Steven Gerrard and Daniel Sturridge found the back of the net for Liverpool, but Ki Sung-Yeung’s late goal from a corner pulled Sunderland back into the contest and made for a nervy finish at Anfield.
Still, the hosts were able to see out the match, and with the 2-1 win they leapfrogged Manchester City and reclaimed second place in the Premier League.
Following are player ratings and analysis for all the Reds.
Half-Time analysis for Liverpool
Mignolet: Made an important save off Wickham late in the first half.
Johnson: Involved in the buildup play and hardly being tested by Dossena.
Skrtel: Has so far won all of his aerial duels.
Agger: The Dane has completed 96% of his passes out of defense through 45 minutes.
Flanagan: Whatever counter-attacks Sunderland have mustered have typically come opposite him.
Henderson: The Liverpool metronome has already touched the ball 52 times, completing 96% of his passes.
Gerrard: Curled his free kick into the top, right-hand corner of the goal.
Allen: Highly involved and keen to bring the ball into the attacking third.
Coutinho: Distribution could be a bit better, but his commitment can’t be questioned.
Sturridge: Only 17 touches in an uncharacteristically quiet first half.
Suarez: Dropping quite deep to involve himself in the buildup play.
Full-Time analysis for Liverpool
Mignolet: Did well to deny Wickham in the first half and had little chance on Ki’s header.
Johnson: Was absolutely run into the ground by Adam Johnson when the Sunderland substitute swapped flanks.
Skrtel: Finished the night with all of his aerial battles won.
Agger: Handled the late pressure well.
Flanagan: Lost Ki on the set-piece that gave Sunderland some late hope.
Henderson: At the final whistle he had touched the ball 100 times and completed 93% of his passes.
Gerrard: Struggled a bit late on, but took his goal well and was dominant in the air.
Allen: Not quite as effective on the defensive side of the ball, but his rate of distribution only improved as the match wore on.
Coutinho: Four shots and four tackles in an impressive, all-round performance.
Sturridge: Cut inside his marker to beat Mannone to the far corner.
Suarez: Worked extremely hard and was perhaps unlucky to not find the back of the net.
Sterling: Liverpool’s only substitute found himself on the back-foot during his 13-minute cameo.