The visitors drew level on points with Manchester United and closed the gap on the top four, after their second win in a row after Christmas.
Early on and in the first half, Liverpool started brighter by winning the loose balls and giving a more committed performance than away to Watford. After six minutes Clyne went for glory and it wasn’t a bad effort from distance. The Liverpool full-back picked up the ball from about 35 yards out and smashed the ball toward goal.
Two minutes later Coates sent the ball straight to Coutinho, who sprung forward in the Sunderland half with five of his teammates charging alongside him. The Brazilian opted to play in Firmino on the left, but the attacker’s control was terrible and the ball bounced off his shin and out of play. All he had to do was control it and he’d just have the keeper to beat for the opener.
Some poor tracking in the box, left Borini free surprisingly, and he came close to scoring against his former club, shooting just wide.
It was just a minute into the second half that Christian Benteke scored the winning goal, thanks to a Coutinho through ball that was flicked unexpectedly into the Belgian’s path.
Benteke kept cool in front of goal as he slotted the ball past Mannone just seconds after the restart.
For about 20 minutes Liverpool lost momentum which is a weakness of theirs, a failure to hold onto leads and draw 1-1 or a failure to kill off opposition. Jordan Henderson’s injury made matters worse in a time of multiple injuries at the club. Lucas Leiva came on to replace him.
Liverpool mainly lacked that extra bit of quality to finish teams off, especially a team that’s performed as poorly as Sunderland have this season, and were there for the taking tonight.
On a number of occasions Liverpool were unnecessarily under pressure by their own team, especially when Firmino sliced a clearance back toward Mignolet that he left, and Adam Johnson failed to take advantage of to score.
With two minutes to go, Ibe received the ball from Firmino deep insIde Sunderland’s half and as the target opened up for him with ample space but he passed up the chance to double Liverpool’s lead by driving a wild effort over the crossbar.
In injury time, Firmino played in Benteke who beared down on goal one-on-one with Mannone but he poorly sidefoots his effort straight at the Italian goalkeeper.