Player Ratings: Sunderland 0-1 Liverpool

A late goal by Fernando Torres won a tight game for Liverpool against Sunderland at the Stadium of Light. Goal.com analyses the individual performances...

SUNDERLAND

Craig Gordon: 7 - Had nothing to do for almost an hour but had a busier second half. Had little chance with the goal, which was struck with pace and precision by Torres.

Pascal Chimbonda: 6 - Could have given away a penalty for a push on Benayoun but the whistle had already gone. Improved as the game went on but a number of clumsy challenges marred an otherwise solid Sunderland debut.

Nyron Nosworthy: 7 - Looked strong and put in a decent performance against Torres and Keane.

Danny Collins: 6.5 - Some decent no-nonsense defending and kept Torres quiet for most of the game, although not able to prevent the Spaniard scoring the decisive goal.

Phil Bardsley: 7 - Untroubled by Dirk Kuyt and the full back put in a decent stint. 

Steed Malbranque: 6.5 - Looked lively on the right and happy to track back and help out his full back. A lovely touch took out Plessis in the first half but seemed to tire as the match wore on. Looks a good signing for Sunderland.

Teemu Tainio: 6 - Another decent buy and his partnership with Reid in the centre of the park looks a real improvement for Sunderland. Another debutant, he was replaced by Whitehead on the hour mark.

Andy Reid: 6.5 - Some good passing by the big man to put in Murphy and Diouf and he was one of Sunderland’s better players, particularly in the first half.

Kieran Richardson: 6 - A strong first half and looked dangerous on the break in the second half. Needed to get more involved but Sunderland will be hoping he can stay fit this season.

El-Hadji Diouf: 6.5 - A bright start saw him quickly involved and causing the Liverpool defence problems. Waned in the second half but looks a half-decent signing by Roy Keane.

Daryl Murphy: 6 - Could possibly have done better with a first half header which lacked power but does not offer the same threat as Kenwyn Jones.

Substitutions

Dean Whitehead: 6 - The club captain will have been disappointed to have been on the bench for the start of the match. However, Keane gave him his chance on the hour mark although he didn’t have quite the influence his manager would have wanted.

Carlos Edwards: 5 – A late substitution but he couldn’t get into the game and looked off the pace.

Michael Chopra: 5.5- Thrown on the for the last ten minutes in an attempt to win the game but had little chance to change things.

LIVERPOOL

Jose Reina: 6.5 - Coped fairly comfortably with what was thrown at him, although in truth it wasn’t one of his busiest afternoons.

Alvaro Arbeloa: 6 - Not his best game and contributed to what was an unconvincing display by Liverpool at the back.

Andrea Dossena: 6 - A decent game by the debut boy although he offered little going forwards and Benitez will surely be expecting more as the season progresses. 

Jamie Carragher: 6.5 - Looked a little short of match fitness but the most solid of the back four.

Sami Hypia: 5 - Really shaky start with some poor clearances and an awful header that almost put in Diouf. Improved slightly but it will be a surprise if he plays a regular part in the new season.

Yossi Benayoun: 6.5 - The Israeli made ittle impact but a decent shot parried by Gordon almost provided Keane with a tap in.

Dirk Kuyt: 5 - Stuck out on the right and merely confirmed it really isn’t his position. An unimpressive display by the Dutchman.

Steven Gerrard: 7 - Tried to rouse his side with an energetic performance and his determination to win the game was evident.

Damien Plessis: 5.5 - Had his good moments but looked a little short and was replaced at half time by Xabi Alonso due to injury. 

Fernando Torres: 7 - Was hardly involved but popped up with ten minutes to go to score a fine winner and claim all three points for the visitors.

Robbie Keane: 4.5 - The £20 million man looked more than a little over-priced on his league debut for his new side. A first half shot was about as good as it got and Liverpool will be expecting an awful lot more for that price. 

Substitutions

Xabi Alonso: 8 - Liverpool fans will wonder why he wasn’t in the starting line-up and he offered a lot more going forwards than the man he replaced, Plessis. Whether he will remain at Anfield for the season remains uncertain but he was Liverpool’s best player in the second half.

Nabil El-Zhar: 5 - Replaced Keane for the latter stages and his most notable contribution was picking up a petty booking.

Fabio Aurelio: 6 - Replaced Benayoun towards the end but had little impact on the game.

Gill Clark