Liverpool - Daniel Sturridge has scored his 20th goal of the campaign as Liverpool
kept the pressure on their Premier League title rivals with a 2-1 home
win over Sunderland on Wednesday.
The England striker netted
Liverpool's second goal of the game at Anfield three minutes into the
second half after captain Steven Gerrard had given the hosts a
39th-minute lead with a fine free-kick.
Sturridge's goal meant
that he and Luis Suarez have now both scored 20 league goals this season
-- the first time two Liverpool strikers have achieved that feat since
Ian St John and Roger Hunt in the 1963-64 campaign.
pulled a goal back through South Korean midfielder Ki Sung-yueng to
ensure a tense finale, but Liverpool held their nerve to record a
seventh successive league win.
The victory enabled the Reds to
regain second spot in the table, a point behind leaders Chelsea,
although Manchester City -- two points back in third place -- have two
games in hand on the teams above them.
Liverpool manager Brendan
Rodgers named an unchanged starting line-up from his side's 6-3 victory
at Cardiff City, while Sunderland counterpart Gus Poyet made five
changes to the team beaten 2-0 at Norwich City.
centre-backs in a 5-3-2 system, the visitors' intentions were clear as
they packed men into the middle of the pitch, restricting Liverpool to
efforts from distance in the opening stages.
Striker Luis Suarez
curled an early free-kick from a dangerous position over the crossbar,
but the Black Cats kept their shape and organisation to reach the
half-hour mark without their ranks being breached.
midfielder Lee Cattermole, snapping at the heels of anything in a red
shirt, was particularly impressive, shielding the defence as the
visitors held Liverpool at bay.
equalled Robbie Fowler's Premier League record of 28 goals in a season
for the club against Cardiff on Saturday, Suarez looked a likely source
for the breakthrough.
And after threatening with a shot after a jinking run, the striker won the free kick that yielded Liverpool's opening goal.
Uruguay international was brought down by Santiago Vergini as he headed
towards goal, with the Sunderland centre-back fortunate to escape with
just a yellow card.
Gerrard stepped up from just outside the
18-yard box and fiercely bent the ball into the top-right corner of the
net, past the despairing dive of goalkeeper Vito Mannone.
registered their first meaningful effort on goal just before half-time
when a deflected Connor Wickham shot forced Liverpool goalkeeper Simon
Mignolet to scramble across goal and push the ball past the post.
the momentum was all Liverpool's and they doubled their lead three
minutes into the second half with a goal from Sturridge, who curled the
ball into the top left corner from the edge of the area, via a
deflection off Wes Brown's knee.
Sunderland, fighting for their
lives at the bottom of the table, showed plenty of heart and the
impressive Cattermole rattled the crossbar with a swerving shot in the
Moments later Sturridge did the same for the hosts at
the other end, but it was Sunderland who pulled a goal back with 14
minutes left to leave Anfield sweating.
Adam Johnson's corner was
allowed to bounce inside the box and fellow substitute Ki bundled the
ball into the net with a stooping header.
The nervous tension that
had Anfield on edge in the opening half hour returned, and the ground
held its collective breath when Sunderland captain John O'Shea got on
the end of a late corner, only to flick the ball wide.