Analysis: Sunderland must bury Burnley shambles before Liverpool clash

Vito Mannone, Seb Larsson and Donald Love  walk off Turf Moor at full-time. Picture by FRANK REID
Vito Mannone, Seb Larsson and Donald Love walk off Turf Moor at full-time. Picture by FRANK REID
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Sunderland must draw a line under the 4-1 spanking at Burnley ... and fast. Very fast.

For those who wasted time and money to go to Turf Moor you must forgive this reporter.

But if the Black Cats are to have any chance of turning a diabolical defeat into an unlikely result against Liverpool, Sunderland must forget about Turf Moor.

It may be hard to forgive being taken to the cleaners by a fellow relegation team, but the fans have to do that too.

David Moyes’s side have reached the halfway mark still in the bottom three and still two points below the safety line.

They have taken 14 points from those 19 matches and they are going to have to double that points tally from the final 19 if they are to reach the magical figure of 40.

Getting one or three points against the Reds on Bank Holiday Monday would be an amazing start.

Naturally if they repeat the performance from Saturday, it will be a humiliation.

However, Saturday has to be put down as one of those horrible afternoons when anything and everything that could go wrong did.

Lamine Kone’s injury midway through the first half left the side vulnerable and it was weakened still further by Victor Anichebe’s exit in stoppage time when the score line was only 1-0.

Kone, for all his early-season wobble, is Sunderland’s best centre-half and Anichebe is the team’s inspirational figure.

Without them, the Black Cats sank without trace, Andre Gray taking full advantage of some generous defending to help himself to a hat-trick with Ashley Barnes adding the fourth from the spot when Seb Larsson decided to charge into the back of Scott Arfield in front of the referee.

The only crumb of comfort to Moyes and the fans who did not walk out when it reached four was the return to the scoresheet for Jermain Defoe after four blank days.

Adnan Januzaj was the creator, hurdling three challengers Claudio Cannigia Italia 90-style, before crossing for Defoe to supply the finish.

With Anichebe facing a possible lengthy absence, it is time for Januzaj to step up to the plate and supply not just chance, but also to stick some away.

He had one chance early on which he skied over the bar, so he will need to contribute.

So too Fabio Borini who had a decent opportunity blocked also in the first half before everything unravelled.

Neither chance is probably what you would describe as clear-cut, but how vital is it to get that first goal on the scoreboard.

Burnley did and never really looked back and the worst thing about this match, the injuries aside, is that Sean Dyche’s side can now almost touch safety.

The Clarets are nine points above Sunderland and it is hard to see how they can overcome that gap, though, of course, they overhauled Norwich’s eight-point lead from this time last year.

Moyes will be relying on Swansea and Hull staying where they are - below them - and hope they can find one worse side over the next five months.

It is hard to see Crystal Palace hanging around where they are, or Leicester.

That leaves only neighbours Middlesbrough or the outside chance a side from mid-table suffer a drastic loss of form. Also unlikely.

One certainty is that Sunderland must pull off a signing or two.

With the injury crisis deepening and the African Cup of Nations taking three players from the squad, Moyes is down to the bare bones.

That must be addressed but, before anything, they must draw a line under Burnley.

They can afford no hangovers against Jurgen Klopp and Liverpool.