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September 15, 2012
• Stadium of Light, Sunderland
Referee: M. Atkinson
• Attendance: 41997
S. Fletcher 29'
L. Suárez 71'
That's all from me folks. Enjoy your evening!
As for Sunderland, they pick up their first home point of the season and will perhaps count themselves lucky they even managed to do that. Three goals in two games for Steven Fletcher will certainly please Martin O'Neil though.
Not the result that either side wanted. It's been 101 years since Liverpool failed to win in any of their first four games... not a stat that will please Brendan Rodgers.
90' + 3'
That's it! It's all over here at the Stadium of Light.
The fourth official has indicated a minimum of 3 minutes added time. Any goal scored now will surely be decisive. Surely one of these teams will get one more chance...
Two minutes of normal time remain, can either side grab a last-gasp winner?!
Steven Fletcher makes way for Louis Saha. Despite his goal, the record-signing striker has struggled to get involved this evening.
We're entering the closing stages here at the Stadium of Light. Neither team are out of it, but Martin O'Neil is beginning too look anxious on the sidelines. You feel he'd probably take a draw now if you offered him one.
Yellow Card Sebastian Larsson
It's Shelvey this time who goes close for the Reds. The midfielder ghosts past two defenders in the box and fires an effort towards the bottom corner, but is thwarted by Mignolet once again!
Liverpool look the more likely of the two teams to go on and snatch a winner, but with three strikers on the field of play Sunderland will feel that anything is possible.
Martin O'Neil's reaction to that goal is a positive one. Off comes Danny Rose and on comes Fraizer Campbell. The home side certainly aren't prepared to settle for a point.
The questions that remains now is whether Liverpool can push on and get the winner?
Goal Luis Suárez
Goal! Liverpool FINALLY get the breakthrough their efforts deserve. Raheem Sterling, who's looked dangerous all afternoon, plays an inviting ball into the box from a wide position. Both Bramble and O'Shea fail to clear their lines and the ball drops to Suarez who finishes from close range.
It's all Liverpool now as they desperately look for an equaliser. Can they convert their attacking threat into goals?
Liverpool go close again! Sunderland clear a corner straight to the feet of Gerrard and his deflected long-range effort is nearly turned in by Skrtel. The reactions of Mignolet come to the Black Cats aid again. He's having an impressive game between the sticks for Sunderland.
Yellow Card Martin Skrtel
Great play from Sterling! The young attacker drives a teasing ball into the box which Mignolet can only parry to the feet of Gerrard. The iconic midfielder just clips the outside of the post with his effort though. The away side are certainly getting closer...
Sunderland are constantly looking to get the ball in to the feet of Sessegnon and Fletcher, who clearly fance their chances against a somewhat frail looking Liverpool back four.
It's a very similar pattern to the first half here, with Liverpool enjoying the majority of the possession and looking for a way to carve Sunderland open. They'll have to be wary of getting caught on the break again though!
Off the bar! That's more like it from the Reds. Attacking full-back Glen Johnson finds himself 18 yards out from goal and curls a delightful effort which crashes off the crossbar and bounces out of harms way.
You get the feeling that Brendan Rodgers won't be leaving it too long before making a change, should Liverpool not start the half strongly.
Just one change at half-time and it's for the home side who bring on Titus Bramble in place of Carlos Cuellar at centre-back.
It's Liverpool who get us started again in the second half.
It's a stick or twist situation for Martin O'Neil. Does he opt to protect a fragile lead or does he encourage team to push for a second? We'll find out soon enough. Second half action coming your way shortly!
So what does Brendan Rodgers do get his side back into this contest? Liverpool have been paid the ultimate price for not finishing their chances... Andy Carroll, anyone?!
45' + 1'
Half-time at the Stadium of Light. Liverpool will be wondering how they didn't manage to convert their 62% possession into a goal or two. Sunderland, meanwhile, have the advantage in the only stat that counts... One shot, one goal.
