Premier League
Sunderland0Liverpool1

Sunderland 0-1 Liverpool

Christian Benteke
Christian Benteke scored his sixth goal in seven games against Sunderland

Christian Benteke scored the only goal as Liverpool ended 2015 with a victory, leaving Sunderland in deep trouble.

Benteke netted early in the second half, running on to Adam Lallana's pass to neatly net from inside the area.

Vito Mannone made a stunning save to tip Liverpool midfielder Roberto Firmino's shot on to a post before pushing away the Brazilian's header.

Jermain Defoe forced Simon Mignolet into an excellent save, but Sunderland have now lost their past five games.

Fabio Borini also went close against his former side, shooting straight at Mignolet and striking an effort narrowly wide.

Back-to-back Benteke winners lift Liverpool

Christian Benteke goal
After the initial scramble, it was all too easy for Liverpool when the ball broke free. Nathaniel Clyne's pass was touched on by Adam Lallana (20) for Christian Benteke (9) to finish

This was the Reds' second successive 1-0 win, having beaten Leicester by the same scoreline on Boxing Day, with Belgium striker Benteke the match-winner both times.

Since signing for £32m in the summer, the former Aston Villa man has not been a regular starter, but has now scored six times in seven games against Sunderland, more than against any other side.

But, having missed from close range against Leicester, he once again spurned a straightforward chance, running through on goal before striking at Mannone.

Liverpool were not at their best, but their control and another clean sheet will please boss Jurgen Klopp. His side moved up to seventh - level on points with Manchester United.

Sunderland have mountain to climb

Jermain Defoe
Not only do Sunderland have problems at the back, but up front too. Striker Jermain Defoe (18) was left far too isolated and the lack of service meant he managed just two shots in the game

The home side were much improved from their 4-1 defeat by Manchester City and looked confident in the opening 45 minutes, but once again their defensive frailties came to the fore.

They switched off straight after the interval, giving the ball away on the edge of the centre circle for Liverpool to break quickly and score just 22 seconds into the second half.

It means the Black Cats have conceded 38 goals in their 19 Premier League games this season - more than any other team - and are now seven points from safety.

Having had a bid accepted for Lorient centre-back Lamine Kone, manager Sam Allardyce will hope the Ivorian can help plug a leaky defence and raise the confidence of his lowly team.

Should Lens have been sent off?

With five minutes left, Sunderland midfielder Jeremain Lens left Liverpool defender Mamadou Sakho writhing in agony with a late tackle.

The visiting side's staff became involved in heated exchanges with their Black Cats counterparts, and Lens was booked. Sakho stayed on and finished the match.

Klopp said: "I don't want to say now, 'Come on, give him a red card'. I have no problem with this player, but if you go like that, everything can happen. That's not allowed. For me, that's a red card, finish, that's it."

Allardyce responded: "It's not a red card, it's a yellow. It's a foul.

"There was some foul and abusive language towards my staff that I didn't like. It was all right, though, because we all shook hands and got on with it, which is what we have got to do."

Man of the match - Emre Can

Emre Can
A battling presence in the middle of the park, Can made two tackles and two clearances, as well as winning the ball back seven times. His tally of 64 passes was more than any other player on the pitch

What they said

Sunderland manager Sam Allardyce: "There is some encouragement - seeing the lads battling and fighting for themselves and trying to get a win or at least a point - but a bit of misfortune just after half-time took it away from us. I thought the lads tried their best and you can't ask for more than that."

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp: "It is not the best we can do, we know this, but we had to fight. We knew about Sunderland's situation. Everyone wants to end the year positively. We can and Sunderland can't but we take these points, go home, sleep two times and onto the next game."

Christian Benteke

What next?

Second-bottom Sunderland host bottom side Aston Villa on Saturday (15:00 GMT), while Liverpool travel to West Ham on the same day (12:45).

