Richard Mennear's analysis: Liverpool defeat tough to take but Sunderland can take positives from Anfield display

Victor Anichebe and John O'Shea

Victor Anichebe and John O'Shea

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Take one look at the match stats and it looked like a bruising afternoon for Sunderland.

Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool side had 78 per cent of the possession and fired in 27 attempts at goal (only seven were on target, mind) on their way to a 2-0 victory at Anfield.

Jordan Pickford flying through the air at Anfield

Jordan Pickford flying through the air at Anfield

But that only tells part of the story.

The Sunderland team put in a real shift, they were well organised and defended doggedly, with Liverpool frustrated in their attempts to break them down.

It took until the 75th minute for the Sunderland defence to be finally broken. And even then it had a touch of fortune about it.

Divock Origi's goal was a fine finish, curling into the corner of the net. It caught the Sunderland defence out, with the forward shaping to cross the ball rather than shoot.

Did he mean it? Probably, but it was tough on Sunderland who up to that point had defended really well.

Lamine Kone was much-improved at centre-back, with skipper John O'Shea organising at the back and Jason Denayer excellent in the holding midfield role.

David Moyes' tactics were spot on, with the team defending as a unit.

Denayer man marking Philippe Coutinho out of the game until his early exit on a stretcher.

Jermain Defoe led the line, with Duncan Watmore and Victor Anichebe deployed out wide, both tracking back to act as additional full-backs.

It was working and frustrating Liverpool. They just couldn't hold out and ultimately Liverpool's extra quality proved enough.

Klopp wasn't best pleased with Sunderland's defensive approach but if the Black Cats had opened the game up, then they could have been on the receiving end of a heavy defeat similar

to the ones dished out to Hull City and Watford at Anfield this season.

Defeat was tough on Sunderland but there have been real signs of progress in the past few weeks.

Moyes' message on the training ground is getting across to the players.

Sunderland return to the foot of the Premier League but there remains plenty of fight in this side.