Quick Kicks: Thoughts And Reaction From Sunderland 1-3 Liverpool

Matthew Lewis

Positives, resisting the urge to hang yourself, etc etc etc. You know what this feature is by now.

What The Gaffer Said

We said before the game that we wanted to win it but I said we had to take care of the performance first.

I think overall in terms of the game and how we set out for the game it was very good and I think the players endeavour and commitment to the cause was excellent.

I think when you're 2-0 down it's a case of ‘what are you going to do now?' ‘Are you just going to rollover or are you going to have a go?'

We spoke about that at half time and I think in the second half everyone in the stadium saw us having a right go at doing it correctly.

When we scored the goal we had chances to get right back in the game.

You're always going to be susceptible to the counter-attack, the only thing is the set-play, with bodies in the box, and could we have done better with that?

It would have been nice to come out of the game with something but today the performance was the most important thing and to a degree I think we got that.

The players should take heart from the game. They put a really good shift in.

The question was ‘What are we going to do second-half?' and they answered that emphatically by having a really good go.

It would have been lovely to get the second-goal and see what happened then but unfortunately for us we were always susceptible to the counter attack and they went away and scored.

We just need to turn that performance into results.

I think the comment that sticks out there is the assertion that the performance came first today. With the greatest respect to Kevin Ball, it is points Sunderland need at the moment, not performances.

But, in fairness, Ball's general message and demeanour is a nice antithesis to Di Canio's ranting and criticisms of the players. He needs to say something and there is no harm in highlighting the positives in a calm manner.

Self-destruct - Again

There were positives to take from the game and I'll get to one of those in due course, but I'm seriously starting to lose my rag at the defending we are seeing this season.

It wasn't so much the two Suarez goals, though. Let's face it, they were goals on the counter attack crafted by some top class players. The first one however, the important one, was appalling.

It is true that it was probably handball. It definitely hit the arm but whether it satisfied the criteria for a handball offence is open to the referee's discretion. But frankly, if you leave your oppositon's top goalscorer unmarked in the six-yard box from a corner, allow the ball to drop to him directly, and then take an air-shot on the line for what should be a routine clearance then you deserve to concede.

At this point serious questions have to be asked about Keiren Westwood. Against Fulham it was a similar story, as it was against Palace. I appreciate that corners are becoming more difficult for goalkeepers to deal with, but surely he has to show some kind of authority or presence in there?

Conceding the first goal is often so crucial at this level and we are not even making clubs work for it. Then we are drawn out chasing the game and getting picked off on the counter. It is happening every single week. It is nowhere even close to being even remotely good enough.

Cattermole Back

I've always been a Cattermole fan, so it didn't really come as a surprise to see him back in the side. Simply put, Sunderland are a better team with Lee Cattermole in it.

He certainly didn't disappoint in terms of performance. The Liverpool midfield wasn't short on quality and he definitely didn't look outclassed. Quite the opposite, in fact. He was one of the most prominent players on the pitch.

What has been especially encouraging though has been his level of involvement in the final third. He produced a cross of real quality for the opening goal against Peterborough and in this one he laid on a chance for Craig Gardner with a simply exquisite pass.

The challenge for Cattermole now is what it has always been - to do it consistently and without lengthy interruption. Jury is very much still out on whether he can do that, but it's great to have him back nonetheless.

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