Liverpool 1 - 1 Sunderland
Liverpool 1 - 1 Sunderland
Sebastian Larsson scored a superb volley on his debut to earn a point for Sunderland at Liverpool.
The hosts will curse the fact Luis Suarez missed an early penalty when he was tripped by Kieran Richardson before sending his spot-kick way over.
But the Uruguayan shrugged off his disappointment to nod in a 12th-minute opener from Charlie Adam's cross.
Sunderland rarely threatened in the first half but Larsson's 57th-minute goal capped a better defensive display.
Once they had equalised, the Black Cats looked the more likely victors as Liverpool ran out of steam.
And it was an impressive second-half turnaround for Steve Bruce's men, who would have been happy to take a point back to the north east after coming under serious pressure in the first period.
With four Liverpool players making their debuts, there was lots of encouragement for Kenny Dalglish and his decision to use Suarez was entirely justified despite the striker only returning to training on Monday following his Copa America exploits.
After winning the South American championship with his country on 24 July , perhaps tiredness could have played a part in Suarez's misfortune from the spot after only six minutes.
Yet he was sprightly enough to earn the penalty in the first place, charging down Richardson's pass near the halfway line and racing clear, only to be tripped by the left-back as he shaped to round keeper Simon Mignolet.
The Sunderland defender looked fortunate not to earn a red card from referee Phil Dowd, but before the Black Cats could regroup they were behind when Adam's free-kick from the right was tucked in by the Uruguayan following Wes Brown's foul.
It was an absolutely tremendous first half for Liverpool but in the second half they lacked a bit of spark. Steve Bruce's team did well in the second period and if there is a better finish in the Premier League this afternoon than Sebastian Larsson's volley then I can't wait to see it
Adam looked extremely comfortable during his first game in the centre of Liverpool's midfield.
And his range of passing more than made up for Steven Gerrard's absence through injury, with the former Blackpool player going close with a rasping drive.
Although Sunderland were timid early on, debutant Larsson caused Pepe Reina problems from his set-pieces, with the Spanish keeper saving from Brown's header before looking shaky on another occasion.
Three of Liverpool's four-man midfield were making their first appearances for the hosts, with Dalglish preferring Jordan Henderson, up against his former club, on the right-hand side of midfield to Dirk Kuyt.
Although Downing was deployed on the left, he almost marked his debut with a superb goal from the opposite flank on 34 minutes.
Cutting in, he raced past several Sunderland defenders to smash a shot against the bar.
Despite some occasionally rash challenges by both sides, the hosts were coasting and it wasn't until after the break that Steve Bruce's team improved. They had to.
It was Larsson who turned their pressure into something more tangible when he volleyed in from Ahmed Elmohamady's right-wing cross.
The Swede was given lots of room at the back post by Liverpool right-back John Flanagan but even so it was an expert finish.
After a relatively quiet first period Andy Carroll began to get on the end of more of Liverpool's crosses, but even though Kuyt was introduced in place of Henderson, the fluency ran out of their play.
Sunderland were working harder and with Suarez being withdrawn with 15 minutes to go, there was little danger behind their defence and a more evenness to the match.
After conceding a controversial goal last season , Bruce would have been content to finish the game in relative comfort, but for both sides there were encouraging signs from their new-look players.
Live Text Commentary
Full Time The referee signals the end of the game.90:00 +2:59
A cross is delivered by Stewart Downing, comfortable save by Simon Mignolet.90:00 +2:27
Shot from just outside the penalty area by Lee Cattermole misses to the left of the target.90:00 +0:55
Lee Cattermole has a drilled shot. Save by Jose Reina.90:00 +0:16
John Flanagan gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Dong-Won Ji. Kieran Richardson takes the direct free kick.89:30
The ball is sent over by Stewart Downing, clearance made by Anton Ferdinand.87:09
Free kick awarded for a foul by Wes Brown on Dirk Kuyt. Direct free kick taken by Sanchez Jose Enrique.86:28
Raul Meireles delivers the ball, Close range headed effort by Andrew Carroll misses to the right of the target.85:07
The ball is swung over by Raul Meireles, Simon Mignolet makes a comfortable save.85:00
The ball is crossed by Charlie Adam, Wes Brown manages to make a clearance.83:42
Shot from outside the box by Stephane Sessegnon misses to the left of the goal.82:51
The ball is crossed by Stewart Downing, save by Simon Mignolet.82:43
The ball is crossed by Dirk Kuyt, clearance by Anton Ferdinand.81:05
Stewart Downing sends in a cross, clearance made by Kieran Richardson.79:28
Phillip Bardsley crosses the ball from the free kick right-footed from right wing, comfortable save by Jose Reina.79:28 Substitution
Substitution David Vaughan on for Sebastian Larsson.79:28
Daniel Agger challenges Stephane Sessegnon unfairly and gives away a free kick.78:14
Unfair challenge on Wes Brown by Stewart Downing results in a free kick. Simon Mignolet restarts play with the free kick.77:45
Direct free kick taken by Stewart Downing.77:45 Booking
Booking The referee shows Sebastian Larsson a yellow card.
