Premier League

Sunderland 0-1 Liverpool

By Shamoon HafezBBC Sport
Christian Benteke
Christian Benteke scored his sixth goal in seven games against Sunderland

Christian Benteke scored the only goal as Liverpool ended 2015 with a victory, leaving Sunderland in deep trouble.

Benteke netted early in the second half, running on to Adam Lallana's pass to neatly net from inside the area.

Vito Mannone made a stunning save to tip Liverpool midfielder Roberto Firmino's shot on to a post before pushing away the Brazilian's header.

Jermain Defoe forced Simon Mignolet into an excellent save, but Sunderland have now lost their past five games.

Fabio Borini also went close against his former side, shooting straight at Mignolet and striking an effort narrowly wide.

Back-to-back Benteke winners lift Liverpool

Christian Benteke goal
After the initial scramble, it was all too easy for Liverpool when the ball broke free. Nathaniel Clyne's pass was touched on by Adam Lallana (20) for Christian Benteke (9) to finish

This was the Reds' second successive 1-0 win, having beaten Leicester by the same scoreline on Boxing Day, with Belgium striker Benteke the match-winner both times.

Since signing for £32m in the summer, the former Aston Villa man has not been a regular starter, but has now scored six times in seven games against Sunderland, more than against any other side.

But, having missed from close range against Leicester, he once again spurned a straightforward chance, running through on goal before striking at Mannone.

Liverpool were not at their best, but their control and another clean sheet will please boss Jurgen Klopp. His side moved up to seventh - level on points with Manchester United.

Sunderland have mountain to climb

Jermain Defoe
Not only do Sunderland have problems at the back, but up front too. Striker Jermain Defoe (18) was left far too isolated and the lack of service meant he managed just two shots in the game

The home side were much improved from their 4-1 defeat by Manchester City and looked confident in the opening 45 minutes, but once again their defensive frailties came to the fore.

They switched off straight after the interval, giving the ball away on the edge of the centre circle for Liverpool to break quickly and score just 22 seconds into the second half.

It means the Black Cats have conceded 38 goals in their 19 Premier League games this season - more than any other team - and are now seven points from safety.

Having had a bid accepted for Lorient centre-back Lamine Kone, manager Sam Allardyce will hope the Ivorian can help plug a leaky defence and raise the confidence of his lowly team.

Should Lens have been sent off?

With five minutes left, Sunderland midfielder Jeremain Lens left Liverpool defender Mamadou Sakho writhing in agony with a late tackle.

The visiting side's staff became involved in heated exchanges with their Black Cats counterparts, and Lens was booked. Sakho stayed on and finished the match.

Klopp said: "I don't want to say now, 'Come on, give him a red card'. I have no problem with this player, but if you go like that, everything can happen. That's not allowed. For me, that's a red card, finish, that's it."

Allardyce responded: "It's not a red card, it's a yellow. It's a foul.

"There was some foul and abusive language towards my staff that I didn't like. It was all right, though, because we all shook hands and got on with it, which is what we have got to do."

Man of the match - Emre Can

Emre Can
A battling presence in the middle of the park, Can made two tackles and two clearances, as well as winning the ball back seven times. His tally of 64 passes was more than any other player on the pitch

What they said

Sunderland manager Sam Allardyce: "There is some encouragement - seeing the lads battling and fighting for themselves and trying to get a win or at least a point - but a bit of misfortune just after half-time took it away from us. I thought the lads tried their best and you can't ask for more than that."

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp: "It is not the best we can do, we know this, but we had to fight. We knew about Sunderland's situation. Everyone wants to end the year positively. We can and Sunderland can't but we take these points, go home, sleep two times and onto the next game."

Christian Benteke

What next?

Second-bottom Sunderland host bottom side Aston Villa on Saturday (15:00 GMT), while Liverpool travel to West Ham on the same day (12:45).

The stats you need to know

  • Benteke's goal was the quickest second-half goal scored in the Premier League this season (22 seconds)
  • Liverpool have won five games 1-0 this season, a Premier League joint-high along with West Brom
  • Sunderland have taken just two points from their past seven Premier League meetings with Liverpool
  • The Black Cats are now on their worst run of Premier League defeats since April 2014



Formation 4-3-3

  • 25Mannone
  • 2Jones
  • 22CoatesSubstituted forYedlinat 72'minutes
  • 5Brown
  • 3van Aanholt
  • 6Cattermole
  • 21M'Vila
  • 8RodwellSubstituted forWatmoreat 30'minutes
  • 11JohnsonSubstituted forLensat 63'minutesBooked at 86mins
  • 18Defoe
  • 9Borini


  • 1Pantilimon
  • 17Lens
  • 19Graham
  • 20Toivonen
  • 24Yedlin
  • 31Beadling
  • 41Watmore


Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 22Mignolet
  • 2Clyne
  • 6Lovren
  • 17Sakho
  • 18MorenoBooked at 77mins
  • 14HendersonSubstituted forLeivaat 61'minutes
  • 23CanBooked at 58mins
  • 20Lallana
  • 11FirminoSubstituted forK Touréat 90+3'minutes
  • 10CoutinhoSubstituted forIbeat 83'minutes
  • 9BentekeBooked at 19mins


  • 4K Touré
  • 21Leiva
  • 33Ibe
  • 34Bogdan
  • 44B Smith
  • 53Vilaca Teixeira
  • 56Randall
Kevin Friend

Match Stats

Home TeamSunderlandAway TeamLiverpool
Shots on Target

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Sunderland 0, Liverpool 1.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Sunderland 0, Liverpool 1.

  3. Post update

    Corner, Sunderland. Conceded by Lucas Leiva.

  4. Substitution

    Substitution, Liverpool. Kolo Touré replaces Roberto Firmino.

  5. Post update

    Lucas Leiva (Liverpool) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  6. Post update

    Foul by Lee Cattermole (Sunderland).

  7. Post update

    Attempt saved. Christian Benteke (Liverpool) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Roberto Firmino with a through ball.

  8. Post update

    Emre Can (Liverpool) wins a free kick on the right wing.

  9. Post update

    Foul by Fabio Borini (Sunderland).

  10. Post update

    Attempt missed. Jordon Ibe (Liverpool) right footed shot from the centre of the box is just a bit too high. Assisted by Roberto Firmino.

  11. Post update

    Delay over. They are ready to continue.

  12. Post update

    Delay in match Mamadou Sakho (Liverpool) because of an injury.

  13. Booking

    Jeremain Lens (Sunderland) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  14. Post update

    Mamadou Sakho (Liverpool) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  15. Post update

    Foul by Jeremain Lens (Sunderland).

  16. Substitution

    Substitution, Liverpool. Jordon Ibe replaces Philippe Coutinho.

  17. Post update

    Foul by Adam Lallana (Liverpool).

  18. Post update

    Wes Brown (Sunderland) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  19. Post update

    Foul by Christian Benteke (Liverpool).

  20. Post update

    Wes Brown (Sunderland) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Scores, Results & Fixtures

Wednesday 30th December 2015

As It Stood

3Man City19113537201736
5Crystal Palace199462316731
6Man Utd198652216630
8West Ham197842823529
13West Brom196581824-623
20Aston Villa1915131534-198
View full Premier League table

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