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Premier League

  • December 6, 2014
  • • 23:00
  • • Anfield, Liverpool
  • Referee: N. Swarbrick
  • • Attendance: 44716

Liverpool 0–0 Sunderland: Subdued Reds fire Anfield blanks again

Liverpool 0–0 Sunderland: Subdued Reds fire Anfield blanks again

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Raheem Sterling saw a penalty shout denied in the latter stages of the game as the Reds failed to record back-to-back home victories

A toothless Liverpool failed to break down Sunderland as the two sides played out a dour goalless draw in the Premier League on Saturday.

Brendan Rodgers' side came into the clash at Anfield buoyed by back-to-back victories over Stoke City and Leicester City but they fell short of making it three consecutive league wins for the first time this season.

Captain Steven Gerrard, so impressive at Leicester on Tuesday, was back on the Liverpool bench and replaced by Philippe Coutinho.

But the Brazilian failed to provide the creative spark Liverpool so desperately needed, and it was the visitors who arguably had the better of the chances through Wes Brown and Connor Wickham.
By Peter O'Rourke

Liverpool’s struggles in front of goal were again evident for everyone to see at Anfield as they drew a blank against Sunderland and were forced to settle for a goalless draw.

After two wins against Stoke and Leicester Liverpool were thought to have turned a corner, but they struggled for long periods in the game and it was not until the introduction of Steven Gerrard that the home fans came to life as he raised the tempo of the performance.

For Sunderland it was a welcome point and performance off the back of their 4-1 midweek defeat to Manchester City and for parts of the game they looked the more likely to score.

For Brendan Rodgers it is back to the drawing board ahead of Liverpool’s biggest week of the season next week against Basel in the Champions League and next Sunday’s trip to arch-rivals Manchester United.

For Sunderland, who have never won in the Premier League at Anfield, a point represents an encouraging response following their chastening 4-1 defeat to Manchester City on Wednesday.

Gus Poyet's side remained solid throughout, with the likes of Coutinho, Adam Lallana and Raheem Sterling unable to provide frontman Rickie Lambert with any clear chances to break the stalemate.

Gerrard was introduced in place of Lallana midway through the second half, but Liverpool's talisman was unable to inspire his side to find a winner as they were forced to settle for a share of the spoils.

Coutinho for Gerrard was one of two changes for the hosts, with Alberto Moreno coming in for Javi Manquillo in defence.

Poyet promised to freshen things up following the defeat in midweek, and stuck to his word as the team showed five alterations.

The visitors had shouts for a penalty waved away in the third minute when Wickham went down under a challenge from Martin Skrtel.

Goalmouth action was scarce, but Sunderland had the best chance before the break when Brown powered a header over the crossbar from Seb Larsson's corner on the stroke of half-time.

Liverpool appealed for a penalty in the 51st minute when Moreno's low cross deflected off John O'Shea and struck Jordi Gomez on the arm, but once again referee Neil Swarbrick was unmoved.

Wickham then flashed a left-footed volley across goal as Sunderland threatened an opener, before Liverpool's first effort of note arrived in the 64th minute as Lucas Leiva's strike from distance brought a comfortable save out of Costel Pantilimon.

The Romanian goalkeeper was in action again 12 minutes from time, parrying Coutinho's drive following a mazy dribble and pass from Sterling.

Gomez stung the palms of Simon Mignolet with a rasping drive three minutes later and although Liverpool enjoyed the majority of possession in the closing stages, Rodgers' men failed to make the crucial breakthrough.