Before Luis Suarez bagged a well-earned equalizer for Brendan Rodgers’ Liverpool I sat hunched in my chair, worried that I’d seen this match a thousand times before, and a third league defeat was sure to come. A little pessimistic, sure, but last season’s goal scoring deficiency still lingers, perpetuated by the loaning of Andy Carroll and the lack of deadline day acquisitions.
Thankfully, however, the boys in red had other ideas. And rightly so. I think we played pretty well overall, controlling the game and creating plenty of opportunities. As usual, sadly, our lack of cutting edge prevented us from taking the lead whilst on top. Sunderland scored their goal against the run of play, after Craig Gardner all too easily waltzed past Suarez and Johnson before crossing to Fletcher who poked it home. I don’t know what Martin Skrtel was doing at that point. He let the Scotsman get away and that was that, one goal down.
Raheem Sterling was exciting on the wing and, seventy one minutes in, he worked a bit of magic on Danny Rose to skip past and deliver a cross. A bit of defensive pinball later, Suarez pounced to hammer home the equaliser. We deserved it, too. Still a work in progress, still faults, still promising play and exciting players. But no win, as of yet. It’s coming, though. Here’s a run down of how I think Liverpool’s playing personnel got on at the Stadium of Light.
Pepe Reina – 6/10 – A tidy enough performance from the Spaniard. No discernible clangers will hopefully get people off his back a little bit.
Martin Kelly - 6/10 – Solid performance. Not as expansive as Johnson would have been at right back, but a safe pair of feet all the same.
Martin Skrtel - 5/10 – Played a big part in the Sunderland goal by losing Fletcher. Otherwise no real fuss.
Daniel Agger - 6/10 – I thought the Dane was okay; not great, and maybe could have been better placed for their goal. But as ever, he looked to build play from the back and is comfortable with what Rodgers’ asks of him.
Glen Johnson – 6/10 – Good game for Glen, apart from letting Gardener ease past him for their goal. He worked hard getting forward, and was unlucky to see his quality shot hit the crossbar. Let’s not forget, he’s playing on his weaker side of the pitch whilst Jose Enrique fully recovers from a knee injury.
Joe Allen – 7/10 – Another good game for Joe Allen, keeping possession well and always showing for his team mates.
Steven Gerrard - 6/10 – Not bad. Didn’t create too much, even tried to force it at times, but a much better showing than he gave against Arsenal.
Jonjo Shelvey – 6/10 – Didn’t do great apart from that positive little run which led to a partially scuffed left footed shot. Same as Gerrard, really. Nothing too bad or good. Reflects the result, really.
Raheem Sterling - 8/10 – Always looked a threat, and essentially provided the assist for Luis Suarez after some tidy step-overs and a dangerous cross. It’s a shame that he’s so young and needs protecting, as I’d love to see him continue starting every game.
Luis Suarez – 7/10 – I personally thought he seemed a little off his game. Not poor like he was against Arsenal, but didn’t seem at his best. Still, deserves credit for working hard and bagging his third goal of the season.
Fabio Borini – 5/10 – Borini seemed quite anonymous, to me. I know he had a couple of decent pops at goal, but he doesn’t seem to be taking the game by the scruff. I hope once the team starts to increase in confidence, he’ll come to life. I also think he might do well in the Europa League games.
Subs: Downing (5.5) came on and did well enough, made some runs, got some crosses in – all without affecting the game too much, mind.
Overall it was typical Liverpool, really. Right now we control, look decent enough, and then concede due to an error when we’re otherwise solid, and have lots of chances without scoring many. So there’s lots of 6′s in there. Did well, but not great or terrible. We need to find more confidence in ourselves. Of course, goals would help that, and our attacking problems are well documented.
A win would have been great, but a draw is okay. Martin O’Neill’s Sunderland are a good team, and we showed good spirit to keep going and get ourselves back in the game. Hopefully we win midweek, and then head into the United game rearing to go. So the trend goes, we raise our game for the big boys. I’m hoping that continues.
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This article was first posted on September 17, 2012