Sunderland came from behind to draw level with Liverpool


Jermain Defoe scored two penalties as Sunderland twice came from behind to earn a point against second-placed Liverpool.

The Reds took a deserved lead when Daniel Sturridge flicked in a header after Dejan Lovren’s mishit shot.

Sunderland equalised six minutes later as Defoe scored from the spot following Ragnar Klavan’s trip on Didier Ndong, before Sadio Mane put the visitors back ahead with a close-range finish.

However, Mane then handled in his own 18-yard box and Defoe converted the penalty to snatch an unlikely point.

The result leaves Liverpool five points behind Premier League leaders Chelsea, who play their game in hand on Wednesday at Tottenham (20:00 GMT kick-off).

However, Reds boss Jurgen Klopp will surely see it as two points dropped after his side led twice, had 71% of the possession and had 15 shots on target.

Only an inspired performance from Black Cats keeper Vito Mannone denied Liverpool further goals, before Mane, playing his last game before representing Senegal at the Africa Cup of Nations, needlessly stuck out an arm to block Seb Larsson’s free-kick, costing his side dearly.

To make things worse for Liverpool, Sturridge, who scored only his second Premier League goal of the season, limped off late on with an ankle injury after he clashed with Papy Djilobodji.

The England international was only making his fifth league start of the campaign, has also suffered calf and hip injuries this season and was limping badly at the final whistle.

Reds club captain Jordan Henderson missed the game at the Stadium of Light with a heel injury and Klopp could be without three influential players for the trip to Manchester United in 13 days’ time.

In his post-match news conference Klopp said he did not believe Sturridge’s injury was a serious one. “He got a knock on his right ankle, I don’t think it’s too bad,” said the German.

Sunderland boss David Moyes described his side’s performance in their 4-1 loss at Burnley on Saturday as “dire” and had demanded better.

He will surely have been delighted with the response. His team battled hard, gave everything, defended deep in numbers and showed their fighting spirit when Liverpool looked like they might run away with the match.

Sunderland remain in the bottom three, but Moyes will be encouraged by the point as the Black Cats look to extend their 10-year Premier League stay.

However, like Klopp, Moyes faces a battle to juggle his squad. Sunderland’s lengthy injury list includes first-choice goalkeeper Jordan Pickford, defender Lamine Kone, midfielders Lee Cattermole and Steven Pienaar and strikers Duncan Watmore and Victor Anichebe.

Midfielders Didier Ndong (Gabon) and Wahbi Khazri (Tunisia) are also set to play at the Africa Cup of Nations in January to provide further problems for Moyes.

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