Liverpool made the journey north in the latest round of Premier League games to face relegation threatened Sunderland. With fans expecting another 3 points, it was David Moyes would had the last laugh as Jermaine Defoe twice evened things up for the Black Cats from the penalty spot.
Liverpool arrived at ten Stadium of Light full of confidence after beating Manchester City less than 48 hours previously but also knowing there would be a response from Sunderland players following their defeat to Burnley, a defeat which caused their manager to brand his team as ‘useless’.
Jürgen Klopp made one change from the City win with Daniel Sturridge coming in to replace the injured Jordan Henderson, Adam Lallana dropped back to his usual role in midfield.
In the first half Moyes men did show the fight and willingness to do the hard dirty side of football by tackling and running and applying pressure high up the pitch and not allowing Ragner Klavan and Dejan Lovren as much time on the ball as they would want.
Liverpool did strike first blood in this game. Daniel Sturridge got on to the end of a bouncing ball in the box to loop a tame header over Victor Mannone in goal to take the lead.
Liverpool looked more in charge of the game now they had the goal, but on 25 mins NDong was able to surge past Georginio Winjaldum in to the box where he ended up being sandwiched by Winjaldum and Klavan and the referee had no hesitation in pointing to the spot.
The pen was converted clinically by Jermaine Defoe. And less than a minute later he could have made it 2 goals when he was played a ball string through the middle of the Liverpool defence which he ran onto but was unable to round the excellent saving challenge from Simon Mignolet.
Fabio Borini was also unable to score from the rebound of Mignolet’s challenege when he probably should have.
The teams emerged for the second half with James Milner being replaced by Alberto Moreno.
The second half was again a half of ups and downs for both teams.
Sunderland for their part were digging in and causing alot of trouble up front with the excellent movement of Defoe in particular.
Liverpool were being harassed in possession at the back and although they were able to play in patches themselves the second goal seemed it would elude them for much of this half.
Mannone had made several stops from long range shots from Sturridge and Co and was looking like he was having on of those days that would frustrate everyone.
Sadio Mané should have scored when he just failed to get his head onto the end of an excellent cross from Nathaniel Clyne right in the middle of the goals. It looked harder to miss it than to score it.
But he did score on 72 mins to give Liverpool a lead that they would surely protect now and be able to close the game out.
Unfortunately not this time as on 84 mins after conceding a free kick just outside the box Mané was penalised for sticking his hand out at the end of the wall to deflect the effort on goal from that free kick.
The referee was again in no doubt that the panalty was deserved and yet again Defoe stepped up to convert it again to draw Sunderland level for the second time in the game.
The game would run out after 5 minutes of injury time with Liverpool pushing hard to find that winner without any luck.
Today David Moyes did get a response from his team which was to be expected to be fair and maybe just maybe that plus a brutal turn around for Liverpool of less than 48 hours was the telling point of this game.
His team fought hard show
Jürgen Klopp was frustrated on the side lines in the closing stages but he will be aware it could have been worse also with some close calls in the game. Namely another penalty appeal that was turned down by the referee due to an Emre Can handball.
Daniel Sturridge also limped off in this game and had to be helped back to the changing room at the final whistle too.
Not what Klopp will have wanted to see as today was Sadio Mané’s last game before he heads off to meet up with his country for international duty.
More injuries now with Sturridge, Henderson, Couthino and Joël Matip all on the doctors list right now could persuade Jürgen Klopp that more than ever now he needs reinforcements in January now.
Written by @StephenKing75