Liverpool have failed to open their winning account for the 2012/13 Premier League season but at least moved out of the relegation zone.
The Reds were held to a 1-1 draw by Sunderland at the Stadium of Light despite dominating large portions of the affair, particularly in the second half.
The draw marks the first time since 1911 that Liverpool have not won any of their opening four matches, heaping pressure on new manager Brendan Rodgers whose outfit again showed signs of profligacy in attack.
The visitors had a great start but found themselves behind in the 29th minute when Craig Gardner made a clever run down the right wing before sending in a pinpoint cross for Steven Fletcher to prod home from close range for his third goal in two starts for Sunderland.
Thankfully though, for the sanity of the Reds fans, Liverpool had pressed and pressed all game and finally got their reward with around 20 minutes remaining. Luis Suarez struck from close range after Raheem Sterling’s cross from the right was poorly cleared by the Black Cats defence with the deflection off Titus Bramble falling for the Reds striker to fire home.
Liverpool were all over Martin O’Neill’s side early with Fabio Borini causing problems but unable to beat Simon Mignolet when he pounced on Carlos Cuellar’s poor headed backpass in the 18th minute before the Belgian came up with a huge save to deny the Italian’s volley from the edge of the area seven minutes later.
Liverpool were then probably unlucky to not win a penalty when Suarez went down near the byline under pressure from John O’Shea but instead, referee Martin Atkinson issued a yellow card for diving to the Uruguayan whose reputation certainly preceded him on this occasion.
Five minutes into the second half, Glen Johnson was desperately unlucky to see his curling effort from just inside the area clatter off the crossbar after beating Mignolet.
Sunderland were clinging to their lead on the hour-mark when Reds skipper Steven Gerrard skimmed the outside of the upright when he was teed up by Jonjo Shelvey after Mignolet fisted away Sterling’s dangerous rightwing cross. Five minutes later, Mignolet was again up to the task when he denied Martin Skrtel’s header from close range.
Mignolet was having a decent game and was able to keep out Shelvey in the 80th minute with his fifth save before Sunderland sub Louis Saha went close in injury-time down the other end in the last real moment of any consequence in the contest.
Stadium of Light, Sunderland – 41,997
Yellow cards: SUN - Seb Larsson 81’
LIV - Luis Suarez 37’, Martin Skrtel 63’