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Sunderland 0-1 Liverpool: A hard fought victory for the Reds

The slender win over Sunderland at the Stadium of Light meant that Liverpool are going through back-to-back victories having brushed Championship outfit AFC Wimbledon aside in the Capital One Cup in the earlier fixture

SENIOR ANALYST
12 Jan 2015, 21:14 IST
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Lazar Markovic scored the match-winner

The slender win over Sunderland at the Stadium of Light meant that Liverpool are going through back-to-back victories having brushed Championship outfit AFC Wimbledon aside in the Capital One Cup in the earlier fixture. And to much of our surprise, Brazilian international Lucas Leiva has emerged to be the unsung hero for Liverpool so far this season.

Quite remarkable. The Reds have only tasted defeat once since the return of Lucas Leiva this season, the heavy 3-0 defeat to arch-rivals Manchester United at Old Trafford, where Lucas was not involved. He is as important to the team as any other outfield player at the moment.

Oh well, if you have been an ardent Liverpool supporter for quite some time now, you’ve got to have the idea that good things just don’t last long here somehow. Despite his breathtaking performance in the 1-0 win over Sunderland, rumours are the club is accepting Inter Milan’s £5 million offer for his services. Ridiculous, really.

And his replacement? Fabian freaking Delph.

Lucas vs Delph

You judge.

Anyway, Liverpool’s defence with the presence of Emre Can and Mamadou Sakho at the back has eased the supporters’ high blood pressure mainly caused by Martin Skrtel and Dejan Lovren’s sloppiness earlier this season. Both can start the attack from the back, a system that Brendan Rodgers relies on. Sakho notched up an impressive 95.3% passing accuracy whilst Emre Can completed 92.2% of his passes throughout the game. Physical presence, tick. Reliable passing, tick!

And Markovic was amazing.

The Serbian was simply entertaining to watch thanks to his direct running that terrorized the Sunderland defence. Man of the Match? Definitely. Lucas came close to clinching the Man of the Match award for this one, but it was Markovic’s goal that separated the sides at the end of the game.

And in case you haven’t seen, had this karate effort from Markovic found the net, it would have definitely been a Goal of the Season contender.

Albeit taking time to settle down to his new club, Markovic will be playing an integral role in the club’s future. Not to mention that the lad’s only 20-years-old, so the best is definitely still yet to come.

More good news for the Kop End as goal-machine Daniel Sturridge is set to mark his return after a long-term injury layoff. Liverpool has bowed out of the Premier League title race and the prestigious UEFA Champions League in the striker’s absence, with his counterpart Mario Balotelli failing to register a single league goal since signing for the Reds.

And the 25-year-old has given his fans nothing to worry about, with this ‘Six-pack off’ with teammate Coutinho indicating that Sturridge has showed no signs of slowing down in the midst of his injury.

Back at training and @phil.coutinho said let's have a 6 pack off. This guy is my brother. #assistgenius #hermano

A photo posted by Official Daniel Sturridge (@dstudge) on

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