Sunderland Hold Liverpool to Draw

LONDON– Liverpool's miserable week was only partially redeemed by a 2-2 draw with moderate Sunderland at Anfield.

Liverpool were still smarting from a shock home defeat by Northampton in the League Cup when Dirk Kuyt temporarily lifted the gloom with a controversial early goal.

But with Darren Bent scoring twice for Sunderland, Liverpool needed a typical piece of magic from Steven Gerrard to rescue a point.

Even a draw was not enough to dispel Liverpool doubts about the ability of manager Roy Hodgson to bring back the glory years to Anfield.

Liverpool have now collected only six points from as many games and their fans are not used to seeing them in 15th place in the last week of September.

Hodgson was unrepentant, believing Liverpool will eventually rise up the table to contest honours, as they normally do.

Hodgson said: "You have to fight for everything at this level. There are no easy home wins in the Premier League.

"Losing to Northampton was a setback, I can't deny that but we have to move on.

"The way we came back from 2-1 down today was commendable and might have led to something better.

"Towards the end of the game we were creating a lot of chances and we might have won. But overall we deserved our point."

Liverpool were given a fluky start when Sunderland gifted them a goal from their own free kick.

Michael Turner turned when taking the free kick and tapped it towards goalkeeper Simon Mignolet, indicating, Sunderland claimed, that he wanted Mignolet to take the kick.

But referee Stuart Atwell was happy the kick had been taken by Turner and Kuyt latched on to it and ran on to score.

Sunderland equalised in the 25th minute when Christian Poulsen handled a centre from Ahmed Al Muhammadi and Bent stepped up to score from the spot kick.

Bent was on target again in the 48th minute when he got in front of defender Glen Johnson to head in a cross from Nedum Onuoha.

Gerrard saved Liverpool from another embarrassing home defeat when he headed in Kuyt's deflected centre and in stoppage time, Daniel Agger wasted a chance to snatch a late winner.

Sunderland manager Steve Bruce was left fuming at the decision to allow the first goal to stand.

Bruce said: "Where do you start to analyse all this? We can talk about referee decisions and in that way it deflects from the way we played. The first goal was a joke and should never have been allowed.

"Everyone in the ground, even Liverpool fans, knew Turner was attempting to push the ball back to where the free kick should have been taken. He had not played it.

"That apart, we did fantastically well to come back and lead 2-1 so it was a bit disappointing to then concede another goal. We were hanging on a bit at the end but it's a cracking point."

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