Liverpool completely dominated Sunderland during this afternoon's Premier League fixture but made hard work of it due to the usual profligate finishing.
Lazar Markovic was among the game's brightest spark and gave an indication of what would happen today when he broke past the Sunderland defence in the 2nd minute. Wes Brown brought the Liverpool man down in the box but strangely no foul was given.
Sunderland weren't off the hook for long as Markovic scored what would turn out to be the only goal of the game. Dribbling down the right wing, Markovic came into the centre of field and passed to Borini who dummied to Steven Gerrard. Gerrard goes for the return but Borini is bundled just as he was on the brink of entering the box. Markovic continues his run however, taking advantage of the space left by the Sunderland defender fouling Borini and puts the ball into the back of the net.
For the remainder of the 1st half Liverpool completely dominated, creating several chances but were let down by poor finishing. Steven Gerrard had two chances in the space of a minute. The 1st happened when Coutinho ran past a few players and squared the ball to Gerrard, though his low shot was steered wide. The second chance was a guilt-edged opportunity. Gerrard, Coutinho and Henderson managed to work out a corner between themselves and before long the ball was with Gerrard in the box, although he failed to get a good connection.
In a game full of many chances, reckless challenges were plenty too. Liverpool felt Vergini should have been sent off for an elbow on Alberto Moreno. A yellow card and free-kick was given instead; though Gerrard nearly punished Sunderland with a shot that nearly caught Pantilimon off his line. The Black Cats cleared the ball but only as far as Markovic who was desperately unlucky with a bicycle kick that cannoned off the crossbar and off the back of Pantilimon, though the momentum was not enough to trickle into the net before the keeper grabs it.
Moments later Emre Can from the centre back position played a delightful through ball to put Borini one-one with the keeper. Borini rounds Pantilimon but lacks composure to steady himself and finds the side netting.
The 2nd half began just as the 1st did, with Liverpool attacking a fouls in abundance. When Emre Can ran down the right wing, Bridcutt aggressively fouled him and lead directly to his sending off.
After the match, Sunderland Gustavo Poyet said:
"If you go by the rules then I can go with the referee because they are both yellow cards for Liam Bridcutt.
"Incredible. When you are 11 v 11 and have a better chance, sometimes you are a little bit too relaxed because you think it is even. Then when you find yourself down to 10 the players bring something extra. It is a shame that we didn't do that in the first half.
"We did practically nothing in the first half apart from wait for Liverpool to score. Then we had a go."
As for his Liverpool counterpart Brendan Rodgers:
"Our only disappointment against Sunderland was we didn't have the extra goals to show for our domination. We had real good control of the game.
"Offensively our game was very good. We got a very good goal and should have had a penalty - it looked a clear penalty and we had one or two other chances as well.
"Steven Gerrard just felt a bit tight in his hamstring. He has played a lot of games.
"He was outstanding in the first half. We don't need to risk it as we have got a big second half of the season coming up and he is very important for us."
Stats from the game:
Sunderland 47% - 53% Liverpool
Sunderland 5 - 21 Liverpool
Shots on Target
Sunderland 1 - 4 Liverpool
Sunderland 6 - 6 Liverpool
Sunderland 12 - 11 Liverpool