|An ecstatic Suarez celebrates with Sterling...|
As I mentioned in the match preview, Sunderland isn't exactly an easy away trip for any side but it was pretty poor from Liverpool on Saturday.
Brendan Rodgers opted to start Raheem Sterling again to the delight of many. Suarez and Borini were the main attacking options and Jonjo Shelvey got another start in the midfield.
It wasn't exactly an emphatic start from Liverpool but despite that the lads were managing to create some chances. Borini and Shelvey had efforts early on buy Mignolet and accuracy prevented them from putting Liverpool ahead.
Whilst Sunderland were struggling to create any clear cut chances and the Liverpool defence were dealing with any pressing well, they had a trick up their sleeve - Steven Fletcher.
I've sung the praises of this man a few times here on the blog and also on Twitter and one thing you get with Fletcher is a man who's in the right place at the right time. Just before the half hour mark the first real problem the Reds had to deal with and they failed. Give Fletcher even half a chance and he will punish.
A great cross from Craig Gardener met a poised Fletcher who slotted the ball home and past Pepe Reina.
Liverpool had hardly looked like world beaters before the goal and now we were faced with the challenge of coming from behind. The thing that annoyed me most on Saturday was the quality of the passing though. For a side that is apparently supposed to be building on the notion that keeping and maintaining possession is number 1, we certainly weren't doing very well at all.
It wasn't just long range passes or the younger players either. Steven Gerrard was as much a culprit and even simple passes were going astray, needs to be sorted out that!
Anyway, Sunderland were now 1-0 up and with a distinct lack of goal scoring already a well known truth it was looking like Luis Suarez would be left to find goal or a certain Raheem Sterling.
Raheem does nothing but bring a smile to my face, 17 years old and he hasn't got a care in the world not only that but each time he has played he's arguably been the most impressive player and has provided a spark that others can't.
In the first half Luis Suarez was booked for diving which I can't complain about at all really I honestly thought that from there on in things would go down hill and he'd get himself sent off but in fairness to him, he kept his cool.
In the second half Liverpool made a substitution just before the hour mark and for me, this was another talking point. I can't be the only one who doesn't feel excited at all when Downing replaces Borini? No offence to Borini as it's early days yet and my expectations of him are at an average level anyway but taking him off and replacing him with Downing in my eyes is not an improvement, at the moment it's replacing a player with somebody that is even worse. I watched Downing intently when he came on and I honestly have no idea how he went from a half decent player at Villa to somebody who has provided no goals or assists in the league, he was so dire.
The substitution wasn't exactly helping and so it was left to Sterling and Suarez to conjur something up together. I think I mentioned upon the fact Suarez sometimes takes too many touches the other day but again despite doing this on several occasions against Sunderland, his tenacity and never say die attitude assures that you will always get a goal I just hope they are not so few and far between.
A cross in from Raheem caused problems in the box for Sunderland and Suarez saw his chance to put Liverpool level. A lovely finish sent the Reds celebrating and there was still time left to try to find that winner!
A couple more chances from Suarez though and a potentially dangerous free kick were not enough to find Brendan's boys those desperately needed three points.
It's a strange game because the result feels about right for how the game played out but I find myself accepting it, like it's the norm when really it shouldn't be, 3 points at the Stadium Of Light should be attainable and on a very few occasions did they look like they were on Saturday.
With Manchester United up next in the league for Liverpool this is a massive game, not only due to the rivalry but because it is at Anfield and we seriously need to find that win. At the moment I don't feel very confident at all but games like this are unpredictable, the fire in everyone's belly can sometimes be enough to see them over the line, here's hoping we smash um!
First though is those Young Boys!