Liverpool went down to their second consecutive Premier League away defeat with a 1-0 reverse against Sunderland who now move one point ahead of Liverpool in the league.
With Chelsea also losing earlier in the day the reds had a great chance to close the gap at the top.
Both Torres and Gerrard were ruled out through injury – and Mascherano and Insua only arrived in England late on Friday and were placed on the bench. Agger and Aurelio returned for Liverpool – Jay Spearing made his league debut and Ryan Babel was given another chance for the reds.
Liverpool started poorly, in their unusual kit of black shirt, gold shorts and socks. And after only 5 minutes Liverpool were in bigger trouble going 1-0 down. A Liverpool FC beach ball appeared in the penalty area and Darren Bent’s shot took a wicked deflection to wrong foot Pepe Reina. (Watch the goal here)
The players continued to under-perform. Forgetting the ancient art of passing. Babel, Johnson and Aurelio were especially wasteful with the ball. Carragher – so often Mr Reliable down the years – has still to recapture any sort of form, and as Captain for the day did little in terms of his own performance to motivate the rest of the side.
The second half, as expected, Liverpool did spring in to life a little more – although Sunderland still had a few more chances to wrap the game up. Pepe Reina making a terrific save to deny a Sunderland 2nd.
As time wore on Liverpool pressed but just didn’t have the quality in the final third to break down what eventually turned in to an 11 man Sunderland defence.
Still early days, but Liverpool are now 7 points off the top of the table. Next week’s game against Manchester United will have a lot riding on it.
Post Match Comments
“It was a special situation, but we didn’t play well and so I don’t want to talk about that – we didn’t play well and we made some mistakes, we gave the ball away and we couldn’t take our chances.
“These things happen, it is a bad situation for us as it was in the middle and very influential but we didn’t play well and that is the main thing for me.”
(When asked if he thought the goal should have been disallowed) “It is a technical question, but if you look at the opposite and the ball went wide, then a goal would not have been given so on this occasion it has to be a goal and that is it.
“We have to do better if we want to win these sort of games.”
Teams and Match Stats
Liverpool: Reina, Johnson, Skrtel (Voronin 72), Carragher, Agger, Aurelio, Babel (Ngog 80 81), Benayoun, Leiva, Spearing (Mascherano 72), Kuyt
Unused subs: Cavalieri, Insua, Kelly, Riera
Sunderland: Gordon, Bardsley, McCartney (Henderson 46), Turner, Ferdinand, Malbranque, Cana, Reid, Cattermore (Zenden 58), Bent, Jones (Campbell 66)
Unused subs: Fulop, Nosworthy, Da Silva, Healy
Goals: Bent / Beach Ball (5)
Our Man of the Match
The only outfield player to emerge with much credit was probably Lucas Leiva. But for stopping it get much worse then Pepe Reina is our MOM.