How Adnan Januzaj's commitment to the Sunderland cause surprised Match of the Day pundit

Sunderland's new look strike force earned high praise for their part in securing a precious point against Liverpool.

Tuesday, 3rd January 2017, 10:22 am
Updated Wednesday, 11th January 2017, 3:09 am
Jermain Defoe.

Victor Anichebe's hamstring injury, picked up in the first half at Turf Moor, forced David Moyes to go back to the drawing board for his team selection on Monday afternoon.

The Scot threw Adnan Januzaj up top alongside Jermain Defoe and the Belgian delivered with a committed and enterprising display.

Former Sunderland winger Kevin Kilbane was a pundit on Match of the Day and said the pair were crucial to preventing the host's 4-4-2 from being overwhelmed by Liverpool's vibrant attack.

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Kilbane said: "You wouldn't necessarily associate Jermain Defoe and Adnan Januzaj with work-rate but they certainly worked extremely hard, the hold-up play from Januzaj was excellent at times."

It was Januzaj's flick that forced Sunderland's first penalty as Didier N'Dong was fouled in the box, and it was his through ball that almost led to Defoe making it 2-1 just minutes later.

Kilbane said: "They showed the ability to bring each other into the game, Januzaj played some wonderfully weighted passes and Defoe showed his cleverness in seeing his team-mate was offside and taking control of the situation. He should have scored, of course."

Januzaj showed a number of smart touches throughout the game as he linked up with Defoe and Fabio Borini, who Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp singled out for praise as he applauded Sunderland's transition from defence to attack.

Kilbane said: "Without the ball, Liverpool dominated possession, Defoe said in his post-match press conference that David Moyes was looking for a reaction and I think these two brought so much.

"They allowed the team to get up to the pitch through their work-rate and ability to hold the ball up. That was the thing that really stood out for me, particularly Januzaj,who never switched off and forced Liverpool back. He had the ability to take four or five touches and allow the players to get up with him, He certainly deserved his pat on the back [when subbed off]."