Sunday, 7 December 2014

Sunderland End Reds Run

After securing back-to-back victories in the league, Liverpool hosted Sunderland ahead of their crucial midweek Champions League tie against Basel.

Two notable changes saw Steven Gerrard and Javier Manquillo replaced by Alberto Moreno and Phillipe Coutinho while there were no strikers named on the bench with Fabio Borini left out possibly hinting to a selection in midweek.

A fairly tepid first half from both sides saw limited chances at goal with the first coming from Jordi Gomez who blazed wide in the 16th minute from a good position before Rickie Lambert headed over at the other end in the 23rd minute. Phillipe Coutinho had a great chance to open the scoring just two minutes later but his low shot was tipped wide by Costel Pantilimon.

Wes Brown had a good chance to send Sunderland into the interval ahead but could only head an effort over the bar from Seb Larsson's corner. The visitors started the second half in a the same vain as they ended the first as Jordi Gomez hit a strong shot which was deflected wide of the target.

Sunderland seemed the likelier to open the scoring and went close with two efforts in as many minutes, Seb Larsson swept in a free-kick which was cleared by Martin Skrtel before the resulting corner found Connor Wickham in space but he volleyed wide.

Liverpool had a number of chances themselves with Raheem Sterling blazing over after a clever run and a Jordan Henderson free kick sailing over the bar. Sterling seemed to be the shining light for Liverpool and he created a good opening in the 78th minute as a pacy run saw him find Phillipe Coutinho with the Brazilian's shot saved by Costel Pantilimon.

Steven Gerrard looked to make an impact but save his free-kick in the 80th minute saved easily by Pantilimon while Simon Mignolet was called into action a minute later to deny Jordi Gomez's powerful effort with a superb tipping save.

Neither side really did enough to deserve all three points so a draw was a fair result but Liverpool will need to be a lot better if they are to advance into the next round of the Champions League on Tuesday night.