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September 29, 2013
• Stadium of Light, Sunderland
Referee: H. Webb
• Attendance: 41415
E. Giaccherini 52'
D. Sturridge 28'
L. Suárez 36', 89'
That's all for our coverage of Sunderland v Liverpool this afternoon. Many thanks for joining us for what was a thoroughly entertaining match. Hope to see you again soon!
Liverpool, though, take on Crystal Palace at Anfield next week and will be buoyed by a superb display from Sturridge and the returning Suarez, and Brendan Rodgers will undoubtedly be delighted to bounce back from defeats to Southampton and Manchester United.
Unfortunately, though, it means the Black Cats are still rooted to the bottom of the league table with only one point from six games. Kevin Ball will be encouraged by that display, but they next face the tough task of hosting Manchester United next weekend.
And that's FULL TIME at the Stadium of Light, and Liverpool move up into second in the Premier League after grinding out a 3-1 win over Sunderland this afternoon. The hosts will be disappointed but it was a much-imrpoved performance with plenty of heart.
90' + 3'
Sturridge is down on the ground receiving help for cramp from Henderson. The striker has been magnificent today, scoring one and setting up the other two.
90' + 2'
Giaccherini hasn't completely given up and moves down the left before winning a corner off Henderson. He swings it in from the left and it almost falls for Gardner before it comes out to Johnson, who tries a long-range effort but it's way off target.
The home fans are piling out of the stadium as we enter three minutes of stoppage time. Sunderland have played well today but they know the game is lost now.
Assist Daniel Sturridge
Goal Luis Suárez
SUAREZ SCORES!! And that seals it for Liverpool! Mignolet claims the corner comfortably and the Reds counter brilliantly. Suarez clips a fantastic pass over for Sturridge, before the striker pushes to the by-line and plays it across goal for Suarez to finish from close range at the far post. Game over.
Sunderland push forward again and Giaccherini floats it into the box looking for Altidore, but Gerrard is there to challenge and send it behind for a corner.
Suarez holds off two defenders in the box before sending it wide to Sterling, but the youngster's cross is well cleared by O'Shea.
Just a few minutes left for the hosts to get back on level terms. Liverpool, meanwhile, are still searching for a second-half goal. Suarez is penalised in the Sunderland half and the Black Cats have possession.
Liverpool start a swift counter through Sterling on the right, and he squares it to Sturridge he is about to pull the trigger before Cuellar gets back to slide in and get the ball back to Westwood with a superb challenge.
Lucas picks up a yellow card for a needless foul in midfield and that - incredibly - is already his fifth booking of the season so he will receive a one-match ban. Meanwhile the hosts press and win a corner, which Mignolet flicks out of the area and into touch for a throw.
Yellow Card Lucas Leiva
Altidore heads down a long ball for Johnson, who plays it wide for Celustka to cross, but it's well overhit and Giaccherini can only keep it in play for Toure to clear.
Yellow Card Jack Colback
Celustka fires a diagonal ball into the box but Toure is there to nod away before Colback is booked for a cynical trip as Liverpool try to break up the other end.
Good save! Toure runs forward and just keeps going with the defence backing off, so he tries an effort from 25 yards which Westwood parries behind for a corner.
Giaccherini receives the ball on the left and is one-on-one against Toure. He tries to push into the box and past the defender but Toure shows all his strength to muscle Giaccherini out of play.
It's just gone a bit quiet at the Stadium of Light, both on and off the pitch. You get the sense both sides are gearing up for a hard-fought last 10 minutes or so.
There's a change for either side as Ondrej Celustka replaces Cattermole and Raheem Sterling is on for Moses. 15 minutes left plus stoppage time - can the hosts get back on level terms?
Close! Suarez almost grabs another goal as he collects it on the edge of the box and sees one shot blocked before drilling it just wide of the post.
Chance! Enrique has it on the left and produces a superb early cross, which Suarez meets ahead of Cuellar but can't get a shot away and it bounces off the striker's body and through to Westwood.
