It was honours even at Anfield yesterday as Liverpool couldn't make the most of a powerful first half performance to start the 2011/12 season with a three League points and a win.
Liverpool started the game in blistering fashion and their best early chance came in only the sixth minute as Luis Suarez intercepted a Keiran Richardson pass near the half way and he raced towards goal, rounded the goalkeeper and was brought down by Richardson. Referee Phil Dowd awarded Liverpool a penalty and yellow carded Richardson for the foul when he could easily have shown him a red card. Suarez himself stepped up for the spot kick but blasted the ball over the bar to the delight of the vocal travelling fans.
Despite the miss, Liverpool continued to dominate and in the twelfth minute Liverpool débutante Charlie Adam delivered a wicked low free kick from the right and Suarez scored with a glanced header. Adam was the pick of the new Liverpool signings and he looked confident and assured in the centre of midfield. Other débutantes Stewart Downing and Jose Enrique both settled into their new club with ease, Downing in particular looking dangerous from the wing, and he could have doubled Liverpool's lead in the 34th minute cutting in and beating several players, before blasting a shot against the bar. Liverpool's other new signing Jordan Henderson started on the right of midfield but struggled to make an impact and was replaced in the 60th minute by Dirk Kuyt.
After a poor first half, Sunderland manager Steve Bruce will have challenged his team to do better in the second half and they were much improved after the break and both teams looked more evenly matched. Sunderland's goal came in the 57th minute as Elmohamady crossed from the right and the ball fell to new Sunderland signing Sebastian Larsson who powered a stunning volley past Pepe Reina in the Liverpool goal to bring the scores level.
Whilst the scoring was over, the excitement wasn't, and both teams pressed for the winner until the final whistle.
Sunderland manager Steve Bruce will be more happy with the result, but both managers will be pleased with the way some of their new signings performed.
Liverpool – Suarez 12
Sunderland – Larsson 57
Liverpool – Carragher, Henderson, Adam, KuytSunderland – Bardsley, Richardson, Cattermole, Larsson
Other Results & Fixtures
Blackburn Rovers 1 v Wolverhampton Wanderers 2Fulham 0 v Aston Villa 0
QPR 0 v Bolton Wanderers 4
Wigan Athletic 1 v Norwich City 1
Newcastle United 0 v Arsenal 0
Tottenham Hotspur v Everton (OFF)
Stoke City v Chelsea (13:30)West Bromwich Albion v Manchester United (16:00)
Manchester City v Swansea (20:00)