The referee penalises Sebastian Larsson for handball.77:11
The ball is crossed by Ahmed Elmohamady, John Flanagan manages to make a clearance.75:59
Andrew Carroll challenges Wes Brown unfairly and gives away a free kick. Simon Mignolet restarts play with the free kick.74:33
Phillip Bardsley restarts play with the free kick.74:33 Substitution
Substitution Luis Suarez leaves the field to be replaced by Raul Meireles.74:33
Charlie Adam concedes a free kick for a foul on Lee Cattermole.72:53
Shot from 20 yards from Andrew Carroll. Blocked by Wes Brown. Corner taken left-footed by Charlie Adam from the right by-line, save by Simon Mignolet.72:29
Foul by Ahmed Elmohamady on Luis Suarez, free kick awarded. Direct free kick taken by Sanchez Jose Enrique.72:23
Centre by Ahmed Elmohamady, clearance made by Jamie Carragher.72:07
Leiva Lucas concedes a free kick for a foul on Jack Colback. Direct free kick taken by Lee Cattermole.71:21 Booking
Booking Dirk Kuyt is shown a yellow card for unsporting behaviour.71:00
The ball is sent over by Luis Suarez.69:48
Free kick awarded for a foul by Stephane Sessegnon on Dirk Kuyt. Sanchez Jose Enrique restarts play with the free kick.68:55
Unfair challenge on Luis Suarez by Phillip Bardsley results in a free kick. Luis Suarez restarts play with the free kick.68:41
Kieran Richardson sends in a cross, Daniel Agger makes a clearance.65:00
Sebastian Larsson has an effort direct from the free kick.65:00 Substitution
Substitution Dong-Won Ji is brought on as a substitute for Asamoah Gyan.65:00 Booking
Booking Charlie Adam goes into the referee's book for unsporting behaviour.64:54
Charlie Adam gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Lee Cattermole.62:12
A cross is delivered by Stephane Sessegnon.61:03
Centre by Sanchez Jose Enrique, Andrew Carroll produces a header from inside the area that goes over the crossbar.60:34
Inswinging corner taken left-footed by Charlie Adam from the right by-line, Andrew Carroll takes a shot. Save made by Simon Mignolet.59:59 Substitution
Substitution Dirk Kuyt is brought on as a substitute for Jordan Henderson.59:33
The assistant referee flags for offside against Asamoah Gyan. Sanchez Jose Enrique takes the free kick.59:08
Wes Brown restarts play with the free kick.59:08 Booking
Booking Jordan Henderson is booked.58:51
Jordan Henderson gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Jack Colback.58:15
Stephane Sessegnon produces a right-footed shot from just outside the penalty area that goes harmlessly over the target.56:09
Assist on the goal came from Ahmed Elmohamady.56:09 Goal scored
Goal! - Sebastian Larsson - Liverpool 1 - 1 Sunderland Sebastian Larsson fires in a goal from inside the area to the bottom right corner of the goal. Liverpool 1-1 Sunderland.56:08
Ahmed Elmohamady produces a cross,55:07
Free kick awarded for a foul by Ahmed Elmohamady on Charlie Adam. Free kick taken by Sanchez Jose Enrique.54:29
Corner taken left-footed by Stewart Downing from the right by-line, Andrew Carroll has a headed effort at goal from close range which goes wide left of the target.54:07
Sanchez Jose Enrique sends in a cross, clearance made by Wes Brown.53:05
A cross is delivered by Luis Suarez, Headed effort from inside the penalty area by Andrew Carroll misses to the right of the target.52:50
Sebastian Larsson produces a cross, Asamoah Gyan takes a shot. Save by Jose Reina.52:35
The ball is delivered by Sebastian Larsson, clearance made by John Flanagan.51:55
The referee blows for offside against Asamoah Gyan. Jose Reina takes the indirect free kick.50:53
Unfair challenge on Wes Brown by Charlie Adam results in a free kick. The free kick is delivered right-footed by Sebastian Larsson from right channel, Leiva Lucas makes a clearance.50:35
Centre by Kieran Richardson, Sanchez Jose Enrique manages to make a clearance.47:16
Effort on goal by Charlie Adam from outside the area goes harmlessly over the bar.46:08
Effort from just outside the area by Kieran Richardson goes over the bar.45:37
Luis Suarez sends in a cross, Ahmed Elmohamady manages to make a clearance.45:01
The referee gets the second half started.45:00 +2:20 Half time
Half Time The first half comes to an end.45:00 +1:44
Charlie Adam challenges Sebastian Larsson unfairly and gives away a free kick. Jack Colback restarts play with the free kick.45:00 +0:59
