The visitors scored two late goals after almost 10,000 fans walked out of Anfield in protest after the 77th minute.
The fans were angry at the increased prices in certain sections of the stadium, and the protest certainly effected the result as Liverpool were crusing 2-0 up just before it occurred.
Jurgen Klopp couldn’t attend the game due to illness which was another omen, as the manager has worked hard in his time at Anfield to inspire the supporters to stay on until the end, as many in recent times left in the dying minutes to avoid traffic after the game.
Alberto Moreno missed three easy chances to score in the game, two in the first half. The first one was after Adam Lallana teed him up and from close he smacked it hard at the keeper Vito Mannone who had a busy game.
It was a rare start for Joe Allen instead of Lucas Leiva but the Welsh player had to leave the field early together with Dejan Lovren after injuries. For Sunderland the same happened with Duncan Watmore.
Firmino crossed for Moreno toward the end of the half and right in front of goal with the net at his mercy, the Spaniard chose to head it instead of shoot and failed to get proper power to threaten the goal at all. It was amateurish stuff.
The Brazilian Firmino was a rare quality performer for the home side on the day with his skill and creation of space but they lacked quality elsewhere. Though, Sunderland were desperately poorer and LFC were fortunate to play against the struggling visitors.
Moreno lashed a brilliant shot just wide of target after making space for himself. The pressure counted eventually.
Defoe then had a rare sight of goal for Sunderland, but just a minute later Liverpool finally took the lead when Firmino peeled off his man at the back post and nodded Milner’s deep cross in.
The hosts immediately went in search of a second, with Ibe seeing a powerful effort deflected narrowly over before Mannone got down twice in quick succession to deny Lallana and Ibe.
Henderson was the next to come close with a long-range strike that swerved narrowly wide, but Liverpool were then given a warning shot when Van Aanholt broke into the box and sliced his effort into the side-netting when he should have done better.
Liverpool did get the second goal with 20 minutes remaining, however, as Firmino blocked a clearance from Jones before advancing into the area and squaring for Lallana to slot a simple finish into the empty net.
In front of an empty Kop stand after fans has staged a mass walk-out over new ticket prices, Johnson pulled one back for the visitors when his free kick squirmed under the arm of Simon Mignolet.
The comeback was then completed with just one minute of normal time remaining as Wahbi Khazri found Defoe, who held off Sakho before turning and firing a clinical finish past the keeper.
That proved to be enough for Sunderland to claim a point as Liverpool made it just one win in their last six Premier League games to remain eighth in the table, while the Black Cats stay four points from safety.