Cats suffer defeat at Anfield.
A resurgent Liverpool outshone battling Sunderland at Anfield to record a convincing home win.
A clinical Reds side made the most of their chances on goal as Luis Suarez bagged a brace as well as Raheem Sterling lobbed goal in the first half.
Sunderland created a number of chances in the first half, however, failed to test Pepe Reina in the Liverpool goal.
Sterling opened the scoring in the first half before Suarez grabbed his first of the evening minutes later to give the Black Cats a tough test going 2-0 down after 26 minutes.
Sunderland started the game brightly and had the first effort on goal in the game as they attacked the Kop.
In the fifth minute Martin Skrtel pushed Steven Fletcher off the ball down the right flank, where Adam Johnson’s resulting free-kick found Craig Gardner but his shot was deflected for a corner for the Black Cats.
It was the home side though who were first to test the opposition keeper when Stewart Downing’s free-kick had Simon Mignolet diving at full stretch to his left to palm the ball out for a corner.
Matt Kilgallon had brought down Suarez on the edge of the box after ten minutes to give Liverpool the chance on goal but once the resulting corner took place, Mignolet claimed the ball again to break up the attack.
Liverpool did then take the lead on 19 minutes through youngster Sterling. Suarez played a looping pass from the half way line which lifted over the Sunderland back line as Sterling raced onto the ball to lob the ball over Mignolet on the edge of the box.
The Black Cats had a chance to level just moments later when Fletcher threaded the ball through to James McClean on the edge of the Liverpool box. The Irishman’s left footed low effort raced across the Liverpool goal and went wide though.
The home side doubled their lead seven minutes later through Suarez who scored his 14th goal of the season. The Uruguayan played the advantage handed by referee Phil Dowd after Carlos Cuellar collided with the Liverpool front man. Suarez broke free on the right wing to cut in and strike across Mignolet to make it 2-0.
Sunderland had a chance to pull a goal back just minutes later when Sessegnon was brought down by Skrtel outside the Liverpool box. Gardner’s powerful free kick from 25 yards out was deflected for a corner. From the corner the Black Cats kept the ball before Seb Larsson’s low strike on goal was collected by Pepe Reina.
The Black Cats almost pulled one back on 35 minutes. Again Skrtel brought a Sunderland man down on the edge of the box where Larsson’s free kick was blocked by the Liverpool wall. Adam Johnson collected the ball and played a left foot looping pass into the six yard box before Fletcher’s effort was scrambled away for a corner.
Liverpool were on the counter attack again five minutes before the break and could have made it 3-0. Suarez broke free on the half way line, darting forward before squaring to former Black Cat Jordan Henderson whose one touch found Downing on the left wing. Downing struck the ball low and hit across Mignolet’s goal but the keeper caught the ball and it remained 2-0 going into the break.
The visitors made a change at the break with Fraizer Campbell replacing Sessegnon. It was the home side who started the second half brightest though and Sterling had a chance to score his second five minutes in. The winger latched onto a through ball but his right footed effort went wide of Mignolet’s goal.
Two minutes later though and Suarez grabbed his second of the game.Steven Gerrard zipped a long range pass to the front man who chested the ball down on the edge of the box before striking the ball into the net in front of the Kop.
Just after the hour Sunderland made their second change of the game when James McFadden replaced former Birmingham City team-mate Larsson.
The home side almost made it 4-0 through captain Gerrard just before Henderson was replaced by Suso on 67 minutes. Gerrard’s volley on the edge of the box took a deflection making Mignolet quickly react to palm the ball over for a corner.
The Black Cats were calling on the keeper again just minutes later to prevent Suarez from scoring a hat-trick. Suarez broke free at the back post and tried to slot home a low effort but the outstretched Mignolet blocked the shot.
The home side continued to attack in the final ten minutes of the match but failed to add to their goals tally. Joe Allen had a goal chalked out on 87 minutes for offside though.
The travelling support continued to sing until the final whistle before a sell out 5,000 Wearside faithful travel to Bolton on Saturday for the FA Cup with Budweiser tie at the Reebok Stadium.
- Skrtel (Carragher)
- Henderson (Fernández Saez)
- Sterling (Allen)
- Rose (Vaughan)
- McClean Yellow
- Larsson (McFadden)
- Sessegnon (Campbell)
- Fernández Saez