Sadio Mane scored and then conceded a penalty late on as Liverpool were held to a disappointing 2-2 draw away to Sunderland on Monday.
Sunderland 2-2 Liverpool
Premier League, Stadium of Light
January 2, 2017
Sturridge 20′ (assist – Lovren)
Defoe (pen) 25′ (assist – Ndong)
Mane 71′ (assist – Moreno)
Defoe (pen) 85′ (assist – Larsson)
Less than 48 hours after their significant 1-0 victory over title rivals Manchester City, Liverpool travelled to Wearside to take on relegation candidates Sunderland at the Stadium of Light.
With the last meeting between the two sides coming in November, and resulting in a 2-0 victory for the Reds, Monday’s matchup saw David Moyes’ Black Cats arrive in even worse form.
Since their loss at Anfield, Sunderland had won just two of six games, and most recently suffered a 4-1 defeat to Burnley on New Year’s Eve.
Both managers were forced to battle with a congested festive schedule as they prepared to pit their sides against each other, but Jurgen Klopp made just one change for his first game of 2017, replacing the injured Jordan Henderson with Daniel Sturridge.
On paper, having won their last three games at the Stadium of Light, Liverpool arrived as heavy favourites, but were unable to make it count.
- 10 Liverpool players start second game in 46 hours
- Sturridge nets on anniversary of his arrival in 2013
- Defoe scores from spot with Liverpool lacking sharpness
- Mane taps home following Moreno corner
- Senegalese then concedes Defoe’s second penalty
As expected Liverpool were dominant for much of the early stages of the game, but a spirited Sunderland looked to break whenever possible, and it was Jermain Defoe who had the first shot on target, needing ex-Black Cats goalkeeper Simon Mignolet to make a strong save.
Sturridge posed a constant threat to the Sunderland defence, but Vito Mannone provided an impressive shield between the sticks, diving to stop a fine effort from the striker on 18 minutes.
The Italian could do nothing to stop Liverpool’s No. 15 shortly after, however, with Sturridge heading in after Dejan Lovren scuffed a volley from James Milner‘s corner.
But Sunderland had restored parity within five minutes, when Didier Ndong was fouled by Ragnar Klavan in the penalty area, with Defoe stepping up to convert the penalty.
The Englishman found himself one-on-one with Mignolet minutes later, but the Belgian made a great save charging from his line, with Fabio Borini’s effort blocked on the rebound in a shambolic defensive showing.
Sturridge continued to pepper Mannone’s goal with shots as the first half wore on and Liverpool restored some bite to their pressing play, but the scores remained even at the interval.
A poor first half prompted Klopp into a change for the second period, with Alberto Moreno replacing Milner at left-back, following the vice-captain’s yellow card.
It was Klopp’s other full-back, Nathaniel Clyne, who created the most promising opening before the hour mark, however, with the 25-year-old curling a fine cross in for Mane, who was unable to stretch high enough for the header.
Both Borini and Defoe had chances in the Liverpool box minutes later, before the ball looked to strike Emre Can on the arm, but Anthony Taylor waved away Moyes and the home supporters’ calls for another penalty.
With the contest looking set to fizzle out to a frustrating draw, Sturridge and Adam Lallana combined to draw another save from Mannone, with Liverpool awarded a decisive corner kick.
Moreno whipped in an excellent set piece, with the ball bouncing off Papy Djilbodji and into the path of Mane, who tapped home for his ninth goal of the season, putting Liverpool 2-1 up.
Klopp’s intention was clear when the German replaced the injured Sturridge with Lucas Leiva on 79 minutes, but the Reds were unable to hold firm in defence, with a handball from Mane gifting Sunderland a penalty, and Defoe duly arriving for his second and the draw.
TIA Man of the Match: Sadio Mane
Referee: Anthony Taylor
Sunderland: Mannone; Love, Djilobodji, O’Shea, Van Aanholt; Larsson, Ndong, Rodwell (Manquillo 65′); Borini, Januzaj (Khazri 79′), Defoe
Subs not used: Mika, Ledger, Honeyman, Embleton, Maja
Liverpool: Mignolet; Clyne, Lovren, Klavan, Milner (Moreno 46′); Can, Lallana, Wijnaldum (Origi 73;); Mane, Firmino, Sturridge (Lucas 79′)
Subs not used: Karius, Alexander-Arnold, Stewart, Ejaria
Next match: Plymouth Argyle (H) – FA Cup Third Round – January 8