Liverpool-Sunderland Live: Daniel Sturridge Joins 20-Goal Club In Reds’ Victory

Liverpool-Sunderland LiveFinal, 2-1 Liverpool: The referee blows his whistle, and the game is over.

Liverpool wins its seventh-straight Premier League game after downing Sunderland at Anfield.

It wasn’t as thrilling or perfect as some of Liverpool’s other recent victories, but the three points in the standings count just the same. Gerrard and Sturridge scored the goals, while Coutinho and Suarez joined them in being constant menaces to the Sunderland defense.

Sunderland tried to frustrate the Reds by taking a bunkering down in the first half. It was working until Gerrard’s first-half free kick broke the deadlock. Sturridge then scored his historic 20th goal shortly after the break, and the visitors had no choice but to go on the offensive. The game came to life after Sunderland brought on Johnson and Ki, and the Korean’s goal set the stage for a nervous ending. But Liverpool ultimately saw the game out and celebrate another victory.

Liverpool reclaims second place from Manchester City and now trail Chelsea by just one point with seven games to play. While the Reds are firmly in the title race, Sunderland remains stuck in the relegation zone. Both teams have league games this weekend — Liverpool hosts Tottenham on Sunday, and Sunderland hosts West Ham on Monday. Their targets remain in place.

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89th minute, 2-1 Liverpool: O’Shea has a great chance to tie the game, but he flashes his header across the face of the goal instead of into it.

Johnson delivered the free kick into the danger area, but the Sunderland captain failed to hit the target with the header.

87th minute, 2-1 Liverpool: It’ll be a nervy final few minutes, as Liverpool struggles to maintain possession and Sunderland’s belief grows.

83rd minute, 2-1 Liverpool: Poyet replaces Dossena with Colback.

Dossena and the Anfield crowd applaud one another. The Italian fullback played for Liverpool during the 2008-09 season before moving on to Napoli.

77th minute, 2-1 Liverpool: Sterling comes on for Sturridge.

76th minute, 2-1 Liverpool: Ki gives Sunderland a way back into the contest by scoring with a diving header.

Ki Sung-Yueng

Johnson delivered the corner, and Flanagan lost track of Ki at the far post. The ball went straight to the Korean midfielder, who beat a helpless Mignolet with a diving header.

72nd minute, 2-0 Liverpool: Now Sturridge hits the post with a curling, left-footed effort at the other end.

71st minute, 2-0 Liverpool: Cattermole smashes a shot off the crossbar from 20 yards out.

Johnson laid a one-touch pass to the Sunderland midfielder, who hit it hard and just a little high with his first touch.

69th minute, 2-0 Liverpool: Sunderland’s substitutes are helping improve the visitors’ efforts going forward.

Ki and Johnson are creating moments of danger in Liverpool’s defensive third, but they’ve been unable to combine with Altidore to create genuine scoring chances.

61st minute, 2-0 Liverpool: Sunderland is making a pair of changes. Johnson is on for Giaccherini, and Ki replaces Wickham.

58th minute, 2-0 Liverpool: Sunderland has no choice but to go on the attack.

The Black Cats are starting to apply pressure (instead of dropping deep) when Liverpool has the ball and attack in numbers, opening up space into which Liverpool can counter.

56th minute, 2-0 Liverpool: Sturridge’s goal was his 20th of the season.

He joins Suarez in the 20-goal club, making the “SAS” strike-force one of the most prolific in Liverpool and Premier League history.


54th minute, 2-0 Liverpool: Coutinho leads Liverpool’s hunt for a third goal.

The Brazilian burst through the midfield with a mix of speed, skill, tricks and intent, much to the delight of the home fans. The move didn’t end in a scoring chance, but it was entertaining.

49th minute, 2-0 Liverpool: Sturridge doubles Liverpool’s lead, courtesy of a fortunate deflection.

Henderson fed Sturridge near the corner of the Sunderland penalty area. The Liverpool striker took two touches and launched a curling effort, which caromed off Brown but went into the top corner.

Check it out below (GIF via Reddit).

Daniel Sturridge Goal Liverpool Sunderland

46th minute, 1-0 Liverpool: The second half is under way. Liverpool is attacking the Kop end.

Neither team made a substitution during the interval.

Halftime, 1-0 Liverpool: The first half is over, and Liverpool takes a deserved lead into the dressing room after 45 minutes of domination.

Gerrard’s free kick provided the difference in the scoreline, but it doesn’t reflect the Reds’ advantage in the first half. Liverpool controlled possession, tempo and territory throughout the half, and Sunderland posed little threat. The Black Cats were composed in defense and made few mistakes until Vergini’s foul on Suarez. Gerrard made them pay.

Sunderland manager Gus Poyet must get his team to take the initiative and attack in the second half. If Sunderland tries to defend and Liverpool scores before it does, the game will effectively be over. The Reds can bury desperate opponents on the counter-attack.

42nd minute, 1-0 Liverpool: Sunderland looks to respond to Gerrard’s goal, as Wickham forces Mignolet into making his first save of the game.

The Sunderland striker took a shot, which deflected off Skrtel. Mignolet had to dive to his right to knock it away.

42nd minute, 1-0 Liverpool: Gerrard’s free kick continues an impressive trend Liverpool is setting this season.

39th minute, 1-0 Liverpool: Who needs a red card when you have Gerrard?

