Liverpool vs. Sunderland: 4 Things We Learned from the EPL Opener
After missing a penalty, the Uruguayan made up for his error when he headed home a superb Charlie Adam free kick. The rest of the first half was to be a disappointment, with the home side failing to convert chances in to goals, and the two sides headed in to the break with just one goal separating them.
On 57 minutes, Sebastian Larsson ensured the Merseysiders were punished with a beautiful volley to equalize for Sunderland.
So, in a game that was both disappointing and promising, here are four things we learned from Liverpool’s clash with then Black Cats:
Stewart Downing Will Be a Key Figure for the Reds This Season
New Anfield arrival Stewart Downing was my man of the match as the Reds were held to a draw at Anfield.
The Englishman made a number of blistering runs through the Sunderland defense and created a world of opportunities for Luis Suarez and Andy Carroll, much to the excitement of Liverpool fans.
What can we take from this performance? A number of things. The first is that the signing of Downing was a stroke of genius, and at this early stage, it seems that its going to do wonders for Liverpool in their bid for silverware.
The second is: if he keeps up this form, he will be targeted by clubs and shut down swiftly (perhaps like Gareth Bale last season). It is therefore crucial that Dalglish mixes it up and keeps teams on their toes by changing up the position in which he plays Downing.
Thirdly and most importantly, King Kenny needs to keep him fresh to avoid the type of injury problems that have plagued Liverpool’s star players in past seasons.
Luis Suarez Could Do with a Rest
It was originally thought that Luis Suarez would not be available for selection due to the burnout from his successful Copa America campaign, but that wasn’t to be.
The Uruguayan may have scored on the weekend, but there’s no denying it: he certainly wasn’t at his best and showed sloppy touch regularly—a rarity in his usual game.
Kenny Dalglish may want to consider giving him a break—whether that may be in the form of a break from training or a start on the bench for the Reds’ clash with Arsenal.
Luis Suarez Shouldn’t Be Taking the Penalties
Luis Suarez’s horrendous penalty miss was a major talking point from the opening weekend of EPL fixtures. Quite frankly, I believe that someone like Charlie Adam should be taking the penalties.
Back in the days of Rafa Benitez and Roy Hodgson, Liverpool were a two-man team. Fernando Torres and Steven Gerrard ran the show, and without them, the team was nothing. Under Kenny Dalglish, the Reds have a huge array of talent to pick from; we no longer need to place all the pressure on one star player. It is for this reason that penalties shouldn’t be taken by a player like Suarez, who is already carrying the burden of the expectations of hundreds of thousands of fans.
Fans Need to Be Patient; There’s Still Work to Be Done
All in all, the Reds have had a relatively positive start to the campaign, playing all over the Black Cats in a performance that featured promising debuts for Anfield new boys, Jose Enrique, Stewart Downing, Charlie Adam and Jordan Henderson.
I know you’re bursting with excitement at the prospect of new silverware for the first time in years—everyone is—but we need to stay patient and give Kenny and the boys time. Before you know it, Liverpool will be top of the league.
Keep the faith.