The Reds travelled to the Stadium of Light looking to turn their season again after going out of Europe on Thursday night. They put in a great hard working performance and took all three points with a two nil win.
The Reds took to the pitch in their Black third strip to play a side who hadn't scored for ages and hadn't won at home since New Years day. Luis Suarez returned to the Reds starting line up and he partnered Carrol up front whilst Agger came back in to the side after injury at the expense of Danny Wilson.
It was an open start to the game with Sunderland having a bit more of the possession probably without troubling Reina. That said the Reds weren't looking quite right as a unit moving forwards.
On sixteen minutes the home side went really close when they attacked down their left and sent a great ball across the area which beat Reina and Johnson but thankfully also their man in the middle.
Suarez managed to nip in and win the ball to attack for the Reds. He linked up with Carroll but with the return ball on it wasn't played and when Spearing managed to get tackled the chance went and Suarez was left to berate Carroll for the lack of a return.
Sunderland were forced in to a sub at this point as well with Muntari down injured from their last attack and Cattermole was sent on in his place.
On twenty minutes there was a big mix up in the Sunderland box as none of them seemed to want to take control including the keeper who fumbled it to Suarez but he was snuffed out as he tried to make something and they managed to clear the corner that came in. From that corner Richardson went down injured and he was straight off the pitch so Malbranque was sent on in his place.
On thirty one minutes the Reds won a penalty kick when Spearing raced to the area when Mensah mis-controlled the ball and was brought down. It was hard to tell exactly where he was brought down and the ref gave a free kick to begin with but the Reds all rightly pointed to the linesman who had his flag across the chest to indicate the spot kick. The ref changed his mind and Dirk Kuyt stepped up to take the kick which he slotted home sending the keeper the wrong way.
Sunderland were fuming but who cares we were one up and we built from this. On thirty seven minutes Suarez forced a good save from their keeper after Spearing had played the ball through the middle.
On forty two minutes the Reds really should have been going two up when Meireles found Carroll from a corner kick. Carroll was unmarked it seemed but he couldn't direct his header on target.
On forty four minutes Sunderland sub Cattermole was booked for very little to be honest. It went in our favour and Suarez went down after trying to release Carroll but it was one of those follow through fouls that looks far worse than they seem.
After three extra minutes of time the ref blew for half time. Neither side made changes at half time so the Reds started the second half attacking the end where the Reds fans were congregated.
Five minutes in to the second half and the hard work of Suarez won a corner for the Reds. Meireles whipped it to the back post and Carroll headed it on target only for Cattermole to clear it off the line.
On fifty three minutes the ref again had huge controversy surrounding him again. Andy Carroll was sent though on goal by Meireles but as he reached the area he was brought down by Bramble. The ball fell to Meireles and with no free kick given he shot but blazed it well over the bar but to his relief the ref pulled the game back for the foul which I have to say I was surprised at. Bramble got booked for his part and then saw Suarez shoot just wide of the target.
The Reds were really in the ascendancy now and Sunderland looked all over the place. Henderson picked up a booking for persistent crying to the ref.
Sunderland made their final sub on the hour mark when Elmohamdy replaced Welbeck who walked off to the surprise of Steve Bruce. I think they wanted a different switch by the way he stood there confused.
Luis Suarez picked up a booking on sixty seven minutes when he berated the lino when he gave a free kick against him. A minute later and it was Kuyt who was booked when he caught Bardsley as he cleared the ball. Like the Cattermole booking in the first half this wasn't a booking wither but they are dished out to cheaply these days.
The Reds were warming Ngog up now and it was Carroll who was subbed for him. He was the obvious subs having only just come in from injury and he probably played longer than planned on Thursday as well.
On seventy three minutes Spearing forced a great save from the keeper when he hit a shot to the top corner.
On seventy five minutes the home side were shouting for a penalty when Gyan went down close to Agger but the ref and lino both gave the goal kick which further annoyed the home fans.
On seventy six minutes there was a stunning second goal from the Reds and it was Suarez who got it. Kuyt played the ball to Suarez in the right corner and the Uruguayan danced his beyond Cattermole on the line and as he got in to the area just a yard in from the goal line he swerved a shot past Mignolet at his post. A simply stunning effort and so deserved for the man.
It all kicked off on eighty minutes when Gyan fell over again up front and him and Skrtel certainly had a few words. The ref managed to gradually calm things down though.
On eighty one minutes the home side were reduced to ten men when Mensah was shown a straight Red card for taking down Suarez who was chasing a hopeful ball over the top. The ref never gave it to begin with and I thought it was just a coming together but the lino had his flag up and from that point the ref had no choice but to send him off. Suarez fired the free kick over the bar.
The Reds made their second switch on eighty four minutes when Maxi replaced Meireles.
Jose Reina was finally forced to make a save on eighty five minutes when Cattermole fired one to the top corner.
On eighty eight minutes the Reds were forced in to a final switch when Joe Cole replaced the injured Suarez who went off clutching his groin.
The Reds played out the four added minutes with some ease and the three points were all for the Reds to take home. This was a fully deserved overall and after the beach ball last time around this felt so much better. I don't know why but I really don't like Sunderland much so this felt so good.
MotM: Luis Suarez - he worked so hard up front all afternoon and never stands still and his goal was stunning. He was pushed hard by Jay Spearing who I thought had a great game in midfield.