Sunderland have the heart: Six things we learned from Liverpool

Victor Anichebe: Another terrific shift. Picture by FRANK REID
Victor Anichebe: Another terrific shift. Picture by FRANK REID
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Bottom of the league again – but surely not for long.

Sunderland may have been derided by the ‘normal one’ Jurgen Klopp for their defensive mentallity.

The 2-0 defeat at Liverpool provided more hope that the Black Cats can escape the bottom three


But the 2-0 defeat at Liverpool provided more hope that the Black Cats can escape the bottom three.

Here are six things we learned from Anfield.

Sunderland have the heart:

It is hard to believe it is the same team which seeped into the grass at the bet365 Stadium last month in a dispiriting 2-0 defeat to Stoke.

They put a ton of men behind the ball and how they frustrated the Reds.

Sunderland had a bit of luck along the way, a ball or five flashed across their six-yard box, but perhaps they earned their luck.

This is the sort of resilience which could keep them up.

Moyes gets the tactics right.

“The most defensive team I have ever played against” reckoned Klopp after seeing his side take 75 minutes to break down the white and blue wall.

All the stats were heavily slanted towards the Reds, including a 78-22 possession percentage, but the final score was just 2-0.

In fact, it should have only been one, but for the fact Sadio Mané was hacked down after being allowed to run the length of the Mersey into the away box to win a last-ditch penalty.

What did the German want? Moyes to play 4-2-4 and allow his title-chasers to play at will?

Saturday was about coming away from Anfield with damage limitation.

Moyes had seen the Reds chalk up 4, 5 and 6 at home and was determined Sunderland did not go the same way. After two wins he knew they could not afford their confidence wrecking..

Mission accomplished.

No daft yellow cards please:

Thankfully after two red cards in theprevious two matches, Sunderland kept the entire XI on the field at Anfield.

But there were a couple of unecessary bookings.

This reporter silently applauded the yellow for John O’Shea. With Liverpool breaking in their numbers from a rare period of Sunderland pressure, the skipper took one for the team by producing a blatant foul in the centre of the pitch.

But Lamine Kone was booked for kicking the ball away, foolishly, and Steven Pienaar for another foul. It’s becoming a trend for the midfielder.

To be fair to both players, it was the only gripe you can have against them, but daft cautions can lead to red cards as Pienaar found out at Bournemouth.

Can anyone else take the offensive free-kicks?

Patrick van Aanholt had a tremendous game, injecting pace and threat to the few Sunderland attacks of note.

However, his delivery at the attacking free-kicks has not always been the sharpest.

Yes, he’s got a good left peg and he’s one of only three players to score for the Black Cats but from a rare chance, a dead ball 25 yards out in the centre of the goal, he could not get the free-kick over the wall.

To be fair, he won the award as Dejan Lovren hauled him down, but it would have been nice to have sen the keeper worked or the goal threatened . What about Jermain Defoe as an option?

Victor Anichebe shows his worth:

There were no goals from big Vic this week but another fine 90-minute instalment from the forward.

This reporter uses the term ‘forward’ loosely.

He and Defoe took turns in filling in down the left channel, protecting van Aanholt.

To their credit, each took great pride in their defensive duties. And when Anichebe was in the opposition territory, he made his mark.

He set up Duncan Watmore for their best chance of the day, had a shot blocked.

And, just seconds before Divock Origi gave Liverpool the lead, Vic was a midge’s fingernail away from threading Watmore clear.

Great to see O’Shea back:

This reporter wondered whether Jason Denayer may slot into the void left by the suspended Papy Djilobodji.

No disrespect to O’Shea, but his legs are not as quick as they used to be and against the tricky and quick Reds attacking formation, would JOS be a risk?

Certainly not.

O’Shea played and played well, his head and heart proving effective tools. A captain’s innings from the Irishman.