A strange game, the opener versus Sunderland. Liverpool could – should – have been out of sight at half-time, and been playing against 10 men from the opening minutes. By the end, the Reds looked a tired, ragged team, holding out for a 1-1 draw at Anfield.
Kieran Richardson was not sent off because Phil Dowd gestured that Luis Suarez was heading away from goal; quite how you’re supposed to dribble around the keeper without moving the ball at a 45º angle I have no idea; if you don’t change your angle you run straight into the keeper. Look at the old Ian Rush videos, at all those goals he scored when, for a moment, his body was first angled towards the corner flag, before slipping the ball into the net.
Suarez missed the resulting penalty before quickly making amends with a sharp header from a Charlie Adam free-kick. (One game, one set-piece assist.) Andy Carroll had a goal disallowed for the most gentle of touches on Anton Ferdinand, and Stewart Downing rattled the crossbar from 20 yards after a superb run from inside his own half. The first 45 minutes saw some pass and move of the highest quality.
But then the passing gave way to hoofing, the moving gave way to slowly chasing shadows.
However, overall there was a lot to be positive about, while the main problem will automatically resolve itself.
This post is for Subscribers only.