The Scottish tactician used four of his summer signings â€“ Charlie Adam, Stewart Downing, Jordan Henderson and Jose Enrique â€“ and things began well when Luis Suarez was brought down in the area by Kieran Richardson in the fifth minute.
The Uruguayanâ€™s spot kick, however, was put over the crossbar in what was a huge letoff for the visiting Black Cats but the Reds managed to hit the front after 11 minutes when Suarez headed home Adamâ€™s free-kick.
After a poor beginning, Steve Bruceâ€™s men kicked into gear and got a leveler in the 57th minute when Ahmed Al Muhammadi's cross from the right was met by a brilliant Sebastian Larsson sideways scissor kick to give Sunderland a share of the points on day one of the 2011/12 season.
Liverpool: 1 (Luis Suarez 12â€™)
Sunderland: 1 (Sebastian Larsson 57â€™)
Yellow cards: LIV - Jamie Carragher 45â€™, Jordan Henderson 60â€™, Charlie Adam 66â€™, Dirk Kuyt 72â€™
SUN - Kieran Richardson 6â€™, Lee Cattermole 27â€™, Phil Bardsley 45â€™, Sebastian Larsson 78â€™