One word sums up the performance at Anfield today by the Black Cats: resilience! Last year when Liverpool suffered that Beach Ball goal against them at the SSOL, it started a slump which they never really recovered from. When Sunderland conceded another joke goal today, they just rolled up their sleeves and got on with it. When you are 1-0 down to a once great club away from home, the leaders on the pitch need to stand up and be counted. For Lee Cattermole, that was not just a case of staying on the pitch, but showing his maturity by providing protection for the back four in that crucial holding midfielder role when The Lads were under pressure in the final quarter of the game.
So Sunderland came into this game not having scored at Anfield for a decade, when Phillips netted impressively in a 1-1 draw. But this was another controlled performance, not the first we have seen this season, and they showed that they had recovered from the midweek hiccup against West Ham. That joke goal needs some comment though: Michael Turner just rolled the ball back to where the free kick should have been taken for the keeper to come forward and Liverpool played on as if the ball was in play. Torres ran forward, squared it to Kuyt who drove it home past the shocked Mignolet.
The response was rapid, with a cross from Ahmed Elmohamady being treated as a basketball pass by Christian Poulsen. Bent was a shade lucky with the penalty but it was a deserved equalizer. Onuoha then conjured up a superb cross just after half-time for Bent to finish, to worsen an already forgettable week for Liverpool after crashing out of the Carling Cup to Northampton Town. That midweek defeat did not feature Gerrard, and the England captain made no mistake with a header to equalise, after Torres’ cross was deflected fortunately by Turner’s foot.
So overall a deserved point for the Black Cats and it was a shame that Bruce’s post match interview had again to focus on the officials, rather than the exciting football and Bent's strikes. If someone had said to him a few weeks back though that the team would take 5 points from 3 games against Man. City, Arsenal and Liverpool, he would have to be happy.
©Lars J.S. Knutsen