Sunderland and Liverpool played out an entertaining draw on Monday as the Reds let slip their advantage over the likes of Manchester City and Arsenal. It was the Reds who opened the proceedings in the 19th minute when Sturridge put Lovren’s miscued shot into the back of the net only for Ragnar Klavan to concede a penalty in the 25th minute, which Jermaine Defoe gleefully converted.
Liverpool took the lead yet again in the 72nd minute when Sadio Mane lost his marker to tap in an easy opportunity. However, their joy was short-lived as another penalty, this time courtesy of a Mane handball in the box, was converted by Defoe.
Here are the player ratings from the game:
Vito Mannone - 7
Mannone was in fine form against the Reds and managed almost everything that was thrown at him by the Liverpool attack. He made some fine saves to ensure that his side eked out a positive result on the evening.
Patrick van Aanholt - 6
The Dutch international had a good evening as he put in an all-round performance as the left-back of his side. Van Aanholt made 3 successful tackles, and 4 vital interceptions while ensuring that he remained a threat to the Liverpool defence down the left flank with his pace as well as ability on the ball.
Papy Djilobodji - 6
The defender was at fault for Liverpool’s 2nd goal as he lost his marker. However, he proved to be an able presence at the rear end of the pitch for the Black Cats as he effected some crucial interceptions, blocks, and clearances to negate Liverpool’s threat.
John O’Shea - 5
While his side might have come through with a point, I for one, believe that the former Manchester United man should bring a lot more to the table with his experience and ability on the ball. The defender was almost invisible during the game and that might worry the Sunderland faithful.
Donaldo Love - 5
Love was largely restricted to defensive duties during the evening and while he is unafraid to put his body on the line for the cause of his side, his apparent lack of quality was evident through the evening.
Sebastian Larsson – 6
Like numerous other Sunderland players, the Swede spent most of his time negating the threat that Liverpool brought to the table. He played a pivotal role in Sunderland’s 2nd goal as it was his free-kick that earned his side the penalty.
Jack Rodwell - 7
Rodwell, a player who was touted to be the future of English football while at Everton, has seen his career go downhill since he made the ill-fated move to the Etihad. However, today was a reminder of what the Englishman can bring to the table as Rodwell put in an industrious performance in the middle of the park.
Didier Ndong - 7
The Gabonese international had an impressive game for the Black Cats as he constantly broke up Liverpool’s rhythm with a mix of tackles and interceptions. Ndong showed willingness to put his body on the line for the cause of his side and was a constant menace to the Liverpool midfield with his tenacity as well as combative abilities.
Adnan Januzaj - 7
After having impressed in his side’s previous fixture against Burnley, the Belgian’s abilities were on display again as he tore open the Liverpool defence with a beautiful through ball that Jermaine Defoe failed to convert. However, he failed to impose himself as the game wore on.
Fabio Borini- 6
The industrious attacker tried his best to trouble the Liverpool defence and succeeded partially. While he still does lack the final product, his athletic performance up front helps create space for Jermaine Defoe to operate in and that was on display today.
Jermaine Defoe – 8
What is amazing is that the 34-year old’s abilities in front of goal do not seem to be going away with age, unlike other players. Defoe could have had one more to his goal tally today if he had managed to convert the chance that came his way after Januzaj put him through.
However, there was no faulting the 2 goals he did score as the experienced attacker kept his nerve and found the back of the net calmly. With 11 goals in the league thus far, the Englishman remains Sunderland’s best bet for remaining afloat in the current season.
Javier Manquillo - 5
The Spaniard was unimpressive yet effective during the 24 minutes he spent on the pitch.
Wahbi Khazri - NA
Simon Mignolet - 7
The Belgian superstar had very little to do in terms of shot stopping on the evening and the two shots that came his way were the penalties that Jermaine Defoe put away with ease. Mignolet was calm in possession, distributed the ball well and did not show any nerves during the game. Definitely good news for the Reds faithful.
Nathaniel Clyne - 6
Clyne has been one of those players in the Premier League who remains effective without being extravagant. The Englishman continued to provide support up front while ensuring that his side of the pitch was not left exposed to the pace of Van Aanholt.
Dejan Lovren - 6
The provider of the first assist, Lovren looked all set to continue his solid performance until the through ball from Januzaj brought back memories of a positionally unaware player, as he let Defoe beat him with an intelligent run. However, his performance improved as the game progressed and the Croatian made some crucial tackles and interceptions to keep his side in the fray.
Ragnar Klavan - 5
The Estonian has been renowned for his calm yet effective performances for the Reds, ever since he broke into the first team. However, today was an evening to forget for Klavan as he looked a bit nervy at the back and was guilty of giving away the first Sunderland penalty.
James Milner - 6
After an impressive performance against his former club Manchester City, Milner had a rather underwhelming performance against the Black Cats. Make no mistake, it is not his way in being extravagant with the ball at his feet. However, he could have offered his side a lot more going forward.
Emre Can – 6
The first goal was a result of Can’s carelessness as he let an easy ball run past him for a throw in, which subsequently resulted in the penalty. The second goal came off a penalty that was awarded after Sadio Mane handled Seb Larsson's free kick after the German had fouled Jermaine Defoe.
While he did improve after the break and dominated the proceedings in the middle of the park, overall, it was an evening that the German would like to forget.
Georginio Wijnaldum – 5
The match-winner against Manchester City found the going hard tonight and he looked a shadow of himself as he misplaced numerous passes and failed to help out his attacking colleagues. He was substituted for Divock Origi to inject some attacking threat into the side.
Adam Lallana – 7
Apart from Daniel Sturridge, Lallana looked the likeliest of the Liverpool players to have a positive effect on the game. The Englishman created 3 chances during the game and also tested Mannone with 2 shots to add to Liverpool’s threat.
However, it was truly the way in which he maintained the tempo of his side that impressed as the midfielder did a fine job stitching together his side’s attack and defence.
Sadio Mane – 6
The Senegalese international, who is set to leave for the African Cup of Nations soon, was an ever-present threat to the Sunderland defence. His intelligence off the ball was pivotal in his side’s 2nd goal as he lost his marker to tap home an easy chance. Mane will be hard to replace for the Reds up front and Jurgen Klopp will be aware of the same.
Roberto Firmino - 4
Firmino was extremely disappointing on the night. While the Brazilian did impress in bits and parts, perhaps a little more quality going forward could have helped his side achieve a better result than they ultimately did.
Daniel Sturridge - 7
Brought back into the side due to numerous injuries, Sturridge showcased why he could be pivotal if Liverpool are to launch a serious title challenge this year. He put in a shift and was often seen dropping deep to help his side set up attacks.
Alberto Moreno – 5
The Spaniard was brought on at the start of the second half and despite his efforts to help his side offensively, Moreno created just 2 chances during the 45 minutes he was on the pitch.
Divock Origi - 5
The ever present runner was not presented with a lot of chances during the game as Sunderland dealt with his threat appropriately.
Lucas Leiva- NA
Where does Mane rank in Paul Merson's 5 greatest Liverpool signings of the Klopp era? Click here