Moments after Vergini’s yellow-card foul, Gerrard fired the free kick past Mannone.

The Liverpool captain was probably the only Liverpool non-defender who hadn’t taken a shot from distance in the first 40 minutes. His dead-ball strike was powerful and perfectly placed.

Check out Gerrard’s goal below (GIF via Reddit).

Steven Gerrard free kick Liverpool Sunderland

37th minute, 0-0: We have our first moment of controversy, as Vergini took down Suarez just before the Uruguayan broke in on goal.

Britain Soccer Premier League

The home fans wanted a red card, but the referee showed Vergini a yellow one.

35th minute, 0-0: Sunderland has frustrated Liverpool for most of the first half, but Suarez decides to change things by himself.

The Liverpool star dribbled into the air and rifled a left-footed blast, which sailed just wide of Mannone’s goal.

26th minute, 0-0: It’s been mostly one-way traffic at Anfield.

Sunderland is packing their their of the field with eight, sometimes nine, men, making it difficult for Liverpool find an opening.

The Reds have resorted to long shots, but they have not been accurate enough to test Mannone.

17th minute, 0-0: After a quick start, Liverpool has grown more patient and deliberate with its build-up play but hasn’t been able to unlock the visitors’ compact defense.

10th minute, 0-0: Sunderland is dropping deep, allowing Liverpool to dominate possession and territory.

Liverpool counters by pushing forward in numbers and shooting from distance, as Sturridge just did. His effort, like the others’ sailed over the bar.

Seventh minute, 0-0: Sturridge wins a free kick in a dangerous position, but Suarez can’t put the shot on target.

Fifth minute, 0-0: Liverpool has taken the initiative and is already looking to add to its impressive goal tally (for the season).

Johnson and Coutinho both have shot from distance, but their efforts sailed high.

First minute, 0-0: The game is underway. Liverpool is attacking the Anfield Road end of the stadium.

Pregame: Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers is sticking with the same team that thrashed Cardiff City on Saturday.

The Reds will face a defensive minded Sunderland, as the Black Cats have five defenders in their starting lineup.

Expect Liverpool to capitalize on its numerical superiority in the midfield and dominate possession throughout the contest. Giaccherini, Wickham and Altidore will look to provide Sunderland’s scoring punch — most likely on the counter-attack.

Meanwhile, Borini is back at Anfield, albeit in street clothtes.

Fans lined the streets around Anfield to welcome the Reds home as the team bus approached the stadium. Liverpool hasn’t played a home game since Feb. 23, but that hasn’t stopped the Reds from winning.



3:30 p.m.: Here are the lineups:

Liverpool

Simon Mignolet (15), goalkeeper
Jon Flanagan (38), left back
Daniel Agger (5), center back
Martin Skrtel (37), center back
Glen Johnson (2), right back
Steven Gerrard (8), midfielder
Joe Allen (24), midfielder
Jordan Henderson (14), midfielder
Philippe Coutinho (10), forward
Daniel Sturridge (15), forward
Luis Suarez (7), forward

Substitutes

Brad Jones (1), goalkeeper
Mamadou Sakho (17), defender
Aly Cissokho (20), defender
Lucas Leiva (21), midfielder
Raheem Sterling (31), forward
Victor Moses (12), forward
Iago Aspas (9), striker

Sunderland

Vito Mannone (25), goalkeeper
Phil Bardsley (2), right back
Wes Brown (5), center back
Santiago Vergini (27), center back
John O’Shea (16), center back
Andrea Dossena (3), left back
Lee Cattermole (33), midfielder
Liam Birdcutt (26), midfielder
Emanuele Giaccherini (23), midfielder
Jozy Altidore (17), striker
Conor Wickham (10), striker

Substitutes

Oscar Ustari (31), goalkeeper
Valentin Roberge (29), defender
Sung-Yong Ki (4), midfielder
Sebastian Larsson (7), midfielder
Jack Colback (14), midfielder
Adam Johnson (11), midfielder
Ignacio Scocco (30), striker

12:30 p.m. ET: Familiarity will be in the air when Liverpool plays Sunderland at Anfield on Wednesday.

The Premier League clash could feature players who have played for and against both teams on a number of occasions. Liverpool goalkeeper Simon Mignolet and midfielder Jordan Henderson joined the Reds directly from Sunderland. Sunderland’s on-loan striker Fabio Borini will be at the game but won’t play against his parent club, while fullback Andrea Dossena could suit up against his former team.

Liverpool and Sunderland are facing different challenges despite the players’ shared history. The Reds can reclaim second place in the standings and move to within one point of leaders Chelsea with a victory. Sunderland is locked in a relegation fight, and the Balck Cats must amass as many points as they can to avoid the drop into the Championship (second division).

Liverpool won 3-1 when these teams last met back in late September. The Reds are in much better form now than they were then, as they seek to win their seventh-straight league game — their longest winning streak since the 2005-06 season. Sunderland has lost its last five games in all competitions, dating back to Feb. 15.

Wednesday’s game kicks off at 3:45 p.m. ET. Watch this space, as we’ll bring you all the action as it happens.

Have a question for Marcus Kwesi O’Mard? Send it to him via Twitter at @NESNsoccer or @mkomard, his Facebook page or NESN Soccer’s Facebook page or send it here.

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