Liverpool continued their fine form of the season by defeating Sunderland thanks to a brace from the returning Luis Suarez and a goal by Daniel Sturridge.
With Sunderland desperate to regain the confidence of the Sunderland faithful in a packed out Stadium of Light they started to find their feet in the game but, as they did so many times during the Paolo Di Canio era, they lacked the confidence and composure in the final third to create any real opportunities in the first half for themselves.
Sunderland thought they were a goal down to a Martin Skrtel goal which was palmed out by Kieren Westwood from a strong Steven Gerrard strike - but there was one man in yellow in which correctly flagged for offside. You may ask the question in how long until the deadlock is broken.
With free-kick specialists on either side with Gerrard and Sebastian Larsson - it was no surprise to see the games first real chance for either side to come from the set piece kings.
A Larsson right footed free-kick from 30 yards out had the Sunderland fans off their seats, unfortunately for them it ended with their hands on their heads as they witness the ball rattle the crossbar and drop to safety.
Liverpool began to mount up the set piece total in this first half so it was no surprise when their first goal came from a Gerrard's corner.
Whipped in by the England and Liverpool captain, Sturridge found himself unmarked. The ball ricocheted in off what first looked like a head but replays showed an arm. Question marks remain to how much Sturridge knew about it let along the referee.
Continually this season Liverpool have played calmly on the ball, soaking up the pressure at the back and then looking forward to break quickly, just like Brendan Rodgers' style of play at Swansea.
Well this is exactly how the second goal came. Liverpool playing around the back before passing the ball wide to Gerrard.
A perfect 40 yard pass cross field accompanied by a majestic touch from Sturridge saw Liverpool bearing down on Sunderland's goal.
A beautifully weighted pass across the face of goal saw Luis Suarez there to slide in on his first goal of the season. Love him or hate him, Suarez's footballing abilities speak wonders.
Sunderland did begin to press high with minutes to go before half time and a big chance for make shift right-back Craig Gardner who found himself 1-on-1 with his former team mate. It was Simon Mignolet who came out on top though with a terrific right footed save to send
Rodgers would have certainly been gritting his teeth early on as he saw his side concede an early second half goal.
Mignolet, whose handling was poor in the first half, blocked Ki's long range effort but couldn't hold onto the ball, instead palming into the path of the onrushing Emanuele Giaccherini who slotted home.
A definite point made by Kevin Ball at half time to test the shaky Mignolet out payed off.
Sunderland continued to press - forcing Mignolet to make more saves than he hoped for.
A uninspiring spell after Sunderland's goal however led to a comfortable second half for Liverpool in which neither side threatened the goal dangerously.
It wasn't until the game was put to bed moments before the end when another Liverpool counter attack saw a long ball hit into the path of Sturridge, who darted for the box sliding the ball across the face of goal to Suarez who comfortable put the game out of Sunderland's sight.
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