Despite Sunderland posing a tough challenge, Liverpool secured an excellent 2-0 victory over David Moyes’ Black Cats at Anfield.
Liverpool 2-0 Sunderland
Premier League, Anfield
November 26, 2016
Origi 75′ (assist – Henderson)
Milner (pen) 90+1′ (assist – Mane)
Taking on a side that hadn’t won a league game at Anfield since 1983, Jurgen Klopp‘s Reds had the weight of history behind them.
Moyes’ side headed to Liverpool having won their previous two league clashes, against Bournemouth and Hull City respectively, with strikers Victor Anichebe (three) and Jermain Defoe (two) scoring five goals between them against the Cherries and the Tigers.
However, they still began the weekend 19th in the table, having taken just eight points from their first twelve games, and Liverpool eventually sealed a vital win.
- Klopp names first unchanged side in 41 league games
- Coutinho forced off with suspected ankle injury
- Origi nets first Premier League goal of season
- Milner scores result-clinching penalty
- Woodburn makes Liverpool debut in injury time
With Moyes “parking the double-decker bus,” the Reds were unsurprisingly bright from kickoff, pushing high and looking to find pockets of space around the Sunderland defence, with both Firmino and Georginio Wijnaldum hitting shots on target in the first 15 minutes.
The Black Cats did find openings as a result, however, with ex-Everton midfielder Steven Pienaar drawing a decisive save from Loris Karius, while the German was quick out to punch the ball clear as Defoe raced through.
After struggling to break through the Sunderland back line, Liverpool were thrown up another issue as Coutinho was forced off with a foot injury just after the half-hour mark.
Eager not to allow Coutinho’s injury cloud their second half, Liverpool pushed heavily for a goal after the interval, with Firmino going close after some excellent close control in the penalty area.
With an animated Klopp demanding a response from the home support, Anfield gave the Reds a passionate backing, and were almost rewarded as Emre Can‘s bundled long-range effort soared inches past the post.
Liverpool kept pushing, with the clash threatening to go the same way as the previous weekend away to Southampton, but the goal finally came from Coutinho’s replacement, Divock Origi, whose sweeping strike from out wide finally saw Jordan Pickford beaten.
Klopp sent on Lucas Leiva in an attempt to shore up for a 1-0 win, but a lung-bursting run from Mane ensured this wasn’t necessary, as with the Senegalese brought down in the box, James Milner stepped up to convert.
This gave Klopp the freedom to introduce Ben Woodburn for his Liverpool debut, with a feel-good atmosphere spreading around Anfield as the Reds returned to winning ways.
TIA Man of the Match: Roberto Firmino
Referee: Anthony Taylor
Liverpool: Karius; Clyne, Matip, Lovren, Milner; Henderson, Can, Wijnaldum (Woodburn 90+3′); Mane, Coutinho (Origi 34′), Firmino (Lucas 87′)
Subs not used: Mignolet, Klavan, Moreno, Ejaria
Sunderland: Pickford; Jones, Kone, O’Shea, Van Aanholt; Watmore (Januzaj 79′), N’Dong, Denayer, Pienaar (Gooch 79′); Defoe, Anichebe
Subs not used: Mannone, Manquillo, Love, Larsson, Khazri
Next match: Leeds United (H) – League Cup Quarter-Final – November 29