Daniel Agger takes the free kick.45:00 +0:59 Booking
Booking The referee shows Phillip Bardsley a yellow card for dissent.45:00 +0:46
Anton Ferdinand gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Andrew Carroll.44:06
Free kick taken by Wes Brown.44:06 Booking
Booking Jamie Carragher goes into the book.43:50
Jamie Carragher challenges Asamoah Gyan unfairly and gives away a free kick.43:26
Outswinging corner taken left-footed by Stewart Downing, Kieran Richardson makes a clearance.41:37
Leiva Lucas concedes a free kick for a foul on Stephane Sessegnon. Free kick crossed right-footed by Sebastian Larsson from right channel.39:34
Ahmed Elmohamady produces a cross, John Flanagan makes a clearance.37:56
Leiva Lucas produces a right-footed shot from just outside the penalty box that goes wide left of the target.36:02
Free kick awarded for a foul by John Flanagan on Sebastian Larsson. Direct free kick taken by Wes Brown.34:31
Phillip Bardsley delivers the ball, Jamie Carragher manages to make a clearance.33:22
Shot by Stewart Downing.32:56
Charlie Adam produces a cross, save made by Simon Mignolet.31:52
Unfair challenge on Leiva Lucas by Sebastian Larsson results in a free kick. Leiva Lucas takes the direct free kick.30:44
The assistant referee signals for offside against Luis Suarez. Simon Mignolet restarts play with the free kick.29:42
Long range shot by Lee Cattermole goes wide right of the net.28:30
Inswinging corner taken by Charlie Adam from the right by-line.27:44
Effort on goal by Stephane Sessegnon from 25 yards. Jose Reina makes a save.27:05
Inswinging corner taken left-footed by Charlie Adam from the right by-line, clearance made by Kieran Richardson.26:18
Direct free kick taken by Leiva Lucas.26:18 Booking
Booking Lee Cattermole receives a caution.26:06
Unfair challenge on Luis Suarez by Lee Cattermole results in a free kick.25:56
A cross is delivered by Phillip Bardsley, Jose Reina makes a comfortable save.22:56
Asamoah Gyan has an effort at goal from just outside the area which goes wide of the left-hand post.22:34
The ball is crossed by Ahmed Elmohamady, clearance made by Jordan Henderson.22:10
Charlie Adam takes a shot. Save by Simon Mignolet.21:44
Corner taken right-footed by Sebastian Larsson, Wes Brown takes a shot. Jose Reina makes a comfortable save.21:06
The ball is sent over by Ahmed Elmohamady, Daniel Agger manages to make a clearance.20:22
Andrew Carroll gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Kieran Richardson. Direct free kick taken by Simon Mignolet.19:34
Unfair challenge on Luis Suarez by Anton Ferdinand results in a free kick. The free kick is delivered left-footed by Charlie Adam from left channel, clearance made by Jack Colback.15:07
Foul by Charlie Adam on Jack Colback, free kick awarded. Direct free kick taken by Phillip Bardsley.13:49
Shot from long distance by Sebastian Larsson goes wide of the left-hand upright.13:21
Ahmed Elmohamady takes a shot. Jose Reina makes a comfortable save.11:51
Assist by Charlie Adam.11:51 Goal scored
Goal! - Luis Suarez - Liverpool 1 - 0 Sunderland Luis Suarez gets on the score sheet with a goal from close range to the bottom right corner of the goal. Liverpool 1-0 Sunderland.11:04
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Luis Suarez by Wes Brown. The ball is delivered by Charlie Adam,10:31
John Flanagan delivers the ball, Wes Brown manages to make a clearance.10:14
Centre by Kieran Richardson, clearance made by Daniel Agger.6:59
Foul by Charlie Adam on Lee Cattermole, free kick awarded. The free kick is swung in right-footed by Sebastian Larsson.5:31 Penalty
Penalty missed over the bar by Luis Suarez.5:31 Booking
Booking Kieran Richardson goes into the referee's book for unsporting behaviour.4:40
Unfair challenge on Luis Suarez by Kieran Richardson results in a Penalty.4:22
Corner taken right-footed by Sebastian Larsson, Charlie Adam manages to make a clearance.2:59
Free kick awarded for a foul by Stewart Downing on Lee Cattermole. Simon Mignolet restarts play with the free kick.2:10
Outswinging corner taken right-footed by Sebastian Larsson, Wes Brown takes a shot. Save made by Jose Reina.0:10
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Daniel Agger by Asamoah Gyan. Jose Reina takes the direct free kick.0:00
The match has kicked off.
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