There's more miscommunication in the Liverpool defence as Skrtel plays a pass straight out for a throw. Rodgers' men have not looked as confident in the second half.
Ki steals it off Gerrard and Sunderland break forward before Altidore wins a free kick off Lucas. The hosts force a corner from the set piece but Mignolet comes out to produce a strong fist to clear the ball almost up to halfway.
Close! Moses has it in a similar position but slightly further out, and this time plays an inswinging cross which evades everyone and just flashes wide of Westwood's far post.
Great save! Suarez's low ball goes out the other side of the box but Moses eventually gets hold before cutting on to his right and drilling a shot towards the near top corner which Westwood parries over acrobatically.
There's a lapse in concentration from Cuellar, whose pass out wide goes straight to Enrique and Liverpool push forward before Colback grabs hold of Sturridge's shirt on the right-hand edge of the box, and the visitors have a free kick in a dangerous position.
Moses concedes a free kick in midfield and Larsson swings it in from deep, but Mignolet is able to get hold of the ball and Liverpool survive the danger.
Enrique and Sakho both hesitate and Larsson sneaks in to poach the ball before feeding it to Altidore, who drives a shot from 25 yards straight at Mignolet.
Suarez and Sturridge link up again as Suarez squares it to his partner on the edge of the box before the England man lofts a delightful pass looking for Suarez's continued run, but he's held off by O'Shea and Westwood can gather.
Yellow Card Emanuele Giaccherini
There's a real sense of momentum shift, here, and Liverpool look nervy. Altidore shows excellent strength to hold off Skrtel in midfield and fire a pass across the field for Johnson which is intercepted, but the striker wins a free kick.
Cattermole shows real determination to hassle Sturridge and win the ball off the striker on the edge of his own box. It goes out for a throw but the Sunderland defence stands firm and they clear.
The hosts have really fired up the crowd now, and a roar goes up as they win possession and Giaccherini is set free on the left flank, but the flag goes up for offside.
For all the joy they're having out wide, Liverpool's system seems to leave them quite exposed through the middle. Sunderland will really fancy themselves now.
Mignolet hasn't looked comfortable all afternoon on his return to his former club, and you have to lay the blame with him there. The goalkeeper is almost caught out again as Gardner fires it through a mass of bodies, but this time he produces a fine save to turn it behind.
Goal Emanuele Giaccherini
GIACCHERINI SCORES!! SUNDERLAND ARE BACK IN IT!! Moments after Johnson drills it wide from 20 yards, Ki shoots from the same distance and Mignolet can only parry it back out, and Giaccherini is there first to finish and set up the second half perfectly.
Liverpool pass it comfortably along the back four before Enrique makes a complete hash of it and the ball rolls out for a throw, prompting an exasperated puff of the cheeks from Brendan Rodgers on the bench.
Chance! Gerrard's corner falls to Suarez at the far post six yards out, and the striker takes a touch before blasting a volley well over the bar. A very good chance for a second of the afternoon for Suarez, there.
Suarez has acres of space to run into and eventually spreads it out to Henderson, who returns the ball to the striker and he tries a shot with the outside of his right foot which deflects behind.
Henderson fires an early ball into the box looking for Suarez but it flicks off a defender and through to Westwood. Sunderland immediately move up the other end and Gardner's ball is half-cleared by Toure before Giaccherini completely fluffs his shot from the edge of the box.
Liverpool start the second half and we're back underway on Wearside.
We're moments away from the restart at the Stadium of Light. Can Sunderland get back in this match, or will Liverpool extend their lead. It's been a good open game so far, so hopefully we'll see plenty more action.
Of course, if previous form is anything to go by then that's that for Liverpool today. As mentioned earlier they haven't scored in the second half yet this season. With Suarez and Sturridge already on the scoresheet, though, they'll almost certainly be looking for more.
The Reds will move up to second in the Premier League table if the scoreline stays the same, putting them in a north London sandwich behind leaders Arsenal and ahead of Tottenham.
