Gary Rowell: Sunderland’s Liverpool defeat was deflating

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I CAN’T think of a game this season where I felt so flat afterwards as I did after Sunderland’s game against Liverpool on Sunday.

Don’t get me wrong – I’ve felt worse after games.

There have been games that have left me angry, some depressed and one or two have left me on the floor.

But none has left me feeling so completely flat and so deflated as Sunderland’s display at the weekend.

It was a game from which I expected so much, but which, in the end, delivered so little.

And I think therein lies the sense of feeling let down.

Everything seemed set up for this to be an absolute cracker of a match.

We had a sell-out crowd and glamour opposition bringing good support in what was our first home game for five weeks.

Not only did we have players coming back from injury, but we’d been boosted by a draw at Arsenal in our last game.

There was the anticipation of plenty of quality players to enjoy and, hopefully, a high-quality game between two teams sitting close to each other in the table. with both hoping for strong finishes to the season.

Even the weather was perfect for a great afternoon’s football.

But in the end, a game which promised so much to Sunderland supporters delivered nothing at all – it was a damp squib of a game.

And it was an opportunity missed whichever way you look at it – for the players the chance to impress, for the manager to start putting a run together and for the chairman to persuade the big crowds to come back to the Stadium of Light.

And for me it came down to one thing – if you are at home and you don’t have a shot on target until the 86th minute, you don’t deserve to win.

Sunderland didn’t have the rub of the green on the day, but there’s no running away from the fact that they didn’t entertain enough either.

They barely mustered a meaningful attack all game and that, as much as the defeat, was why supporters left with heavy hearts and long faces.

READ the full column in Tuesday’s Echo