Daniel Sturridge of Liverpool (C) scores his sides first goal past Vito Mannone of Sunderland (L) during the Premier League match between Sunderland and Liverpool at Stadium of Light on January 2, 2017 in Sunderland, England.
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It almost seems customary for Liverpool really, doesn’t it? Go and beat one of your biggest rivals for the Champions League spots in the league and then falter against a smaller team scrapping for relegation. So, who, if anyone, impressed against Sunderland and who looked out for the count? Jack Hallows gives his ratings. 

Simon Mignolet – 7 – Made a number of good saves to deny Defoe and Rodwell and was unlucky not to save Defoe’s first penalty, guessing the right direction but being unable to get a hand on it. Will be disappointed in his defence for letting him down so poorly.

Nathaniel Clyne – 6 – Was one of Liverpool’s better players going forward for a change and his crossing was much improved. Was unlucky not to register an assist as he sent in some wonderful deliveries.

Dejan Lovren – 6 – Assisted Sturridge’s opener when his shot bounced into the Englishman’s path but looked tired and desperate in defence. Made some important blocks but didn’t look up to it.

Ragnar Klavan – 5 – A clumsy challenge saw the Estonian concede a first-half penalty as he knocked N’Dong to the floor inside the box and he never really looked settled. Like his defensive partner, he looked tired and while at times he made some important interventions, he just didn’t look entirely up for another game in such quick succession.

James Milner – 5 – Really poor from a man who has been Mr. Consistent this season. Looked sluggish and exhausted and his passing was awful. The fact he was replaced by Moreno at half time was telling – even if it was due to injury.

Emre Can – 5 – Dropped into the holding midfield role in Henderson’s absence but will be disappointed with his performance. Got better positionally in the second half and defended fairly impressively but his passing was never wonderful.

Gini Wijnaldum – 5.5 – Struggled to impose himself on the game in the manner he has done in recent weeks and despite an early shot stinging Mannone’s palms, the Dutchman had a very quiet 90 minutes. Part of the blunder that conceded Sunderland’s first penalty.

Adam Lallana – 6.5 – Drifted in and out of the game but he never stopped working. Created a couple of big chances for team mates including a late one for Sturridge that was saved by Mannone.

Sadio Mane – 6.5 – Full of his usual willing running and dynamism throughout his time on the field. Scored a tap-in at the far post for what should have been the winner but went from hero to zero in the space of nine minutes when he conceded a penalty down the other end for a handball. Will be missed as he heads off to AFCON.

Daniel Sturridge – 7.5 (Man of the Match) – Reduced primarily to long range efforts as Sunderland parked their double decker bus when the Reds were in possession but this was a good performance from the Englishman. Dropped deep to link the play, scored a real poacher’s finish and always made himself an option up top. Took a knock late on but shouldn’t be too serious.

Roberto Firmino – 6 – Needs a rest desperately. The Brazilian has continued his impressive ability to defend and work hard from the front but one does wonder if it’s taken its toll on his game as a whole. His usual deadliness in front of goal is nowhere to be seen and he seems to be struggling creatively as well.

Substitutes:

Alberto Moreno – 6 – Didn’t really do anything wrong during his 45-minute spell on the field. Sent in a good corner that led to Mane’s tap in and offered an outlet out on the left.

Divock Origi – N/A – Couldn’t get himself into the game as much as he would’ve liked when brought on.

Lucas Leiva – N/A – Was unlucky late on to give away a foul that led to a penalty from the resulting free kick but it always feels like it’s going to happen with Lucas sadly.

Manager:

Jurgen Klopp – 5 – Decided to make just a single change – Sturridge in for Henderson – despite half of his players never looking up for the challenge and this oversight showed massively throughout. The Reds were sloppy in defence and careless in possession and while hindsight is a wonderful thing, you can’t help but feel there may have been a different outcome with fresher legs given an opportunity.

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