Things are looking good for Brendan Rodgers' men, though, who have stuck to a 3-5-2 formation and have found plenty of joy out wide. The only possible worry is Mignolet, who hasn't looked comfortable when dealing with crosses.
That's HALF TIME at the Stadium of Light and Liverpool go into the break 2-0 up thanks to goals from both strikers. Sunderland fought hard but couldn't produce anything at the other end and there's a lot of work for Kevin Ball to turn this around.
45' + 2'
Westwood launches the ball forward and Altidore brings it down superbly before it's worked into Larsson, who winds up for a shot but is closed down by Gerrard.
45' + 1'
Into the first of two minutes' added time at the Stadium of Light. If they'd put one of those chances Sunderland would be far happier at the break.
Another chance! Suarez gives it away on the flank and Johnson darts diagonally in towards the box before rifling a shot just over the bar from 18 yards.
Great chance! Cattermole lofts a superb pass beyond the defence and Gardner gets to it to poke a first-time volley low across goal, but Mignolet saves well with an outstretched leg.
Johnson gets to the line on the right flank and whips in a cross which ends up flicking off the bar and behind for a goal kick as Mignolet nonchalantly watches on.
It's looking like a long way back for Sunderland who, despite some good pressure and passing, haven't created any real clear-cut shooting chances apart from Larsson's bar-rattling free kick.
Larsson rolls it for Gardner, whose drilled shot is blocked by Moses, who sprinted out to close down the Black Cats defender.
That's a real blow for the hosts, who have been well in this game, but Mamadou Sakho is penalised for handball and Sunderland have a free kick right on the edge of the box.
Assist Daniel Sturridge
Goal Luis Suárez
SUAREZ MAKES IT TWO!! The visitors double their lead and Suarez marks his return to the Premier League with a goal as Sturridge picks it up on the right before taking it easily past Cuellar and squaring it to the Uruguayan, who prods the ball into an empty net from two yards out.
Johnson fires the ball into the six-yard box and again Mignolet doesn't look authoritative as he palms the ball up into the air, but the visitors clear the ball.
Suarez shows real desire to win the ball in midfield before setting Moses free down the right, and it takes three Sunderland defenders to eventually wrestle possession from him before the Black Cats break up the other end quickly and win a corner.
Liverpool have yet another corner, but this time Gerrard hits it way too hard and the ball goes out the other end of the area and behind for a goal kick to the hosts.
Larsson tries a shot from outside the box but it deflects off a defender and behind. The Swede whips in the corner and Mignolet comes to claim but drops the ball. Fortunately for the goalkeeper it doesn't fall to a Sunderland player and Liverpool are able to clear.
Replays show the ball went in off Sturridge's elbow. Liverpool possibly very lucky to be in front, then.
Assist Steven Gerrard
Goal Daniel Sturridge
STURRIDGE SCORES!! LIVERPOOL LEAD!! The visitors win their fourth corner of the match and it's Gerrard who swings it in this time, finding Sturridge unmarked in the six-yard box and the striker bundles it home.
Chance for Liverpool as Henderson's ball in isn't cleared properly by Cuellar and it falls to Moses eight yards out, but he blasts a volley high into the stands.
Shouts for a penalty from the hosts as Toure blocks off Giaccherini, but referee Howard Webb isn't interested and waves play on.
OFF THE BAR!! Larsson lines up the set piece and swings it beautifully past the wall before it crashes against the crossbar and back out. Very unlucky.
Giaccherini strides forward with another good run before cutting inside and eventually drawing a foul from Lucas, giving the hosts a chance to test Mignolet.
Gardner produces some superb skill to leave Gerrard trailing in his wake, but unfortunately for him the Sunderland attack comes to nothing.
The hosts deal with the corner easily and Carlos Cuellar sets Giaccherini free in the Liverpool half, before he squares into Ki, who tries an effort from 25 yards which rolls harmlessly wide of Simon Mignolet's post.
The visitors push forward and Jordan Henderson shapes to shoot from the edge of the box, but it deflects behind for a corner.
