With Liverpool 2-0 up at Anfield, home supporters delivered an emphatic chorus of You’ll Never Walk Alone followed by chants of ‘you greedy bastards, enough is enough’ ahead of their planned walkout on 77 minutes in protest at next season’s ticket prices.
When the time came, seats were vacated and those in red shirts on the pitch may well have exited too. Sunderland had offered nothing up front during the encounter, but managed two shots on target in the final 10 minutes of the game, which both resulted in goals.
Adam Johnson’s low free-kick curled around the Liverpool wall and beat Simon Mignolet at his near post, with Jermain Defoe turning Mamadou Sakho with ease on 89 minutes to secure a draw for the struggling visitors.
The home supporters, who were applauded by the away fans as they left the stadium, felt that while two points were lost on the pitch a big one was made off it in terms of fighting rising ticket prices.
Liverpool’s inability to hold onto their lead was a shame for Roberto Firmino, who once again proved the inspiration for his side up front. He headed in the opener from a James Milner cross to the back post and turned provider for Adam Lallana.
The Brazilian, who has directly contributed to seven goals in his last five Premier League games with five of his own and two assists, could grow to become one of the best players in the top-flight if he had the luxury of greater support.
His brilliance aside, the performance would have done little to improve Jurgen Klopp's health. The manager was not at Anfield as he underwent an appendix operation at Aintree hospital. The German felt ill last night, with club doctor Andy Massey diagnosing the issue.
Klopp was informed of the score after coming through surgery and he’ll know his problems are not confined to the pain from the procedure.
Off the pitch, Saturday marked the first walkout in Liverpool’s history, but the disappointment on it was just another in a long, long list for the season.