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2 January 2013
• Anfield, Liverpool
Referee: P. Dowd
• Attendance: 44228
R. Sterling 19'
L. Suárez 26', 52'
90' + 2'
It's all over at Anfield and Liverpool have won here comfortably as goals from Luis Suarez and Raheem Sterling are enough to secure the points in a truly dominant win. The Reds were all over Sunderland from the opening minutes and duly deserve their victory. The Black Cats were all at seas defensively for 90 minutes and if not for some good keeping from Simon Mignolet and the offside flag the score could have been a lot worse.
Sunderland are playing for the final whistle. They won't want to dwell on this one as they've been outplayed from start to finish. Liverpool are in cruise control.
OFFSIDE!!! Allen is in again and this time he does put the ball into the net from Downing's cross but it's disallowed as the former Aston Villa man is offside. Replays show he is just, will the midfielder get his goal?
OFF THE POST!!!! Allen comes close again to getting a goal as his shot clips the outside of the post. Johnson raided down the left and crossed into the area where he found the run of the Welshman who made contact but he just couldn't get it into the net.
CHANCE!!! Liverpool's passing game almost pays off again as Gerrard finds space on the edge of the area and blasts a volley just over the bar. it was close but Mignolet appeared to have it covered.
The ball falls to McFadden who plays in Fletcher but the Scot just can't get control of the ball and Agger does well in putting the ball behind for a corner.
Liverpool are in a nice mood tonight as they could have gone for the kill at any point but they seem content on just knocking the ball around at the back and midfield.
Sunderland are still competing we'll give them that but they just can't muster anything going forward it's been a horror show from their midfield and defence.
OFFSIDE!!!! Johnson is put behind the Sunderland defence by Suso. He turns Gardner and puts the ball beyond Mignolet but the flag is up. Replays show he's marginally off.
CHANCE!!!! Allen comes so close to making it 4-0 but his shot on the edge of the box is deflected over by Rose who slides across his goal to stop the ball hitting the net. Suso and Gerrard had combined well to set up the attack. There's just no stopping Liverpool at the moment.
CHANCE!!!! Suarez is in again and is denied by Mignolet who makes a great save with his feet. The Belgian is the only thing stopping the score from getting out of hand here.
CHANCE!!!! Simon Mignolet makes a great save to deny Gerrard. His volley from the edge of the area hits Cuellar on the head and looks to heading into the top corner but the Belgian reacts and tips the ball over the bar.
Liverpool are passing the ball at their leisure with no pressure coming from the Sunderland midfield at all. Gerrard is in his element.
CHANCE! Allen twists and turns inside the Sunderland box but eventually loses the ball as he takes on Kilgallon and Mignolet collects.
Disappointing effort from Suarez as his free kick smacks the wall and goes all the way back to Skrtel in the centre circle.
Yellow Card James McClean
Free kick for Liverpool just outside the penalty area as McClean fouls Suarez and goes into the referee's book.
Johnson raids down the right for Sunderland but takes one too many touches as he looks to whip the ball into the area and his cross is easily gathered by Reina.
Sunderland are reeling now, especially at the back where they're being picked apart with ease. Carlos Cuellar and Matt Kigalllon aren't having the best of games.
Assist Steven Gerrard
Goal Luis Suárez
GOALLLL!!!!! Suarez makes it 3-0 as he taps home from close range after latching onto a wonderful through ball from Gerrard. The England skipper dissected the Sunderland defence with a 40-yard bomb allowing the striker a simple finish past Mignolet.
CHANCE!!!! Sterling misses an absolute sitter as he fires wide of goal after being played in by a wonderful flick from Suarez. The Uruguayan wasn't even looking when he played the ball behind the defence for the 18-year-old.
Sunderland come forward through Campbell who hits a pass towards Fletcher who gets the wrong side of Johnson but the full-back is there to make a good interception.
Johnson gives the ball away to Sterling who finds Henderson on the right. He lifts a cross into the area and Gardner has to put the ball behind for a corner.
Back underway at Anfield. One change for Sunderland at the break as Fraizer Campbell replaces Stephane Sessegnon who picked up a knock during the first half.
Our man at Anfield, Jack Gaughan, summarises: "Half-time at Anfield and it’s been relatively comfortable for Liverpool thus far. They lead by two goals to nil thanks to Raheem Sterling and Luis Suarez against a Black Cats side who really don’t want to make an imprint on this game. Martin O’Neill will be furious with their defending, but he’s only himself to blame. Is Matt Kilgallon a Premier League central defender? No. Is Titus Bramble, on the bench tonight? No. Oh, herein lies the problems facing Sunderland…"
Half-time at Anfield and Liverpool are leading comfortably 2-0 thanks to strikes from Raheem Sterling and Luis Suarez. Both were allowed the freedom of the Sunderland area and provided excellent finishes. Sunderland had chances of their own but James McClean and Matt Kilgallon couldn't beat Pepe Reina and that's the difference between the two sides. The Black Cats need to buck up their ideas if they want to get back into this one.
A poor free kick from Larsson allows Reina to collect and release Sterling. The 18-year-old pokes the ball out wide to Suarez but luckily for Sunderland, Colback is there and forces a throw in off the Uruguayan.