Cattermole is penalised for a foul in midfield before Gardner brings down Enrique on the left, but they surrender possession once again thanks to some good Sunderland pressure.
The enigmatic Liverpool striker is back on his feet and goes off as instructed before rejoining the action, prompting much derision from the home supporters.
Liverpool have a corner and Suarez swings it in from the left, but it doesn't clear the first man and Adam Johnson breaks quickly, only to be caught by Moses who had tracked back really well. Moments later Suarez goes down in pain after a challenge by Craig Gardner.
The hosts are really up for this. They press high and win the ball before it's played into Jozy Altidor, who hammers a fierce shot from the edge of the box but it's blocked and goes out of play. Encouraging signs from Kevin Ball's men, though.
Sunderland look sharp and Ki Sung-Yeung sets Giaccherini free down the left. He fires the ball in low across the box but Toure gets a vital touch to knock it out of the path of two incoming attackers.
STAT ATTACK: According to Squawka, all five of Liverpool's goals this season have come in the first half. That was nearly another to add to the collection.
DISALLOWED!! Gerrard drills the set piece low to Keiren Westwood's left and the goalkeeper produces a superb stop to keep it out. Martin Skrtel follows in quickly and pokes home the rebound but the flag goes straight up.
Sebastian Larsson is caught in possession in midfield and Victor Moses plays it into Daniel Sturridge, who plays a one-two before drawing a foul from Lee Cattermole inside the D.
Sunderland are moving it around nicely in these opening stages. Emanuele Giaccherini tries to break through the defence but finds several defenders in his way and it's cleared for a throw.
Danger for Liverpool as Enrique concedes a free kick near the by-line on the right-hand edge of the box, but Adam Johnson's left-footed delivery is easily cleared.
Chance! It all goes wrong from the corner as it's floated for Kolo Toure on the edge of the box but he can't control it. The defender wins the ball back though before Suarez finds some space and hits a rasping 25-yard effort which slices wide.
Jack Colback gets forward on the left and lifts the ball deep into the area, but Jose Enrique is there to clear and set a break forward, from which Steven Gerrard forces a corner as his low cross is blocked.
There's an early sign of a link-up between Sturridge and Suarez as the latter plays the ball down the right for his strike partner, and the England international skips past John O'Shea before pulling the ball back into the box, but Sunderland gather the ball.
We're underway as Sunderland get the ball rolling.
The teams march out of the tunnel to some suitably-dramatic music and a fairly nervy applause from the home faithful. They'll be hoping Di Canio's sacking doesn't prove to be a rash move.
Just a few minutes until things kick off at the Stadium of Light. Can Sunderland bag their first Premier League win of the season, or will Liverpool prove too strong for them today?
The visitors, meanwhile, welcome Luis Suarez back to the Premier League after his 10-match ban for biting Chelsea's Branislav Ivanovic. He plays up front along with the in-form Daniel Sturridge in what looks like a very dangerous attck.
So, caretaker Sunderland boss Kevin Ball names the same side that beat Peterborough in the Capital One Cup in midweek, with the only change coming on the bench as Ondrej Celustka replaces on-loan Fabio Borini, who is ineligible to face his parent club.
LIVERPOOL: Mignolet; Toure, Sakho, Skrtel, Enrique; Henderson, Lucas, Gerrard, Moses; Suarez; Sturridge. // Subs: Jones, Agger, Aspas, Ilori, Sterling, Ibe, Wisdom.
SUNDERLAND: Westwood; Gardner, Colback, O'Shea, Cuellar; Larsson, Ki, Cattermole, Johnson; Giaccherini; Altidore. // Subs: Wickham, Celustka, Ba, Mannone, Ji, Roberge, Mavrias.
Let's get straight to business and look at today's line-ups, starting with the hosts...
Good afternoon and welcome to LIVE play-by-play coverage of the Premier League clash between Sunderland and Liverpool. The Black Cats begin league life without Paolo Di Canio against Brendan Rodgers' men, who are looking to bounce back from the midweek Capital One Cup defeat at Manchester United.
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