Liverpool overcame a battle of attrition and perseverance once again, the key difference being that Liverpool were rewarded for their efforts as the hosts came away with the three points and yet another clean-sheet. The celebration over the victory is sure to be tempered by the serious looking injury for Coutinho.
This is how the Reds fared.
Loris Karius (7.5) – The best all-round performance from the German yet, as his alertness thwarted a couple of big chances for Sunderland. He was swift and snippy with his passing to ensure there was no dithering on the ball. Positive signs surely. His Mignolet-esque goal kick though…
Nathaniel Clyne (7.5) – Good performance from the English full-back, as he worked tirelessly throughout the game. With very minimal defensive work to be done, Clyne was positioned very high up the field and never budged from that position.Whenever a defensive effort was needed, Clyne was always alert to respond to the need.
Joel Matip (7.5) – A good performance interspersed with a couple of errors as Matip still continues on his unbeaten Liverpool career. His overall performance was solid and he was far more active in attack and defence, reiterating Liverpool’s domination
Dejan Lovren (7.5) – The Croat stuck to his job and was dominant aerially competing for every duel and, along with Matip, ensured Sunderland were feeding off scraps in attack. Lovren had the best chance in the first-half with his header going wide when he was left totally unmarked.
James Milner (7) – Milner scored the second goal, with his penalty skills continuing to be of a gold standard. His crossing and general contribution left a lot to be desired though as Liverpool strived to score the goal they need.
Jordan Henderson (7.5) – Henderson continues to marshal the midfield from a deeper holding position. He made a couple of great tackles and never stopped tracking the opposition player. But in games like this, it is worth examining if his engine could be put to better use.
Emre Can (8) – Emre Can put in an accomplished performance, filled with power and finesse. His ability to carry the ball over distances is to be expected but we saw moments of great technique and inventiveness as he seemed to be the player who looked most likely to break the deadlock. He had a couple of very good chances which could have been converted on another day.
Georginio Wijnaldum (7.5) – Wijnaldum played a far more attacking role tonight as Liverpool were expected to dominate possession. He got himself into some excellent positions but was unable to exploit them. It is expected that once Lallana is back, Wijnaldum will be the one relegated to the bench.
Sadio Mane (5.5) – One of his poorest performances as Mane struggled to get involved in the attacking play. He often made the wrong passing decision and did little to ensure Liverpool kept the ball. As the game progressed one could see Mane moving deeper to stay involved. His best contribution in the game came late in the second-half as his tireless run was rewarded with a penalty.
Roberto Firmino (7.5) – Tireless, terrific,pristine white teeth. How long can we go on saying this?! He started upfront and moved on to the left once Origi came on. Firmino executed a couple of great dummies and also created a couple of excellent chances which went begging.
Philippe Coutinho (5) – Liverpool fans will be worried this evening as the little magician was stretchered off in what looks like a potential long-term injury during the first-half. Before that, Coutinho struggled to break down the shackles as Sunderland man-marked him out of space.
Divock Origi (8) – Divock Origi got a rare opportunity in the Premier League and he took the opportunity with both hands. He was very active from the word go and worked very hard with his power and movement. His goal came off a very small opportunity and thus justified his inclusion. His role might be more involved in the coming days with injuries kicking in.
Lucas Leiva (N/A)
Ben Woodburn (N/A)