Liverpool knocking around the ball with a swagger as half-time approaches. Henderson and Gerrard are making good inroads into the Sunderland midfield and are starting to impose themselves further on the game.
Free kick is deflected out for a corner and from the resulting cross Skrtel heads over the bar, where he should have done a lot better.
Free kick for Liverpool just outside the edge of the box after Rose fouls Sterling.
Liverpool look dangerous every time they come forward and again Mignolet is forced into action, this time to stop a Suarez effort creeping into the bottom corner.
CHANCE!!!!! Another chance for Sunderland as Kigallon misses a sitter from close range. He latched onto Johnson's ball over the top of the defence and fired at goal but Reina was on hand to make the save. Fletcher was unmarked in front of goal had the defender looked up.
Suarez is giving Kilgallon a torrid time at the moment, again he forces him into an error as he heads the ball straight to Henderson who forces Mignolet into action with a shot from distance.
CHANCE!!!! Opportunities at both ends as first Sunderland threaten through Cuellar who just can't get enough on his header, after some neat interplay McClean fires straight at Reina. Liverpool then break through Sterling who just can't get the ball into the feet of Suarez as Cuellar breaks up the attack.
Henderson whips in a dangerous ball into the box and nearly finds Downing who somehow misses the target as he escaped the attentions of Gardner at the back post.
Assist Steven Gerrard
Goal Luis Suárez
GOALLL!!! Suarez makes it 2-0 to Liverpool as he fires home from close range on a great counter attacking move. Gerrard released the striker and Cuellar tried to stop him but failed allowing the Uruguayan a path at goal and he duly finished in style.
Good defending by Cuellar as Suarez skins Kilgallon before driving a cross into the area but the Spaniard is in the right place to clear the danger.
CHANCE!!!!! Sunderland should be level as McClean misses an absolute sitter from close range as he puts his left-footed shot past the post. Sessegnon and Fletcher combined to set him clear but he couldn't provide the finish.
Jordan Henderson is down as he takes a clattering from Cuellar. He looks to be ok though and should be able to run off the challenge.
Assist Luis Suárez
Goal Raheem Sterling
GOALLL!!!!! Liverpool take the lead out of nothing through Raheem Sterling who lifts the ball over Mignolet and into the net. Suarez put the 18-year-old through and he made no mistake giving his side the lead.
The game as settled down a bit now although an error from Kilgallon nearly allowed Suarez in but the centre-back quickly recovered to clear the danger.
Sessegnon does well for Sunderland as wins a throw deep in Liverpool territory beating the challenges for Agger and Downing. He'll need to be at his best if Sunderland are to get anything here.
Downing strikes the ball and it looks to be creeping into the corner of the net but Mignolet gets across and pushes the ball out for a corner. A great save.
Free kick for Liverpool as Luis Suarez is brought down by Matt Kigallon on the edge of the box.
Stephane Sessegnon raids forward on the left and drops the ball into the middle of the box but he can't find Steven Fletcher as Agger intercepts the cross.
Liverpool threaten in the Sunderland box but as the ball goes wide to Stewart Downing he's caught offside.
Liverpool's turn to attack as the ball is put into the Sunderland box which Seb Larsson clears but only as far as Steven Gerrard who tees up Andre Wisdom but he fires just over the bar.
A corner from Sunderland comes in from the left and James McClean gets his head to it and flicks it on but no-one in red and white can react and Daniel Agger clears the danger.
First chance to whip a ball in falls to Sunderland and Adam Johnson who curls a dangerous ball in which Liverpool half clear. Gardner gets the ball on the edge of the box and sees his shot deflected over.
Slow start to the game here as Liverpool drive into the Sunderland half but Craig Gardner is on hand to boot the ball clear back into the arms of Pepe Reina.
We're underway at Anfield.
STAT ATTACK: Martin O'Neill has faced Liverpool 18 times in the Premier League, winning six, drawing seven and losing five.
STAT ATTACK: Liverpool have lost just three times in 15 Premier League encounters against Sunderland, but have won just one of the last five clashes.
Sunderland have made one change from the team that lost to Tottenham on Saturday as John O'Shea is out with a hamstring strain and is replaced by Danny Rose. Matt Kilgallon slides into centre-back partnering Carlos Cuellar.
Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers returns to the dugout tonight after missing Sunday's victory over QPR with illness. He makes two changes for the clash against the Black Cats as Andre Wisdom and Lucas come in for Jose Enrique and Joe Allen.
A Liverpool attack breaks down and now it's Simon Mignolet's turn to collect the ball and clear downfield. Both teams are easing their way in here.
TEAM NEWS: Sunderland: Mignolet; Gardner, Cuellar, Killgallon, Rose; Johnson, Colback, Larsson, McClean; Sessegnon; Fletcher Subs: Westwood, Bardsley, Campbell, Wickham, McFadden, Vaughan, Bramble
TEAM NEWS: Liverpool: Reina; Wisdom, Agger, Skrtel, Johnson; Henderson, Lucas; Sterling, Gerrard, Downing; Suarez. Subs: Jones, Sahin, Carragher, Allen, Suso, Shelvey, Robinson
Hello and welcome to Goal.com's LIVE! commentary of this evening's Premier League clash between Liverpool and Sunderland at Anfield. I'm Simon Sinclair and I'll be keeping you up to date with all the build-up and action as it happens on Merseyside.
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