- match commentary
- English Barclays Premier League
- 15 September 2012, 5:30pm
- Stadium of Light
- Attendance: 41,997
FULL TIME:Liverpool are still winless after four league games for the first time since 1911, but that statistic reflects harshly on them after they dominated this game on Wearside. Sunderland were pretty ropey, if truth be told, and Liverpool will reflect ruefully on hitting the woodwork twice and spurning plenty of other chances. Brendan Rodgers' philosophy has yet to bed in, and one hopes Liverpool fans, in this week of all weeks, will be forgiving enough to give him time to turn things around. Full report follows shortly.
90+3 mins: Downing's thrusting run helps win a corner, but from it Johnson's header sails harmlessly over. That should be about it.
90+1 mins: Saha sets scouse hearts a-flutter by unleashing a powerful drive from 20 yards, but it's always rising over Reina's head.
90 mins: Suarez turns menacingly and tries to work space for a shot. He slips it instead to Sterling who is denied by a hoofed clearance from Bramble. Into three minutes of injury time.
87 mins: Gerrard's whipped free kick from left of the area is headed clear. Still they probe for a winner, but with every passing minute they're getting more desperate and starting to pump it long.
84 mins: Liverpool continue to knock at the door. Sunderland are on the cusp of their 11th Premier League game without a win and MON's solution is to bring on Louis' Knowing Me Knowing You' Saha. Fletcher is hooked.
83 mins: A rare break by Sunderland sees Campbell bring the ball clear. He slips it to McClean but his cross is woeful.
81 mins: Larsson is booked for a pretty ugly full-pelt lunge right in front of the Liverpool bench. They weren't happy with it, but it was justly punished.
79 mins: Another fine save by Mignolet! Shelvey cuts inside from the left and has a crack from just inside the area. It's more or less straight at the keeper (when hitting either corner would surely have brought a goal). Mignolet parries it, but it rebounds up just too high for Suarez to be able to keep his follow-up header down.
77 mins: Successive corners for Liverpool, neither of which come to much. Reina stops the game for nearly a minute to change his boots. Whistles and jeers eminate from the home fans.
74 mins: Liverpool are up for this now, no diggety. Downing waltzes past a pathetic challenge from Gardner before the retreating Cattermole clears his cross.
71 mins: Martin O'Neill reacts swiftly to the equaliser by replacing Rose with Fraizer Campbell.
70 mins: LIVERPOOL ARE LEVEL! Fully, fully deserved. Sterling makes mincemeat of Rose on the right of the area before whipping in a low cross. Bramble generously delivers the ball to Suarez with a not untypically hapless 'clearance' and he wellies it into the onion bag from around five yards.
69 mins: Lovely footwork by Sterling right of the area before slipping it to Suarez. His cross is cleared by Cattermole but it's straight to Johnson. He thrashes an optimistic effort over the bar. Liverpool on top but their frustration continues.
66 mins: Decent save by Mignolet. Downing's corner is cleared to Gerrard who tries to thump the ball back through a crowd. It's deflected, spoons up to Agger about eight yards out and he re-directs the ball goalwards with a flick of his considerable neck muscles. Mignolet reads it well, drops to his left and makes a good stop.
64 mins: It's not Henderson coming on actually, it's Stewart Downing. Borini is the one hooked. He has done pretty much nothing right.
62 mins: Skrtel is booked for a crude hack on Sessegnon. Looks like Henderson is coming on in a moment...
60 mins: What a chance for Liverpool! Sterling floats in a super cross that has Mignolet sprawling at the feet of Borini. The Italian only needed to get a touch to divert that past him, but the keeper palms it out to Shelvey on the edge of the box. He taps it sideways to set up Gerrard, who has half the goal to aim at as Sunderland scramble to their feet, but he side-foots it against the outside of the post! Deary me, how are Liverpool still behind here?
56 mins: Great pressure by Sessegnon to hassle Borini into a mistake, then also hustle Johnson and Allen into conceding a throw deep in their own half. It leads to a corner, from which Cattermole's thunderbolt clonks into Borini, felling him like a left hook from Nicola Adams!
53 mins: Gerrard's vicious free kick is very well defended by Bramble, who gets a thudding head on itas it arrowed into the six yard box.
51 mins: Johnson cracks the bar! What a fabulous effort by the full-back. Playing out of position again at left-back as he did in the Dalglish days, it at least gives him the chance to cut inside on his favoured right and shoot. He almost does this with dazzling effect here, darting inside Gardner and Larsson to curl a delicious effort which slaps against the bar and away to safety.
48 mins: A minor scramble from a Liverpool corner before Skrtel's shot from a tight angle thunders into a bunch of players and deflects away for a goal kick. Replays show it clearly came off Suarez, but he still has the gall to complain bitterly to the referee.
47 mins: Liverpool work the ball patiently through midfield before Shelvey cracks a low shot from distance which is easily handled by Mignolet. Paul in Rotherham says: "Liverpool are a mid table team now and are not worthy of the wages they pay out or the money the players cost." Agree? Clici on my name above to throw in your tuppence.
46 mins: Liverpool have a battle on their hands here. They'll be boosted by this news though - Titus Bramble is on the field! He replaces the injured Cuellar in central defence. We're under way once more...
HALF TIME: A funny old first half. Liverpool totally dominated early on, before conceding a goal virtually the first time Sunderland got a player in their area. That fired up the previously subdued hosts, and the crowd certainly got into it when Luis Suarez was booked for a debatable 'simulation' offence. Can Liverpool dig themselves out of this? Stick around to find out.
