderland draw

Liverpool played their second game within a 48 hr period, this time away at Sunderland which most considered to be a ‘must win’ game. David Moyes politely commented before the game that ‘anything can happen in football’, suggesting he thought an upset may be on the cards.

Daniel Sturridge replaced Jordan Henderson for the match after he suffered a heel problem during the win over Manchester City on New Year’s Eve.

Jurgen Klopp on his side having to play twice in less than 48 hours: “I’ve said enough about the fixtures and long ago we accepted it. No excuses for no-one. That’s how everyone wants it. We have to deliver – and we will deliver. It was very important we won against City. It would be really hard to go to Sunderland if you got nothing so we will go there and play our best.”

  • Sturridge starts first league game since 17 October.
  • James Milner made captain.
  • Liverpool have won four in a row and hoping to make it five.
  • Every time Jack Rodwell has started any of his past 33 games for Sunderland, the team have not won the match.
  • Daniel Sturridge makes in 1-0 inside 1st 20 mins after a corner.
  • Mané signs off for AFCON with a well taken goal and a handball in the area resulting in a penalty.
  • Defoe scores 2 from the spot.

First half

Liverpool started the game with their usual high intensity, dominating with a lot of early pressure.  Sunderland however, were happy to defend deep utilising Jermain Defoe as a lone striker. This gave an early indication of how the game would play out.

Sturridge reacted fastest to flick a header

The best of the opportunities early on fell to Roberto Firmino, who’s curling shot having linked up well with Daniel Sturridge was denied by Mannone. 

You started to sense a goal coming and Liverpool did take a deserved lead. This time from a corner, Dejan Lovren mishit the ball, thankfully finding Daniel Sturridge who reacted fastest to flick a header from six yards out past Vito Mannone.

However moments later Ragnar Klavan ‘tripped’ over Didier Ndong in the penalty area – although opinion’s are divided after watching video replays. Defoe stepped up to slot it home, his 10th league goal of the season. This got the home side fired up as moments later Mignolet denied Defoe another great opportunity. 

Thankfully there was a reply as Sturridge cut in from the right flank, on to his left foot and shot from 20 yards – sadly it was another missed opportunity.

2nd half – missed opportunities

Sunderland were happy to continue to defend deep in numbers and frustrate Liverpool. There were again more real missed opportunities – reflecting upon the result it’s easy to blame any of them.

  • Mané getting the slightest of contact from Clyne’s cross from outside the area.
  • Firmino’s shot from outside the area was saved again by Mannone.
  • Emre Can opted for precision instead of power, another comfortable for Mannone.
  • Sturridge is denied again as Mannone saves, a smart backheel from Lallana warranted more than that.

Liverpool did eventually retake the lead. Moreno (replaced Milner at half-time) took a corner from the right, which was flicked goalwards by Sunderland’s Didier Ndong. The ball fell to Sadio Mane, a few yards out, and he had the simple task to put the ball into the net.

Now we were 2-1 up Klopp allowed Wijnaldum to come off for a rest. This would have given Origi and Sturridge a great opportunity to show what they can do together – especially as we lose Mané at the AFCON. Sadly this lasted only a few moments as Sturridge limped off.

Nothing too crazy

Lucas came on to replace him, with the task of ‘closing up shop and nothing too crazy’. It could have been his last ever game for us with the possibility of a transfer to Inter Milan on the cards. 

Sadly within minutes Lucas (who was brought on to do nothing crazy) commits a foul on the outside of the area. Larsson’s free-kick is handled by Mané – penalty. In fact 2nd PENALTY!! No messing about from Jermain Defoe, who scores his second goal. This time though Mignolet is sent the wrong way.

There were five minutes added time left. Thoughts of “we can do this – we will get another dramatic winner.”

Yet again man of the match Mannone came to Sunderland’s rescue. Pushing away Lallana’s shot, then saving a header from Firmino. He was simply unstoppable. 

Sadly, it was no more. 2-2. Surely it will be seen as two points dropped after they led twice, had 71% of the possession and had 15 shots on target.

What do you think? Feel free to leave a comment.

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  1. It always happens, we come across the teams lower down the league and struggle. They see 1pt from us as a victory. Which whilst makes sense it’s so annoying. But Klopp needs to find a new way to attack when teams defend with 10.

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