Point lifted Sunderland ahead of derby - Larsson

Sebastian Larsson
Larsson's volley helped earn a draw for Sunderland, and opened his account for the club on debut

Sunderland midfielder Sebastian Larsson says the players have been encouraged by their efforts in Saturday's 1-1 Premier League draw with Liverpool.

Larsson's equaliser at Anfield earned the Black Cats a point before the weekend derby with Newcastle United.

"We believe in ourselves," Larsson told BBC Newcastle.

"With so many new faces in the squad it's nice to get a good start and confidence in what we're doing especially with the derby coming up."

The 26-year-old added: "Hopefully the fans went home proud of the way we played."

Meanwhile the Sweden international, one of 10 signings made by boss Steve Bruce this summer, has praised the strength in depth within the squad.

Larsson, joined by fellow midfielders Craig Gardner, David Vaughan and James McClean at the Stadium of Light this summer, will compete with present players such as Lee Cattermole, Jack Colback and Stephane Sessegnon for a place in the first team.

"Competition for places here is immense," Larsson said.

"That's what you need to move forward, and that is what the manager has tried to do, hopefully everyone is going to be used and you need to be on your toes to keep your place."

Having made his top flight debut with Arsenal, for whom he played 12 games, the midfielder joined Birmingham on an initial loan basis in August 2006.

He then completed a permanent deal at St Andrew's in January 2007 and went on to make a total of 205 appearances, scoring 25 goals, before his move to Wearside in June.

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