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Liverpool Vs Sunderland: Player Ratings

Sunderland put their dreadfully inept performance at Norwich behind them with a gutsy performance at Anfield. Unfortunately, the result was the same, nil points. Here's how the lads performed.

Michael Regan

Vito Mannone - 5

Could have done better for the opener, which was well struck by Steven Gerrard but not right in the corner. Had he not taken a crucial step to his right, he may have saved it. Should've trusted his wall and covered his side of the goal. Other than that, no chance with the second and made some fairly routine claims. Distribution could have been better and got away with one sloppy clearance.

Santiago Vergini - 2

Looked completely off the pace and was lucky not to be sent off. His selection appeared to be enforced by Poyet's choice of system as the only other time Vergini has come up against this level of opposition - against Arsenal - he was similarly woeful. Showed none of the decent distribution he has against lesser sides while being a shambles defensively for the most part.

John O'Shea - 8

Despite Vergini seemingly playing a completely different game to his central defensive partners, both O'Shea and Brown excelled against top class forwards. Towards the end of the game, after putting in a sterling performance at the back, the Irish international also helped out with some of our late attacks. Could perhaps have done better when he glanced a late Adam Johnson free kick wide of the far post, but otherwise a commanding, captain's performance. Just a shame this O'Shea doesn't turn up every week.

Wes Brown - 7

Almost as good as O'Shea, but a couple of sloppier moments earlier in the game let him down by comparison. Otherwise, everything we've come to expect from Brown when he's on his game; solid in the tackle, commanding in the air and tremendous reading of the game. Given the forwards he and O'Shea were playing against and having to play alongside a liability in Vergini, I thought both coped extremely well.

Phil Bardsley - 7

A typical Bardsley performance in a slightly different role for him tonight, playing as he was in the right wing back position. Got forward to decent effect and stood up well to Liverpool's attacking threat. A shame he lacked a little bit of composure and additional quality going forward towards the end of the game, but on the whole, a performance he can build on after a drop in form in recent weeks.

Andrea Dossena - 6

Just about everybody of a red and white persuasion had their concerns about Dossena's selection tonight, but he looked more comfortable in the left wing back role than he does as an orthodox full back. Got forward well, though his delivery let him down on occasion. Then there were still the odd "classic Dossena" moments where Liverpool had the ball on the right side of the box and the bearded Italian was nowhere to be seen.

Lee Cattermole - 6

So so unlucky not to open his Sunderland goalscoring account with a shot that hit the underside of the bar. That would've brought his team back into a little earlier and given the way we finished the match, had that occurred, who knows, we could be sat talking about a well earned draw here. Just not to be. Aside from that, it was the things you expect from Cattermole, standing firm as he did in defensive midfield, whilst also misplacing one or two passes in crucial areas; it was his stray ball that led to the free kick for the first goal. Despite that, he never let his head drop and drove the midfield on. Just a shame he lacks a bit of composure at times.

Liam Bridcutt - 7

Offered tenacity and quality on the ball, whilst up against some top class opposition. Sprayed the ball around well and kept things ticking over at the solid base of the midfield. Less wasteful than Cattermole and safer with the ball in crucial areas of the pitch. He's settled into the side and the division nicely.

Emanuele Giaccherini - 3

One moment of quality aside - not long before he was hauled off - this was a typical Giaccherini performance; peripheral. In a role that he would relinquish to Ki Sung-Yueng, the Korean's impact would only serve to highlight just how poor the Italian international's contribution had been. Struggling to see what he can offer in the run in if this is anything to go by and frankly it was no different to the majority of his showings in a red and white shirt.

Connor Wickham - 5

Not sure what to make of Wickham really. At times on the fringes of the game - not much of a surprise given how defensive Sunderland were while he was on the pitch - at others involved to half decent effect. A couple of useful flick ons and a well worked deflected effort at goal summed up his night. Interesting that Sunderland were a better side when he went off, however, though it would be unfair to level much of the blame for that at his feet. Would have been interesting to see how could have done when Sunderland  went for it, but Poyet evidently felt Altidore had more to offer for the remainder of the game.

Jozy Altidore - 6

One of the American's better efforts. He still makes some infuriating mistakes, particularly his tendency to foul in a clumsy manner, but battled the Liverpool defence manfully. Once Johnson and Ki entered the fray, he provided a very decent focal point for the fulcrum of our new found attacking thrust. Still not enough of a goal threat and it's beginning to look like his confidence is so low that he's afraid to even have a shot.

Adam Johnson - 8

Just short of man of the match, but what a difference he made when he came on. Intelligent movement, quality delivery and an injection of pace were much needed and brought us to the brink of an unlikely point at Anfield. The question is, would he have been as effective if he'd started the game? Was being dropped to the bench an incentive to him to up his game? Did he simply offer more because he was fresher than he would've been had he started? Or did Poyet drop the ball by leaving him out? I tend to think it was a good use of substitutes by the Uruguayan, who had to try something new.

Ki Sung-Yueng - 9

More on our man of the match below.

Jack Colback - 6

Not on for long but was tenacious and a threat going forward, winning a free kick that Sunderland could and maybe should have grabbed an equaliser from. Despite the short appearance, it'll have done him the world of good to get last weekend's horror show out of his system.

Man of the Match - Ki Sung-Yueng

Doesn't deserve the accolade just for scoring - though it was a very good diving header, albeit into an empty net - the South Korean midfielder was simply massive for us when he came on. He was everything we needed Giaccherini to be from the start, but had failed to be. Caused plenty of problems with his ability to retain the ball with ease, then pick out the right pass, opening Liverpool up on a number of occasions by finding his team mates' runs. Like Johnson, I think Ki benefited from not starting the game in a sense, it's just a shame that there wasn't quite enough time for him to inspire an equaliser that by the end we had done just about enough to deserve.

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