Liverpool squander a 2 goal lead as problems mount on Jurgen Klopp
In the battle for relegation, a trip to Anfield was never going to be easy for the Black Cats who would have taken points at the start of the game no questions asked.
The biggest exodus in Anfield history was followed by an on-field collapse as the Reds somehow allowed a lowly Sunderland side to snatch a point from a 2-0 lead. Thousands of supporters joined in the planned walkout on 77 minutes in protest at rising ticket prices and in their absence, Jurgen Klopp’s side went to pieces.
The German manager was absent on the sidelines as he was out due to a medical condition and up until the 80th-minute mark, it looked like the absence of the manager would not matter as Liverpool almost looked like they secured the 3 points.
But in the midst of a rare sight of the Kop emptying, Sunderland never lost hope and pulled back two goals to draw the game and take home a point. However, the game will surely be marred with the mass protest that was staged inside Anfield against the rising ticket prices.
The first half hardly saw any action as Sunderland were happy to sit deep and frustrate Liverpool. The home side lost both Dejan Lovren and Joe Allen to injuries in the first half as they were not able to make inroads into a well managed defensive shield in front of the Kop.
However, the second half was a completely different prospect which all started with the energy in the final third provided by young Jordan Ibe. The pacey winger was happy to take on the Sunderland players that opened up gaps in the field.
James Milner peeled away and put in a perfect cross for Roberto Firmino who now seems to have gotten used to the Premier League and its requirements. He not too later put Adam Lallana in front of an open goal to give the home side a precious 2-0 lead.
However, a needless free kick given away by Moreno ended up in the back of the net. Johnson beat Mignolet at the near post but the Belgian should have done better and will surely be criticized after the game.
By this time, the scenes at Anfield were nothing less than disappointing with an emptying Kop asking the owners to stop milking them. In the 89th minute, Jermain Defoe produced a moment of brilliance as he pounced on a bit of space and thumped past Mignolet who had no chance.
Sunderland miraculously came back from 2 goals down to take a point and rub salt in the wounds of the Anfield supporters who were dealing with a completely different problem.
Even as Liverpool put 72.5% possession, Sunderland scored from their only two shots on target, a trend that is becoming so very common for the men in Red. This game is a lost chance for the club to at least try for a top 6 finish but with the present squad not able to dictate and finish off matches, European football will not be easy to achieve for the club this season.
The only positive from the match for the home side would be the return of Daniel Sturridge to the bench who might make an appearance in the mid-week replay of the FA Cup with West Ham.
As for Sunderland, they 3 points away from safety at the bottom of the table. Sam Allardyce will not be too displeased with the result and will hope to find some consistency from now to the end of the season.
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