Luis Suarez missed a penalty, as well as scoring the opener as Sebastian Larsson rescued a 1-1 draw for Sunderland away at Liverpool.
Liverpool: Reina, Flanagan, Carragher, Agger, Enrique, Lucas, Adam, Henderson (Kuyt 61 min), Suarez (Meireles 75 min), Downing, Carroll.
Sunderland: Mignolet, Bardsley, Brown, Ferdinand, Richardson, Larsson (Vaughan 80 min), Cattermole, Colback, Elmohamady, Sessegnon, Gyan (Dong 65 min).
Liverpool began the match like a house on fire and boasted four new signings in the starting line-up. It took just five minutes for the first real action of the game when the hosts were awarded a penalty after Suarez was brought down in the area by Kieran Richardson. Referee Phil Dowd showed the Sunderland left-back the yellow card but Suarez blasted the penalty over the bar.
Suarez was not to be denied however and when Adam whipped in a low cross to the near post, the Uruguayan flicked the ball into an empty net to send Liverpool ahead after 12 minutes. Carroll thought he had opened his account minutes later when he chested down an Adam cross before smashing home but the goal was chalked off for a foul on Ferdinand. Liverpool continued to put the pressure on and Downing smashed the cross-bar with a fine strike after 30 minutes. For all the home side’s domination, they began to lose their way as half-time approached and Sunderland entered the break with new found confidence.
The away side began the second period well and should have equalised after 53 minutes when Larsson found the head of Gyan, but his header was tame and straight at the Liverpool keeper. Sunderland continued to put the pressure on and had their reward after 57 minutes when Larsson levelled the match at 1-1. Elmohamady hung a deep cross to the far post and Larsson dispatched a superb volley which whistled past Reina. The goal drove Sunderland on and they might have won it with various half-chances late into the second-half.
Liverpool did muster up a few chances in the latter stages but Carroll was off-target on more than one occasion. Perhaps the most pleasing aspect of the game for Sunderland boss Steve Bruce was the performance of Wes Brown at the heart of his defence. The match ended with a share of the spoils and with Liverpool wandering what might have been.