David Moyes hopes to one day be able to play Liverpool at their own open game, but for now he admits he doesn’t have the team to play that way.
Jurgen Klopp was critical of Sunderland’s approach, with the German branding the Black Cats the most defensive team he has ever managed against.
But Moyes says Sunderland had no other option than to shut up shop against the league’s top scorers for fear of being on the end of a similar result to Watford or Hull City.
Liverpool had put five past Hull and six past Watford at Anfield this season and Moyes made no apology for his side’s approach.
Klopp’s side enjoyed almost 80 per cent of the possession, but Sunderland were well-drilled defensively, well-organised and produced a determined, resilient display.
John O’Shea and Lamine Kone stood out at the back, with Jason Denayer doing another excellent job in the holding midfield role.
Liverpool’s quality eventually shone through ,but it took until 15 minutes from the end before sub Divock Origi curled home the opener from a tight angle.
Moyes defended Sunderland’s gameplan and likened the game to some of the performances at this summer’s Euro 2016 Championships.
“Yeah, well sometimes I think maybe if I was a foreign coach I’d get praise for that,” said Moyes, in response to Klopp’s comments.
“We had to come here, we don’t have the same quality as Liverpool and I knew that we’d have to come and defend.
“They won here 6-1 the other week against Watford, so we didn’t want to come and get rolled over that easily.
“To be fair, I watched all the games at the Euros all summer and I saw a tournament which was like that, a tournament of big teams having to play against teams which shut up shop, made it difficult to get through.
“It’s a big part of modern football now. It can’t all be one way.
“I hope soon that I’ll come with a team that can give Liverpool an open game, but, at the moment, I don’t have that team to come and do that.”
Jordan Pickford’s goal was peppered with 27 attempts, but only seven were on target, with the 22-year-old comfortably saving from Georginio Wijnaldum, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino, with Emre Can twice heading wide and sending a half-volley wide too.
For all Liverpool’s dominance, Moyes didn’t believe Pickford was overworked, with the Sunderland boss keen to praise his defenders for their efforts in containing Klopp’s side.
He added: “I thought Jordan got a couple of really good crosses, but I wouldn’t have said he was pulling off an awful lot of full-on saves.
“They missed a few chances. But that’s part of the job.
“The goalie didn’t have an awful lot to do.
“There was a lot going on around him, but I’ve got to praise the defenders for their blocking and making sure they headed things clear and scrapping at the right time.”
Liverpool went top of the Premier League on Saturday teatime before Chelsea’s win over Tottenham dropped them back down to second.
The division’s top scorers with 32 goals, Liverpool are serious title contenders and Moyes expects the hard-working Reds to be up there challenging all season.
Moyes said: “I do believe that because I used to have really hard-working teams at Everton. Now Liverpool are a really hard-working team.
“As well as having quality players, I think they’re a hard-working team, they’ve got a good style about how they do it, good attackers.
“It’s a strong team and one which will challenge for the Premier League.”