44 mins: There's a noticeable lull in proceedings as we tick down towards half time. Liverpool's early dominance has faded since that shock goal.
41 mins: Stu in Birmingham has texted in (evidently written before the goal): "I'm a l'pool fan but can't see where they will get goals. Nice football at times but too many missed chances. Either 0-0 or sunderland win. L'pool thousands of miles away from top four now. Big shame."
39 mins: Colback gets into a good position right of goal, but as the angle for a shot gets ever tighter, he dithers, delays and hits a powderpuff effort at Reina.
36 mins: Suarez booked for diving! The striker's reputation has gone before him here - I think this could have been a penalty. He shows sublime skill to wriggle his way past two defenders, then nicks it past O'Shea and goes down. Inevitably, he makes the most of any contact there might have been by slumping to the floor theatrically, but replays look pretty convincing to me. Martin Atkinson thinks otherwise, marches across and waves the yellow as the Uruguayan sits on the floor. Debatable, at the very least.
34 mins: Rose brings down Sterling in full flight, giving Liverpool a free kick just outside the box, right of centre. Suarez takes it, but it clips the top of the wall and deflects away for a corner, which Sunderland hack clear.
30 mins: Having spent the first half hour chasing shadows, Sunderland are suddenly alive and kicking. McClean hares down the left and his searching cross forces Johnson to hurriedly concede a corner, from which nothing materalises.
29 mins: SUNDERLAND IN FRONT! *Outrageously* against the run of play. Quite incredible. Gardner gets a lucky break of the ball on the right as he glides far too easily past Suarez and then Johnson. He fires a low ball across the bows of Reina's six-yard box, and Fletcher muscles his way in front of Skrtel to bury it from a couple of yards.
27 mins: Sunderland have done absolutely *nothing* up front so far. Liverpool come forward again and Johnson is felled rather clumsily in the box by (I think) Larsson. Martin Atkinson is unimpressed. As I type, here they come again, but Gerrard side-foots over from the edge of the box after a Suarez cut-back.
25 mins: Great save Mignolet! Shelvey and Suarez combine to set up Borini with a clear sight of goal just behind the penalty spot. He side-foots it low, but the Belgian keeper plunges to his left to repel the ball. "Liverpool to create and miss chances, Sunderland to nick a tight game," reckons Gaz in Sheffield. You're right with the first bit so far, Gaz!
23 mins: Sterling 'buys' a cheap foul from Rose by the corner flag. Over trots Gerrard to whip it in, but Skrtel is outjumped by Fletcher. Suarez's appeal for a corner seconds later is denied.
21 mins: Sunderland's first attempt of any description and it's almost semi-accidental. Larsson whips in a devilish free kick from the left touchline. Everybody leaves it and it whips just wide of the far post. Reina didn't move a muscle.
19 mins: First real chance of the game. Cuellar's atrocious back header is woefully short, Borini darts in and slams his shot right into Mignolet's chest when a more subtle dink over him would have been the better option. The ball rebounds outside the area to Shelvey, but he hurries it and slices it embarrasingly.
17 mins: The locals are getting frustrated by their side's inability to keep the white round thing for longer than three touches. Liverpool are closing down very effectively in midfield. As I type, Sessegnon's run is tracked well by Johnson and he earns a goal kick.
14 mins: Sterling, his little legs skipping and jumping as he darts around midfield, plays a nice ball down the inside right channel for Borini. The Italian's deflected cross-shot is smothered by Mignolet.
11 mins: Brilliant turn-and-go from Suarez after receiving a straight pass from Gerrard with his back to goal. He creates space for a drive from 20 yards but doesn't connect cleanly and the ball bobbles well wide.
9 mins: Fletcher is down and staying down. The injury occurred after an innocuous coming-together with Skrtel. The Scotsman isn't the histrionic type, and indeed comes back on after only a brief rub from the physio.
6 mins: It's all Liverpool early on. Gerrard's wonderful pass sets Johnson free down the left. He gets to the byline but can't pick out a team-mate in the centre. Sunderland don't clear, Suarez has it now left of goal but he can't pick out an accurate cross either.
4 mins: Suarez jinks away from his marker and knocks the ball sideways to Shelvey before peeling off into the area and begging for a return pass. Space has opened up in front of Shelvey though and he fancies a crack. He pulls it wide and gets a gobful from his shy and retiring Uruguayan team-mate.
2 mins: Liverpool having most of the ball early on. Shelvey attempts to send Borini through the centre but plays the ball behind the Italian and Cuellar mops up.
0 mins: We're off and running in a game that will be unavoidably laced with poignancy. Liverpool's fans are planning a rendition of YNWA after six minutes - the point at which the FA Cup semi-final at Hillsborough was stopped in 1989. Get your comments and predictions in by using the boxes on the right.
Team news: Sunderland winger Adam Johnson is out after returning from international duty with a thigh injury, so Seb Larsson takes his place. Danny Rose makes his debut but David Vaughan, who played 45 minutes for Wales in midweek after recovering from an ankle injury, is absent.
For Liverpool, Jose Enrique's knee injury keeps him on the bench, but Joe Allen has recovered from illness which disrupted his international duty. Luis Suarez starts but there's no sign of Sebastian Coates. Raheem Sterling keeps his place.