Liverpool’s title aspirations suffered a blow as they were held by lowly Sunderland at the Stadium of Light. The Black Cats, who suffered a humiliating defeat against Burnley this past weekend, started off brightly but had to come back from behind twice to pick up a point. Liverpool simply weren’t on their game and perhaps playing twice in the span of 48 hours took its toll.
Here are three talking points from the game.
Jermain Defoe is fine wine and gets better with age
Defoe has already scored 11 in the league this season, just four less than last season’s tally that saved Sunderland in the end. The 34-year-young had a few half chances in the game and troubled the Liverpool defence with his pace, but his composure from the penalty spot exuded confidence.
Sunderland have a lot of fixtures coming up and with the lack of options, they’ll be hoping that their goal-machine doesn’t pick up an injury. Moyes would have ideally liked to give him a breather in January, but considering how many injuries they’ve had and the players they’ll be losing, the gaffer’s hands might well be tied.
Emre Can failed to replace Jordan Henderson
From almost being sold by Brendan Rodgers, Henderson has become an indispensable part of the Liverpool team. After hobbling off in the game against Manchester City, he wasn’t named in the squad and Emre Can deputised for him in the central midfield. Can hasn’t played regularly of late and it showed as his influence wasn’t the same as the Liverpool skipper.
Can was often slow to release the ball when he got it and the passes lack any sort of potency as he often played it safe, unlike what Henderson does when he tries to switch play. James Milner could have arguably been a good option in the centre, with Moreno playing as the left back.
Disappointing refereeing mars the game again
Sunderland have had the rub of the green in terms of refereeing decisions and today was no different. The Black Cats had two penalties but should have had another in the first half when Emre Can clearly handled the ball in the penalty box. Even some of the fouls on the Sunderland players were overlooked. Had Sunderland lost the game, it would have definitely been unfair as the players put in a lot of effort to start the New Year on a high.