A Christian Benteke goal 22-seconds after the break saw Liverpool claim all three points at the Stadium of Light.
It was Sunderland's fifth defeat in a row to leave them deep in relegation trouble. Who scooped the man of the match award though?
Richard Mennear gives his ratings here:
Vito Mannone: 7. MOM Made an excellent save to deny Firmino in the first half, the slightest touch deflected effort onto post. Palmed another effort away later on. Much improved.
Billy Jones: 5. Had a tough evening against Coutinho & Co but coped okay. Occasional breaks forward came to nothing though.
Wes Brown: 5. Surprising the Liverpool forwards didn't target him more. Kept things simple at the back for Sunderland. Caught flat-footed for the goal.
Sebatian Coates: 5. Too many mistakes still, loose balls and silly free-kicks. Went off injured. A concern.
Patrick van Aanholt: 5.. Linked up well with Borini in the first half, the Italian shooting just wide with one effort. Poor aside from that and caught out defensively.
Lee Cattermole (C): 7. Big plus for Sunderland to have Cattermole back in. Some crunching tackles early on, setting the early tempo. Jaded as the game wore on.
Yann M'Vila: 6. Didn't dominate as he usually does, Cattermole overshadowing him in the centre.
Jack Rodwell: 5. Subbed after just 28 minutes of the first half. Went down injured and looked forlorn walking off. He just cannot get his Sunderland career going.
Adam Johnson: 6. Looked bright in the middle, poor free-kick high over the bar first half though. Subbed.
Fabio Borini: 6. Linked up well with Defoe early on. Flashed one shot wide of the post first half, another effort into midrift of Mignolet.
Jermain Defoe: 5. Worked himself a great opportunity in the opening minutes, his shot was straight at Mignolet though. Did little after that though.
Duncan Watmore (for Rodwell, 28): 6 Made an instant impact with his workrate. Johnson moved into the centre. Faded after that but improved late on.
Jeremain Lens (for Johnson, 62): 5. Came on with half an hour to go. Made little impact on the game. Booked late on, could have been a red.
DeAndre Yedlin (for Coates, 72): 5. Tough time as Liverpool pressed for second.
Subs Not Used: Pantilimon, Beadling, Toivonen, Graham.
Booked: Lens (86, foul)
Simon Mignolet: 6
Nathaniel Clyne: 7
Dejan Lovren: 6
Mamadou Sakho: 6
Alberto Moreno: 6
Emre Can: 7
Adam Lallana: 7
Jordan Henderson (C): 7
Philippe Coutinho: 7
Roberto Firmino: 8
Christian Benteke: 7
Lucas Leiva (for Henderson, 59): 6
Jordan Ibe (for Coutinho, 83): 5.
Kolo Toure (for Firmino, 93): n/a
Subs Not Used: Bogdan, Smith, Teixeira, Randall.
Booked: Benteke (20, unsporting behaviour), Can, (57, foul), Moreno (77, foul)
Goals: Benteke (46)
Referee: Kevin Friend (Leicester) Seemed reluctant to give Sunderland any free-kicks and intercepted a Cattermole pass...5/10)