Jurgen Klopp branded Sunderland "the most defensive team" he has ever played against after Liverpool's 2-0 win at Anfield.
After losing pole position in the Premier League with last week's goalless draw at Southampton, today's second top v second bottom match appeared to be going the same way.
But Liverpool clinched the points through sub Divock Origi's 75th-minute goals and James Milner's penalty in injury time.
The Reds had been frustrated either by Jordan Pickford's keeping or poor finishing, not to mention Sunderland's determined resistance.
Black Cats boss David Moyes made no apology for their defensive outlook - he even deployed Jason Denayer to man-mark Philippe Coutinho, though the Brazilian was stretchered off 10 minutes befor the interval with an ankle injury.
"I didn't think about Southampton for a second today," said Klopp when asked whether he felt a repeat of St Mary's stalemate was on the cards.
"No, today was much more defensive.
" I don't think I have ever played against a more defensive team, man-marking against Coutinho and (Victor) Anichebe left full-back.
"It is a nice thing to learn that we are able to beat even the most defensive team I ever played against."
Klopp said he was hopeful Coutinho's injury would not be as serious as it looked.
"We have to wait for the scan. What we know it is something with the ankle," said Klopp.
"He had pain. Pain gets better. In the first moment it was very painful but at half-time he said it was better."