Eyewitness Report: Liverpool 3 - Sunderland 0

Posted by Harinder on January 3, 2013, 04:08:15 PM

Hello and welcome to 2013

For those who've strayed from Ready to Go a hearty welcome to you too. These reports are done by match goers and contrary to your belief, most of RAWK is not from outside this fair nation. We live here in the UK and are proud of our international reach both as a club and as a forum.

I think secretly you are too. Invest in Africa - it isn't a mistake is it?

Is it? :-) You oil barons you  ;D

Banter aside I'll take this opportunity to thank RTG for their support in the Anne Williams petition. From all the boards I went to they were easily the strongest supporting. Just take a look here. One of the most supportive MP's during the campaigning in the last 2 months is Dave Anderson MP. Also a Mackem, he and his friend (a scouser and Liverpool fan) experienced crushing at Hillsborough some 21 years prior and it never left them. Something like that never does  :(


Right. On with the match. The first time I ever saw Liverpool play Sunderland was in 2005 and it was our first home game. Mick McCarthy was in charge of the Black Cats and we had Rafa. There was only one goal in it but it was one of those goals you'd never forget. Like some others I've seen Liverpool score a few goals over the years but there are those that stick in the memory banks and you know they are going nowhere. A beautiful Xabi Alonso free kick sealed the game in the first half and it was a sweet curling one to boot! The other time was last season's opener which finished 1-1. Referee - Phil Dowd.

Well it turned out yesterday we had a few things to celebrate even before the match began. I just didn't know about it. My routines for driving up are pretty much set in stone. Anfield Wrap podcast first hour of journey and then whatever flavour of month is on my iphone. Yesterday was Swedish House Mafia so my motorway driving consisted of Mike Girling, Rob Gutmann and co followed by some Greyhound and Antidote. Don't you judge me - it beats Talkshite! The first I heard of our completion of signing Daniel Sturridge was when I got to the European Lounge in the Centenary. 5 minutes later it flashes up about Joe Cole. Get in!

As the team news broke they introduced Darren Farley. I'm probably one of the few who had no idea who he was but once his impressions started they were rather funny. What wasn't funny was the Sunderland team news. Adam Johnson. 2 and a half years ago he ruined my holiday when he played for Manchester City and ripped us apart in a 3-0 drubbing. So much for a Dubai break being a place of rest and refreshment prior to starting a new job. I hadn't seen him sparkle this season for Sunderland but he scored their winner against Manchester City a week or so ago so I was hoping he wasn't coming into form for our sake.

Pre-match I noticed a lot of children at Anfield. It's not to say kids don't come just seemed to be a lot more last night in line with the Christmas holidays. It's a great feeling inside if you're a parent as it's one of those things that you cannot wait to do. Akin to your very own experience you want it to be filled with the intrigue and magic that folklore makes it out to be. The place your Mum or Dad described so eloquently as you were growing up as a fortress with an army of passionate Reds bursting out in song across the stands and hearing the dulcet tones of George Sephton out of the speakers high above. So when George starts playing Thunderbirds you can imagine the look of confusion on the poor kids. Before you ask it was in tribute to Gerry Anderson and a childhood shared by many of the parents there yesterday...especially the 8 year old sitting next to me who'd come with his dad to his first ever Liverpool match. A bundle of nerves, the little boy wasn't sure what to do or how to be during You'll Never Walk Alone. His dad reached down, tucked his son's coat around him and gave him his scarf to hold up high. Welcome to Anfield little fella.

The first 5/10 minutes were simple enough. From the outset Henderson looked like a man on a mission and it showed. He linked into to most plays and even Steven Gerrard must have realised as gone was that fear of passing to him or receiving from him. Actually lets face it his passing yesterday was a dream. Just after Mignolet saved Downing's free kick the little boy next to me piped and said "Oooh. That was close".

I responded the only way I knew how "We'll score soon enough"

And then it came

Goal 1. Headed out to Suarez by Gerrard. Suarez to Sterling. First thoughts were please don't lob you'll miss! When he did in fact go for the lob I sighed for a nano second. As it went in I went nuts ;D

They hadn't really threatened much and our passages of play looked good and controlled. When the fella named like toothpaste nearly got in we didn't lose all concentration following (thank god!). When the second came and Suarez rode Cuellar's challenge I thought Dowd would stop the game. When he waved play on the roar of the crowd and the anticipation of what was coming had the poor kid in kittens. Suarez nutmegged Mignolet and it was thank you very much for 2-0.

At some point between this goal and Fletcher's attempt that was well saved by Reina, Suarez I think was looking to imitate Stephen Fletcher's hairstyle. Whilst Fletcher has a balding patch at the back of his head, Suarez had a blotch of white from the pitch lines. I don't know if it was in sympathy for Stephen or for the Rawkites that wanted him during transfer season madness a while back :)

Half time musings

• Midfield of Lucas Henderson and Gerrard as the three Rodgers talks of. Works.

• Some exquisite passing by Gerrard and Henderson. Loved the weighted ball from Henderson to Suarez on left. Bettered by the belter of a pass from left to right by Gerrard to Wisdom.

• We did slip up though and nearly let them through. Henderson holding off the player he was defending against and ball in middle picked up by no one and they broke through but Pepe held on. And again after free kick.

• When we've broken we have done so with fluency and with purpose. Henderson could have had a couple but they defended well.

• Sunderland. No obvious game plan. No obvious purpose. No obvious intent. Are they hungover? Sessegnon bright but otherwise others a little flat.

• Adam Johnson - is he on the pitch?  ;D

• Dowd so far so good. Don't get excited though. It won't last.

The second half started with just as much push as the first in its ascendency. In the build up to a miss by Sterling it was some great passing that opened up the channels and it was just a shame that it wasn't capped off with a goal. I wasn't sure what Sterling was attempting in his shot as to whether it was dink over the keeper or low under.

Not a lot of time to contemplate it though. As we rebuilt another passage of play from the back, what followed was a moment of sheer quality. Gerrard's amazing pass to Suarez and then the ball in the back of the net for 3-0. For this one I had the steward dancing with me in celebration. What a goal! Sunderland were dead and buried for sure now. Outclassed and outplayed. Here's what Martin O'Neill had to say about it

And it carried on. Allen came on and set about pressing the play too. He gave a few directions to the midfield and we carried on as we were in pushing forward looking for a 4th. I did laugh when they brought on James McFadden. I'd forgotten he was still around as he was so easily forgettable. Henderson went off to a standing ovation (again) and deservedly so. He set the bar which could be seen by the subs (Allen and Suso) in regards to the effort and pressing. They knew that had to be seen to hunting down the ball and it was a great sight for everyone. Allen played a beauty into Suarez and credit to Mignolet to coming out and saving. Allen himself nearly scored himself a few minutes later too. When we move at pace and intelligence we are a sight for sore eyes. Gerrard>Suso>Downing>Allen> block by Rose

The 2 offside goals I have to admit perplexed me. My view had them both as good but then I'm biased.

Sunderland came and to be frank were brushed aside. I spare a thought too for Connor Wickham. We were close to signing him last season but he chose a different path. Seems a bullet dodged so far. Downing again had a solid game as did Wisdom upon his return into the team.

I started this report with a brilliant memory of a solitary goal by Alonso. I'll remember all 3 of these because of their execution and class and team spirit

Oh - The little boy next to me when asked about our 3rd goal?

"Outstanding, simply outstanding"

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