SUNDERLAND’s second string saw their derby euphoria banished after a 5-1 hiding at Liverpool.
Keith Bertschin’s side, who triumphed against Newcastle at the Stadium of Light last week, never recovered after a lightning-quick start from a strong Liverpool side on Merseyside yesterday.
Liverpool, who included first-team fringe players Jon Flanagan, Jay Spearing and Sebastian Coates, raced into a three-goal half-time lead before a late brace made the victory even more emphatic after Ryan Noble had pulled back a goal for the Black Cats.
It took Liverpool just two minutes to break the deadlock when Uruguayan centre-half Coates steered home Suso’s cross from close range.
Sunderland had an immediate chance to equalise when Noble, who made his first-team bow for the campaign as a sub against Fulham last weekend, rounded keeper Martin Hansen but couldn’t squeeze his shot home from a tight angle.
But Liverpool doubled their advantage when Spearing picked up a loose ball 25 years out and drilled it into the bottom corner beyond Lewis King.
Spearing grabbed his second on the stroke of half-time when he tucked home the rebound after his initial shot was blocked by King, who then denied Adam Morgan.
Sunderland, who had gone into the game level on points at the top of the Premier League Reserve League (North), responded after the break – Roarie Deacon nodding a tame header into the arms of Hansen and Craig Lynch seeing an effort blocked by Coates.
Bertschin’s men eventually pulled a goal back with eight minutes to go when Lynch was felled by Coates in the area and Noble tucked away his fourth in two games from the penalty spot.
But Liverpool rallied with substitute Nathan Eccleston smashing home a late double – firing in a shot on the turn and then lifting the ball over King in stoppage time.
LIVERPOOL RES: Hansen, Flanagan, Wilson, Wisdom, Coates, Coady, Sterling (Roberts 82), Spearing, Morgan (Eccleston 60), Adorjan (Silva 66), Suso. Subs not used: Stephens, Sama.
SUNDERLAND RES: King, Marrs (Bagnall, 70), Liddle, Laing, Egan, Cook, Lynch, Reed, Elliott (Knott, 46), Deacon (Armstrong, 70), R Noble. Subs Not Used: B Wilson, Mitchell.