After the beach ball debacle during our first meeting with Liverpool earlier in the 2009/2010 season, Fernando Torres’ double ensured that there could be no room for controversy when Sunderland visited Anfield in March 2010.
Darren Bent’s solitary goal at the Stadium of Light had sent shockwaves through the football world thanks to its sheer ridiculousness, and the fact that referee Mike Jones allowed it to stand.
It was the main talking point during the buildup to this game and it seemed that Liverpool were determined to prove a point by putting in one of their most dominant displays of the season.
After a dreadful January and February, Sunderland’s form (along with our injury list) had improved tenfold in the month of March.
We went into this game on a five-game unbeaten run that had included three wins, but the Lads were completely overpowered by a Torres-inspired Reds performance.
After early Liverpool pressure, the Spaniard opened the scoring with a spectacular strike in only the third minute, cutting inside Michael Turner and curling a strike into the top corner.
The Spaniard’s shot was so perfectly placed that it left goalkeeper Craig Gordon scrambling and it showed why he was one of the best strikers in the league at this time.
Questions could also have been asked of Phil Bardsley, who completely mistimed the long punt from Pepe Reina which gave Torres the opportunity to fire in the shot from Bardsley’s side of the pitch.
Nevertheless, we had no answer to Liverpool and Kieran Richardson, who was filling in at left back, was unable to cope with the driving runs and link up play from Steven Gerrard and Maxi Rodriguez.
Javier Mascherano had already gone close with two strikes from distance before the understanding down the right flank really kicked into gear, and had it not been for Gordon, we should’ve been three goals down before half an hour had elapsed.
Just after the half hour mark it was 2-0, thanks to another good Liverpool goal coupled with some shoddy Sunderland defending.
Glen Johnson’s smart touch brought him inside Steed Malbranque before he let rip from twenty five yards with a strike that Gordon could do nothing about.
In fairness to the home side, they deserved this and more, such was their dominance during the first half. We simply couldn’t get a kick and it took until after half time before we registered a shot, with future Kop star Jordan Henderson sending a strike over the bar.
Our resistance was firmly ended on the hour mark when Johnson claimed the assist for Torres to score his second, and what a good finish it was.
Johnson looked certain to shoot as the ball sat up for him on the edge of the box, but he instead rolled a pass into the path of Torres, who calmly hooked it past a helpless Gordon and into an empty net.
From this point on, it was simply a matter of keeping the score down.
Former Liverpool midfielder Bolo Zenden almost grabbed a consolation, with his shot being the only one that Reina had to save all day, summarising the sheer dominance from Benitez’s men.
After the game, Bruce held his hands up and conceded that his team were simply outplayed.
“Sometimes you just have to hold your hands up and say you were beaten by a far better team.”
“They got off to a wonderful start and when Torres and Gerrard are in the mood then it becomes very difficult.”
“It’s a wonder goal from Torres. We all know he’s a class act when he plays like that. He is a fantastic centre-forward and it was his day today.”
Sunday, 28th March 2010
Liverpool 3-0 Sunderland
Torres 3’, 60’, Johnson 32’
Liverpool: Reina, Johnson, Agger; Insua, Carragher, Gerrard (El Zhar 81’); Maxi, Mascherano, Torres (Ngog 90’); Kuyt (Aquilani ‘71), Babel
Sunderland: Gordon, Bardsley; Turner, Ferdinand, Malbranque (Jones 51’); Richardson, Henderson (Zenden 78’), Cana; Cattermole (Da Silva 46’), Campbell, Bent