The stats you need to know

  • Benteke's goal was the quickest second-half goal scored in the Premier League this season (22 seconds)
  • Liverpool have won five games 1-0 this season, a Premier League joint-high along with West Brom
  • Sunderland have taken just two points from their past seven Premier League meetings with Liverpool
  • The Black Cats are now on their worst run of Premier League defeats since April 2014

Line-ups

Sunderland

  • 25Mannone
  • 2Jones
  • 22CoatesSubstituted forYedlinat 72'minutes
  • 5Brown
  • 3van Aanholt
  • 6Cattermole
  • 21M'Vila
  • 8RodwellSubstituted forWatmoreat 30'minutes
  • 11JohnsonSubstituted forLensat 63'minutesBooked at 86mins
  • 18Defoe
  • 9Borini

Substitutes

  • 1Pantilimon
  • 17Lens
  • 19Graham
  • 20Toivonen
  • 24Yedlin
  • 31Beadling
  • 41Watmore

Liverpool

  • 22Mignolet
  • 2Clyne
  • 6Lovren
  • 17Sakho
  • 18MorenoBooked at 77mins
  • 14HendersonSubstituted forLeivaat 61'minutes
  • 23CanBooked at 58mins
  • 20Lallana
  • 11Roberto FirminoSubstituted forK Touréat 90+3'minutes
  • 10CoutinhoSubstituted forIbeat 83'minutes
  • 9BentekeBooked at 19mins

Substitutes

  • 4K Touré
  • 21Leiva
  • 33Ibe
  • 34Bogdan
  • 44B Smith
  • 53Vilaca Teixeira
  • 56Randall
Referee:
Kevin Friend
Attendance:
45,765

Match Stats

Home TeamSunderlandAway TeamLiverpool
Possession
Home42%
Away58%
Shots
Home8
Away17
Shots on Target
Home3
Away6
Corners
Home6
Away4
Fouls
Home8
Away16

Live Text

Match ends, Sunderland 0, Liverpool 1.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Sunderland 0, Liverpool 1.

Corner, Sunderland. Conceded by Lucas Leiva.

Substitution

Substitution, Liverpool. Kolo Touré replaces Roberto Firmino.

Lucas Leiva (Liverpool) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Lee Cattermole (Sunderland).

Attempt saved. Christian Benteke (Liverpool) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Roberto Firmino with a through ball.

Emre Can (Liverpool) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Foul by Fabio Borini (Sunderland).

Attempt missed. Jordon Ibe (Liverpool) right footed shot from the centre of the box is just a bit too high. Assisted by Roberto Firmino.

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

Delay in match Mamadou Sakho (Liverpool) because of an injury.

Booking

Jeremain Lens (Sunderland) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Mamadou Sakho (Liverpool) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Jeremain Lens (Sunderland).

Substitution

Substitution, Liverpool. Jordon Ibe replaces Philippe Coutinho.

Foul by Adam Lallana (Liverpool).

Wes Brown (Sunderland) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Christian Benteke (Liverpool).

Wes Brown (Sunderland) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Corner, Sunderland. Conceded by Simon Mignolet.

Attempt saved. Duncan Watmore (Sunderland) left footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

Corner, Sunderland. Conceded by Philippe Coutinho.

Booking

Alberto Moreno (Liverpool) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Foul by Alberto Moreno (Liverpool).

Duncan Watmore (Sunderland) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Attempt missed. Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the right. Assisted by Alberto Moreno.

Attempt missed. Emre Can (Liverpool) left footed shot from the centre of the box is high and wide to the left. Assisted by Christian Benteke.

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

Substitution

Substitution, Sunderland. DeAndre Yedlin replaces Sebastián Coates because of an injury.

Delay in match Sebastián Coates (Sunderland) because of an injury.

Attempt saved. Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Lucas Leiva.

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

Delay in match Emre Can (Liverpool) because of an injury.

Emre Can (Liverpool) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Jeremain Lens (Sunderland).

Foul by Mamadou Sakho (Liverpool).

Duncan Watmore (Sunderland) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Corner, Sunderland. Conceded by Alberto Moreno.

Substitution

Substitution, Sunderland. Jeremain Lens replaces Adam Johnson.

goal

Scores, Results & Fixtures

Wednesday 30th December 2015

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Arsenal19123433181539
2Leicester19116237251239
3Man City19113537201736
4Tottenham1998233151835
5Crystal Palace199462316731
6Man Utd198652216630
7Liverpool198652222030
8West Ham197842823529
9Watford198562420429
10Stoke198562019129
11Everton196853528726
12Southampton196672623324
13West Brom196581824-623
14Chelsea195592329-620
15Norwich195592232-1020
16Bournemouth195592234-1220
17Swansea194781624-819
18Newcastle1945101934-1517
19Sunderland1933131938-1912
20Aston Villa1915131534-198
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