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    Liverpool 2-0 Sunderland Match Report


    Liverpool moved to the top of the Premier League on Saturday afternoon with a hard-earned victory over a Sunderland side who remain bottom after 13 matches.

    Despite having to soak up constant pressure, the early-season strugglers held their hosts to a goalless draw for 75 minutes before Divock Origi finally broke the deadlock with his first league goal of the campaign.

    James Milner sealed the win with a last-minute penalty to extend his side's unbeaten run in the Premier League to 11 matches and to 14 games in all competitions.



    The result gave The Reds top-spot for a few hours before Chelsea defeated previously-unbeaten Tottenham in the evening game to retain their leadership at the top of the table for another week.

    An unchanged Liverpool team went into the match without Adam Lallana once again due to a groin injury, while Daniel Sturridge was missing from the matchday squad with a calf injury.

    Their opponents were in search of only a third league win at Anfield since 1936 but would need to achieve that feat without the services of Papy Djilobodji, who was sent-off in the 3-0 win against Hull City.

    The home side started the match on the front-foot but they had to wait until the 14th minute to create a clear opening when Georginio Wijnaldum's turn and strike from the edge of the penalty area was comfortably saved by Jordan Pickford.

    Although Sunderland offered very little in the match from an attacking perspective, they did create two clear-cut chances with the first falling to Steven Pienaar in the first-half, but his left-footed strike from five yards was well-smothered by Loris Karius.

    After failing to make a breakthrough in the first 30 minutes, Liverpool's hopes were dented further when Philippe Coutinho was stretchered off with an ankle injury following a robust challenge from Didier N'Dong.



    The Reds ended the first-half strongly, however, with substitute Divock Origi winning a free-kick that allowed Jordan Henderson to pick out Dejan Lovren at the back-post, but the unmarked Croatian headed a yard wide.

    Lovren then attempted a 25-yard piledriver in first-half stoppage time, which sailed a yard wide of the left-hand post, while Sadio Mane beat two Sunderland defenders inside the area but his left-footed strike was comfortably saved by Pickford.

    After Liverpool sustained 80 per cent possession in a one-sided first-half, there was still no let-up for the visitors after the break and Wijnaldum should have finally broken the deadlock when he volleyed wide from eight yards.

    Roberto Firmino was next to try his luck, after weaving past Patrick van Aanholt and Pienaar on the edge of the penalty area, but his left-footed strike was well saved by Pickford as it threatened to sneak into the near-post.

    As the home fans seemed resigned to dropping points for the second successive game, Jurgen Klopp performed a rallying call to his supporters on the touchline and it seemed to have the desired effect with Anfield returning to its famous cauldron atmosphere.



    Almost immediately, Origi's headed knockdown teed up Emre Can, a yard inside the penalty area, but the German international once again failed to give his side the lead when he volleyed a yard wide of the post.

    For all Liverpool's superiority, the visitors created their second guilt-edged opportunity of the game when Victor Anichebe played in Duncan Watmore but the youngster's first touch took him away from goal and allowed Karius to close down the angle.

    It proved Sunderland's last chance to claim the most unlikely of victories, with normal service resuming minutes later when Mane was denied from inside the penalty area by Jason Denayer's heroic block.

    After 75 minutes of almost constant pressure, Liverpool finally broke the deadlock through Divock Origi's third goal of the season although it came with an element of fortune.

    The Belgian international picked up the ball on the left-wing before delivering an inswinging cross to the back-post, which evaded a crowded penalty area and curled into the bottom right-hand corner past Pickford.



    The goal seemed to knock the stuffing out of the away side, who offered very little in response to going behind and only seemed content on stopping Liverpool from extending their lead in the final 15 minutes.

    The home side finally sealed their win when Sadio Mane's blistering pace took him free of Denayer on the right-wing before he was tripped by N'Dong, the only covering defender, inside the penalty area.

    James Milner stepped up and slotted the ball into the bottom left-hand corner to end any possibility of a Sunderland comeback, which seemed unlikely once the visitors began to tire in the latter stages of the game.



    The match proved a tough examination for Liverpool's title-chasing side and one that Jurgen Klopp had been weary of prior to kick-off when he warned his players to guard again complacency.

    It was, however, a test that they passed courtesy the momentum they had created in the final quarter of the game that had been inspired by their manager's rallying call to his supporters.

    The result kept the pressure on Chelsea, prior to the London side's home match against Tottenham on Saturday evening, but The Blues responded with a 2-1 victory to end the weekend on top of the league by a single point.

    While Sunderland will be disappointed that their battling display was not rewarded, they can take encouragement from the fact that they kept the Premier League's most potent strikeforce at bay, away from home, for 75 minutes.



    There were enough positive signs throughout the match to suggest that the Black Cats have finally turned the corner as they try to climb out of the bottom-three, having remained there remained since September.

    Liverpool return to Premier League action on Sunday afternoon when they travel to the South Coast to face Bournemouth, while Sunderland play champions Leicester City at The Stadium Of Light a day earlier.
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    Item Reviewed: Liverpool 2-0 Sunderland Match Report Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Richard Tufft
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