We're entering the closing minutes of the first half here. Now would be a really good time to score an equalizer, or if you're Martin O'Neil, a second goal!
Sunderland have grown into the game since scoring the 29th minute opener. It's a much more evenly balanced contest here at the Stadium of Light now.
Yellow Card Luis Suárez
Suarez booked for simulation. The striker weaves his way into the box before losing control of the ball and then throwing himself to the ground, much to disgust of the home side who make their feelings well known to Martin Atkinson.
Equally, how will Sunderland react to taking the lead? They've been non-existent in the opening parts of this game and now find themselves holding the advantage.
Let's see how the Reds respond to going one down here. Liverpool's manager must be in absolute disbelief after seeing his team dominate the first half an hour.
Assist Craig Gardner
Goal Steven Fletcher
Goal! Sunderland are one up! Wow, Where did that come from?! It's against the run of play but the home side won't care! Great play from the overlapping Craig Gardner, engineering space down the right-hand side before picking out Fletcher in the middle who stabs home from close range.
No question as to which side look the more likely to score here. Sunderland just haven't got into the game whatsoever.
Great save by Mignolet! Shelvey feeds the ball into Suarez who, with his back to goal, cushions the ball into the path of Fabio Borini. The former Roma man's drive towards the bottom corner is well saved by the keeper though. Best chance of the game so far!
Of the two, it's the visiting manager who will be slightly happier with these opening 20 minutes though, in truth, this game has really yet to get going. Martin O'Neil will be encouraging his side to push further up the field as they've yet to muster a shot on goal.
So close for Liverpool! A terrible mistake from Carlos Cuellar for Sunderland as his header back to Mignolet is woefully short of reaching its target. Fabio Borini is the man who sought to capitalise on the error but blasts his effort straight at the keeper from 10 yards out.
Liverpool are certainly enjoying the lion's share of the ball in this opening quarter of an hour but are just lacking that cutting edge. Sunderland, to their credit, are standing up well to the task in defence.
Nice play by Liverpool. A combination of short passes eventually sets Suarez free to run at the Sunderland back-line. The Uruguayan drags his shot wide though, when perhaps the better option would have been to play Sterling in.
Worrying signs for the Black Cats as Steven Fletcher is caught by Skrtel. The challenge looked innocuous but Fletcher is hobbling around the pitch now. The Stadium of Light faithful will be praying he manages to run it off.
Neither team have been particularly dominant in these opening exchanges - both sides just feeling their way into the game.
Early half-chance for Jonjo Shelvey. Suarez did all the ground work with his back to goal before laying off Shelvey who's shot flies wide from 25 yards out.
It's Sunderland to get us started here.
Just minutes away from kick-off here at The Stadium of Light.
It's been a tough week for Liverpool Football Club with off the field matters dominating the headlines on Merseyside, but Brendan Rodgers needs his men to turn their attentions back to football now. The manager will be particularly keen to see Fabio Borini live up to expectations after a slow start to the season.
So Craig Gardner carries on in his role as a make-shift defender for the home side, and at the other end of the pitch Martin O'Neil will be hoping Steven Fletcher can pick up where he left off at Swansea a fortnight ago.
Liverpool: Reina; Kelly, Agger, Skrtel, Johnson; Gerrard, Allen, Shelvey; Sterling, Suarez, Borini. Subs: Jones, Enrique, Sahin, Assaidi, Henderson, Downing, Carragher
Sunderland: Mignolet; Gardner, O'Shea, Cuellar, Rose; Larsson, Cattermole, Colback, McClean; Sessegnon, Fletcher. Subs: Campbell, Kilgallon, Ji, Meyler, Bramble, Westwood, Saha
It's set to be a cracking game in the Premier League's tea-time kick off. Can Brendan Rogers secure his first league win as Liverpool manager? We'll find out shortly. Team news coming your way...
Hello and welcome to Goal.com's live commentary of Sunderland against Liverpool. My name is James Vause and I'll be guiding you through all the action at the Stadium of Light this evening.
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