Liverpool Live Blog: Liverpool, Sunderland Play to a 1-1 Draw in Season Opener

Liverpool Live Blog: Liverpool, Sunderland Play to a 1-1 Draw in Season Opener

Final, 1-1: Missed opportunities in the first half come back to bite Liverpool in the second.

The Reds dominated play in the first 45 minutes, but a missed penalty, a waved-off goal and a shot off the crossbar paved the way for Sebastian Larsson’s equalizer in the 56th minute.

All in all not a bad start to the season, but it’s hard not to feel that Liverpool let a win slip away.

Next up for the Reds is Arsenal on Aug. 20.

93′, 1-1: Liverpool catches a break, as Sunderland can’t connect on a counterattack.

The game is now in the final minute of extra time.

90′, 1-1: Four minutes of stoppage time have been added.

87′, 1-1: John Henry sighting!

There are also several fans in the crowd decked out in (Liverpool red) Red Sox hats.

81′, 1-1: Apparently the officials are just as excited for the season opening as the players.

The game has been filled with yellow cards (eight between the teams) and whistles (28 total fouls), particularly in the second half. It’s made it tough to watch at times.

75′, 1-1: Some nice work by Andy Carrol results in a nicely taken corner kick by Charlie Adam.

Luis Suarez leaves the game for midfielder Raul Meireles.

61′, 1-1: Liverpool makes its first sub, bringing midfielder Dirk Kuyt in for Jordan Henderson.

At 6-foot-3, Andy Carroll is going to be a nightmare for opposing players to defend on corners and set pieces. He’s already shown that on a couple occasions today.

56′, 1-1: As soon as I compliment Liverpool’s D, they give up two easy chances right in front of goal — one of which was finished.

Asamoah Gyan hit an uncontested header, right at Pepe Reina. And just minutes later (in the 57th minute) Sunderland’s Sebastian Larsson got behind the defense to finish a terrific volley. The goal came off of — surprise, surprise — a corner kick.

Like the announcer mentioned, occasional defensive lapses are something that plagued Liverpool throughout preseason. It’s still too early to judge whether that will be a season-long issue, but it’s been the Reds’ downfall here in the opener.

48′, Liverpool 1-0: With the exception of the early PK, Charlie Adam has been apart of seemingly every scoring chance.

The 25-year-old midfielder let go another long-range shot that went just a few feet wide of the net.

It’s been a better start to the second half by Sunderland, but Liverpool’s D has been rock solid so far.

46′, Liverpool 1-0: Second half is now underway.

No changes made by either team.

Halftime, 1-0 Liverpool: Good start to the season for Liverpool, as the Reds take a 1-0 lead into halftime of their season opener against Sunderland.

The stats really don’t tell the story of the game’s first 45 minutes. While the teams are even in corner kicks (3-3) and Sunderland actually has the slight edge in shots (6-5), Liverpool has fared far better in goal-scoring chances — including a missed penalty and a shot that nicked the top of the crossbar.

Sunderland has looked very dangerous on free kicks and corners, though, so if they come up with an equalizer in the second half, expect it to be off a set play.

45′, Liverpool 1-0: There will two minutes of time added to the first half.

43′, Liverpool 1-0: Pepe Reina made a gamble on a free kick — and it wasn’t a great one.

Fortunately for the Reds, no one on Sunderland could connect, and the ball rolled harmlessly out of bounds for a goal kick.

Jamie Carragher just picked up a yellow card for a dangerous tackle near midfield.

34′, Liverpool 1-0: Stewart Downing came just inches from putting home the goal of the year (yes, I know it’s not even one-half old yet).

After making a coast-to-coast run down the right flank, Downing cut to the middle before striking a shot with his left foot that skimmed the top of the crossbar.

While Sunderland has the 5-4 edge in shots, the Reds have certainly had the better scoring chances in the game’s first 35 minutes.

21′, Liverpool 1-0: A slight nudge by Andy Carroll is all that kept Liverpool from taking a 2-0 lead.

Charlie Adam sent in another good cross — this time from the left side — that found Carroll in the box. The forward then collected the ball before striking it into the back of the net.

The goal was waved off, however, as Carroll was whistled for pushing an airborn Sunderland defender in the back.

Adam, meanwhile, has had his fingerprints all over this game so far. In addition to the two good crosses, he hit a blast from 25 feet that nearly found its way past Simon Mignolet.

12′, Liverpool 1-0: Well, it didn’t take long for Luis Suarez to atone for his missed penalty show.

Liverpool received a free kick just right of the 18-yard box, which Charlie Adam drove low and hard toward the near post. All it took from Suarez was a deflection to beat Sunderland keeper Simon Mignolet.

1-0 Liverpool as the game approaches the 20-minute mark.

7′, 0-0: The 2011-12 season is underway, and what a start it’s been to the Liverpool-Sunderland opener.

Goalie Pepe Reina stopped an easy scoring chance off a corner kick, and just minutes later, forward Luis Suarez was taken down in the box on a breakaway — resulting in a penalty kick and yellow card for Sunderland’s Kieran Richardson.

Incredibly, though, Suarez sailed the PK well above the crossbar.

The game remains scoreless in the 10th minute, but it hasn’t been lacking in action early on.

12 a.m. ET: Premier League football is back at Anfield.

It begins Saturday, as Liverpool hosts Sunderland in the first match of the Premier League season.

After a July tour through Asia, Liverpool looks to build on the momentum gained toward the end of last season, after manager Kenny Dalglish took over the helm.

That begins against Sunderland.

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