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Graeme Bailey reports: “Strangely, since going down to 10 men Sunderland have been much improved with Adam Johnson particularly looking impressive and suddenly involved in the game. This game isn't done and dusted just yet...”
Jordan Henderson enters the book for a clear foul on Adam Johnson, while Dejan Lovren flies in on Patrick van Aanholt and picks up a quick yellow card. That's seven bookings, including Liam Bridcutt's second, in this match.
So close to an equaliser! Ten-man Sunderland are on the attack and the ball is laid off to Adam Johnson 25 yards out. He takes a touch to control and lets fly with a swerving left-footed strike. Simon Mignolet can’t get to it and almost cowers in the Liverpool goal as it cannons back off the crossbar and away.
Graeme Bailey reports: “Sunderland will need a re-think with Liam Bridcutt getting a second yellow for bringing down Emre Can who was surging forward from midfield. Silly challenge.”
Any chance Sunderland had of getting back in this appears to be gone. Emre Can has too much pace for Liam Bridcutt, already booked, down the right wing and the Black Cats midfielder brings him down with a silly push. It’s soft, but it’s a second yellow card and he’s off.
The Stadium of Light may have seen Steven Gerrard for the final time - he's replaced by Dejan Lovren due to a tight muscle problem. Emre Can will push up to midfield.
LIVE: Sunderland 0-1 Liverpool
While we wait for the second half, a little nod in the direction of the games coming up a bit later...
Sunderland 0-1 Liverpool - latest
Burnley v QPR
Chelsea v Newcastle
Everton v Manchester City
Leicester v Aston Villa
Swansea v West Ham
West Brom v Hull
Crystal Palace v Tottenham
Oh yes. We’ve not neglected our beloved transfer window followers. David de Gea to Real Madrid? Andre Ayew to Tottenham? Raphael Varane to Bayern Munich? James Dutton has the lowdown...
LIVE: Latest transfer news and rumours
Graeme Bailey reports: “Boos ring out around the Stadium of Light at half-time and Liverpool will be wondering how they are leading Sunderland by just one goal. Lazar Markovic's goal is the difference, but he should have had a penalty before he opened the scoring on eight minutes. He also hit the bar, whilst Fabio Borini, Steven Gerrard and Jordan Henderson all went close. Simon Mignolet was a virtual spectator in the away goal.”
Graeme Bailey reports: “Biggest cheer of the day from the Sunderland fans is saved for Fabio Borini as he hits the side netting after rounding Costel Pantilimon following a wonderful ball from Emre Can.”
Fabio Borini makes a good run off the shoulder of last defender Wes Brown. He only has Costel Pantilimon to beat but, having rounded the goalkeeper, shoots into the side-netting from a narrow angle. Should have done better.
Graeme Bailey reports: “Jordan Henderson strikes the post, Steven Gerrard hits the side-netting and then tests Costel Pantilimon. Fair to say this is one-way traffic at the moment. Sunderland have not got going at all.”
This is more like it from Liverpool. They get forward in numbers now as Fabio Borini controls, holds up play and lays the ball off to Steven Gerrard. The visitors have players queuing up but Gerrard takes a left-footed shot on first-time which is straight at Costel Pantilimon.
Philippe Coutinho lofts an excellent pass over the top to Jordan Henderson, who appears to bring the ball down with his chest before turning well and striking an effort against the post. Henderson had his arms raised and the referee - incorrectly, it seems - adjudges him to have handled.
Steven Gerrard runs across Liam Bridcutt on halfway and the Sunderland midfielder sticks out his leg to trip the Liverpool skipper. And now Philippe Coutinho receives a booking for not allowing Santiago Vergini to take a quick free kick. Gus Poyet looks furious with Coutinho!
Graeme Bailey reports: “Sunderland really struggling to cope with Liverpool's 3-4-2-1 formation - they don't know what to do with the wing-backs Markovic and Moreno, which is allowing Gerrard and Coutinho all sorts of room. Poyet wanting more work from Giaccherini and Johnson out wide.”
Lazar Markovic - you have arrived, my friend. The summer signing struggled in the first half of the season but he’s stealing the show here. He should have had a penalty early on, then scored the goal, and now he rattles the crossbar with a spectacular half-volley from 20 yards out.
Santiago Vergini struggles to get the ball from Alberto Moreno and reverts to flinging out his arm towards the face of the Spanish full-back. Moreno makes a meal of it but it’s silly from Vergini. Steven Gerrard’s resulting free kick is tipped over by Costel Pantilimon.