Rowell Report: Sunderland showed fight at Liverpool but why not in the vital clash at Norwich?

Ex-Sunderland footballer Gary Rowell
Ex-Sunderland footballer Gary Rowell
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LAST week’s game against Liverpool went to form but the scoreline was a lot closer than many people thought it would be.

Over the 90 minutes, Liverpool were the better team and deserved to win but it was the Liverpool fans who were willing the ref to blow his whistle to end the game in the closing stages.

Gus Poyet made his intentions clear, playing five at the back protected by two holding midfielders, in a line-up designed to frustrate the division’s top scorers.

It was almost like Sunderland were looking at damage limitation right from the start.

Up to a degree, it worked, because Vito Mannone didn’t have too much to do in the first-half, even though Liverpool dominated possession and the goal they did get, came from a set-piece.

When Liverpool went two goals up, I think most people though it was game over and just a matter of how many Liverpool would score. But there was to be a twist at the end.

The double substitution which brought Adam Johnson and Ki Sung-Yueng on to the pitch, galvanised Sunderland and they produced their best form of the game in the last 25 minutes.

In that period, Lee Cattermole hit the bar, Ki scored and John O’Shea missed a great opportunity, which might have won an unlikely point.

I saw the Liverpool game as a vast improvement on the previous away game at Norwich, at least there was some resolve and certainly a better attitude.

But it begs the question of why those qualities were missing at Carrow Road.