Sunderland 2 Liverpool 2: Player Ratings
Two games within 48 hours was always going to be a mighty ask, and at the end the exertions showed as Liverpool dropped two points on the road at Sunderland.
This is how the Reds fared.
Simon Mignolet (6.5) – Had a busier first-half than he would have liked. Made a couple of big saves, especially a one-on-one against Defoe to ensure Liverpool still stayed level on the scoreboard. He could not have done much for either of the penalties.
Nathaniel Clyne (7) – A really bright start from the reliable Clyne as he tried to expose the space behind Van Aanholt. As mentioned before, his final ball was below average in the first-half. He made up for it in the second-half though, with a teasing cross into the box which should have been buried by Mane. He should be rested for the FA cup game to recharge his batteries.
Dejan Lovren (6.5) – Not the best half from the Croatian in terms of his positioning, playing Defoe onside more than once. His scuffed shot off the corner was turned in by Sturridge. The second-half performance was a massive improvement as he stayed close to the attacker to ward off any danger.
Ragnar Klavan (6) – Defended well most of the time, but made an ill-advised challenge in the box to concede a soft penalty. As Sunderland tired in the second-half, Klavan did not have much defending to do.
James Milner (5.5) – His defensive work was in focus in what was a fiercely contested first-half. Fought his own battles against Borini and Januzaj. Was withdrawn at half-time and was on a yellow card.
Emre Can (6) – Played as the deepest midfielder in the absence of Henderson. As discussed before, he seems to start poorly most of the games, with his passing being the main culprit. He was a towering presence in the second-half as he raised his game to the next level. His ability to carry the ball over long distances, coupled with his physical ability meant that Liverpool dominated the second-half.
Giorginio Wijnaldum (6)- Started very brightly against a packed Sunderland defence. His intelligent movement broke down the defensive lines and combined well with the front three. Had a decent attempt at goal turned away. It was quite visible that he began to tire in the second-half as the passes were not that precise, thus it was not a surprise that he was withdrawn midway through the second-half.
Adam Lallana (6.5) – He was not as involved in the first-half as he would have liked to have been. Had a couple of neat touches and turns in the first-half as Liverpool tried their hardest to break down a very defensive setup from Sunderland. Lallana toiled in the second-half as Liverpool struggled to break down the Sunderland defence.
Roberto Firmino (6) – Worked very hard to counter-press as he constantly interchanged positions with Sturridge in the first-half. His close control and vision helped in creating couple of opportunities in the first-half. He never stopped running in the second-half, but did not create any noteworthy opportunities.
Daniel Sturridge (7.5) – Outstanding first-half from Sturridge, as he had one of those rare starts. He was always ready to shoot on demand and kept Mannone honest. His predatory anticipation in moving near the post for the goal ensured that he was in the right position to head it in. He dropped deeper and deeper as the game passed as he struggled to stay involved. Was taken off late in the second-half as a precautionary measure.
Sadio Mane (7) – A mixed first-half for Mane, playing his last game before he travels to represent Senegal. He combined excellently with Clyne in the early part of the first-half to widen the pitch to the maximum. He was in the right position to tap in Liverpool’s second goal. He committed a silly error late on though, which resulted in the penalty from which Sunderland equalized for the second time. That should not take away the sheen from what has been an excellent half season from Mane.
Alberto Moreno (6) – Replaced Milner at half-time to provide pace and width from the left-hand side. Put in a decent performance, including a couple of set-pieces.
Divock Origi (5.5) – Origi came on to replace Wijnaldum in the second-half as Liverpool switched to a front two as they strived to snatch the winning goal. Showed his usual penchant of moving wide whenever possible to isolate the defender.
Lucas Leiva (N/A) – Conceded the free kick from which Sunderland scored their second goal.