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Liverpool 2-0 Sunderland: Player Ratings & MOTM Poll

A robust defensive display by Sunderland comes to nothing but the team show real signs of improvement. Here's how the lads played - make sure you vote for your man of the match in the poll below!

Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Jordan Pickford - 8

Superb distribution on the break to Watmore, Defoe and Anichebe. Continues to go from strength to strength, couldn't be faulted for the goals.

Billy Jones - 7

Did a job against Coutinho and Millner in the first half and is growing into a decent right back. Works well with the back four as a unit. No chance to get forward today.

John O Shea - 8

His sort of game as the ball just kept coming back, showed his experience in tight situations and seems to have dropped the man-handling which always threatened the whistle. A good game from him.

Lamine Kone - 5

Attitude still wrong, just doesn't look bothered. Did what he had to do but frustrating when we've seen him do so much more. No hurry to get back after forays up field particularly galling. Pity we can't afford an extended period in the reserves for him.

Patrick van Aanholt - 5

Didn't look so vulnerable defensively as he had support from Pienaar, Denayer and Anichebe, but too often his breaks forward resulted in a poor pass or bad choice of final ball. Could and should be doing better.

Didier Ndong - 7

Lively, covered the ground well again and seemed more keen to press in midfield. Good covering back to help out Jones, but decision-making on the ball could be better. Would benefit from taking his time in possession instead of just playing the obvious pass every time, but heading in the right direction. Gave away the penalty but had to get across when Denayer lost it in midfield.

Jason Denayer - 7

Another good performance, man marked Coutinho till his exit, covered both sides of midfield and got forward when the opportunity arose. Good blocking in front of the back four and energetic, but is he a playmaker? Nevertheless, definitely suits this position far more that right/left back. Wouldn't complain if he was in the stocking this Christmas.

Duncan Watmore - 6

Lot of effort as always, but in a game where strikers are going to see very little of the ball, your first touch has to be a lot better than this. Could / should have buried his chance. His defensive duties contributed to the good overall performance, but is he going to improve? We need better in his position, and if it's not going to be him, then we need a replacement.

Steven Pienaar - 5

Started ok, covering van Aanholt, pressing in midfield and comfortable getting forward, but the pace of the game and lack of Sunderland possession meant he should have come off earlier. Can't have a luxury player in a game where the opposition have 80% possession.

Jermain Defoe - 7

Sharp and lively, some good touches but was never going to be his type of game. Definitely stands more chance with Anichebe playing off him, but the chances, few as they were didn't fall his way today.

Victor Anichebe - 8

Another good performance - did his job well, held the ball up despite a lot of attention, supported his defence, acted as target for Pickford. Was unlucky with some of the decisions either not going his way or going against him, but seeing him in the left back position again and again summed up the performance this afternoon. For consistency and effort would give him Man of the Match again, just over Pickford.

Lynden Gooch (sub) - 5

Coming on at eighty minutes was too late to have an impact.

Adnan Januzaj (sub) - 5

As above, though in his case, perhaps not defensively minded enough to come on earlier and make a difference.