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Tuesday, 22 March 2011
SUNDERLAND 0-2 LIVERPOOL MATCH REPORT
Back to league business after the disappointing exit from Europe on Thursday. Never an easy place to go to for a result at the Stadium of Light. Liverpool returning for the first time since that infamous "beach ball" incident. Liverpool were hoping to continue their recent run of good form going as they try to keep their hopes alive of European football competition for next season. Sunderland have been doing really well this season but in recent times have found it hard to win a game so Liverpool hoped that would continue.
Probably the most attacking team selection of the season for Liverpool especially with the first time the much anticipated partnership of Carroll and Suarez being selected. Liverpool were also bouyed with the return of Daniel Agger back in defence to partner Skrtel in the middle, Carragher deputising at right back once again for the injured Martin Kelly, Johnson on the left. Jay Spearing came into the middle of midfield to try and energise the midfield after the lacklustre show on Thursday. Meireles pushed out to the left of midfield in an unusual role with Lucas in the middle and Kuyt on the right. A very strong and attack minded team Dalglish selected even without the injured Gerrard.
A full house for the visit of Liverpool at the Stadium of Light and it was Liverpool who were first to threaten when on 5 minutes Carroll knocked a header down to Kuyt who had his shot blocked by Mignolet in the Sunderland goal. Kuyt headed over from the resulting corner.
Sunderland started to exert some pressure after the early scare and Gyan and Wellbeck combined well down the right for Wellbeck to flash a dangerous cross across the face of Reina's goal. Then Carroll and Suarez set up Spearing but he spurned his opportunity to shoot.
Sunderland were dealt a double injury blow when they lost Sulley Muntari and Kieran Richardson inside the first 25 minutes.
But it was Liverpool who took the lead in controversial fashion when Spearing latched onto a mistake from Mensah and was then brought down on the edge of the penalty box, at first referee Friend pointed for a free kick on the edge of the box, but after consulting his assistant he then pointed to the spot resulting in protests from the Sunderland players. Dirk Kuyt kept his cool to send Mignolet the wrong way and put Liverpool 1-0 up.
The players left the field at half time to a chorus of displeasure as the home supporters vented their feelings towards the match officials.
Liverpool started on the front foot in the second half with Johnson looking to fire a shot in but desperate defending from Mensah prevented him. Carroll was so unlucky not to net his first Liverpool goal when he saw his free header hacked off the goal line by Lee Cattermole. Suarez then went close with a curling free kick just off target.
Liverpool were having the better chances in the second half and Jay Spearing went close with a 25 yard drive that Mignolet tipped over his bar.
On 77 minutes Liverpool doubled their lead when Suarez conjured up a bit of magic from a seemingly impossible position. Stuck in the right hand corner of the Sunderland half, Suarez collected the ball before leaving Cattermole for dead and he then blasted a shot from virtually the goal line beating Mignolet at his near post, it really was a stunning effort.
Sunderland's miserable day was summed up with the dismissal of Mensah when he brought Suarez down as he raced through on goal.
A superb result for Liverpool and thoroughly deserved although controversial.
It was great to at last see the partnership of Suarez and Carroll for the first time, they showed some nice link up play at times. Agger made a big difference to the defence far more compusure and with Jay Spearing coming into the midfield he gave the team an energy that sometimes this season has been lacking. Meireles looked a bit out of sorts though out on the left and Dalglish will have tough decisions to make when Gerrard comes back. Lucas had a far better game more like his normal standard of performance this season. I thought we defended very well as Sunderland had a lot of possession especially in the first half, Reina was virtually a spectator. We did get a huge break with the penalty as I think a free kick should have been awarded but then what comes around goes around. Suarez was a constant threat and his goal was sheer genius. Overall a great result and a great away performance especially after recent disappointment on Thursday.
Man Of The Match - Suarez - It had to be, he was superb although Agger and Spearing ran him close.