I think the last match I got to was the same fixture in February, when we came back from 2-0 down to get a draw, thanks to Jermain Defoe and the now disgraced Adam Johnson. Johnson had come on as sub for Jan Kirchoff, another of the eight who were on the team sheet in February but missing from it this time around.
John McCormick writes…..
I was there, and might give you my opinion later. First, though, here’s what the manager thought.
Or, at least, here’s what the manager decided to share with Colin, and maybe one or two others:
Monsieur Salut writes: Pete Sixsmith gave this one a miss so I am the the stand-in for his usual seven-word verdict on a game in which we looked just about able to avoid defeat for 75 minutes. It took a clever piece of play by Divock Origi to break our strong resistance led by John O’Shea and Lamine Kone and we might even have snatched a lead against the run of the play with earlier chances that fell to Pienaar and Watmore. Ndong’s late foul that gave Liverpool a second from the penalty spot looked needless but probably didn’t change an outcome that by then seemed inevitable. No dishonour, then, but we were not able to bridge the quality gap …
Gareth Roberts*, editor of the ‘leading independent voice on Liverpool FC’, The Anfield Wrap, comes up with a scoreline prediction none of us will thank him for. But he also answers our questions with an informed and informative manner, defending Jurgen Klopp in his spats with the media, acclaiming the two Jordans, doubting Mignolet’s Anfield future and, naturally, going for Liverpool to win the title …
Thanks to Jermain Defoe, Victor Anichebe, Jordan Pickford and our temporary Guess the Score sponsors Art of Football – see their outstanding range of SAFC items at http://art-of-football.com/collections/sunderland and navigate from there for non-Sunderland art – we have a very satisfied winner.
Phil Davison, a Mackem exiled in Mexico, plumped for a 3-0 home win mainly because so many scorelines had been taken by other entrants. Watching the opening stages on Saturday, live out west, he wondered whether he might have taken leave of his senses, as Hull dominated the game and had the better chances.
Monsieur Salut writes: there’s one thing that makes having an otherwise disloyal Liverpool-supporting daughter feel a little less shaming (it had something to do with John Barnes being an early crush, I suspect). Nathalie Randall does also have some affection for Sunderland, having been dragged to Roker Park, the SoL and elsewhere by her dad over the years This was her assessment of the Arsenal game – and sorry David Moyes, but collapse is what is was. Just another view, but interesting that she felt Didier Ndong was our best player (I gave him 5/10 at ESPN) …
Winless Sunderland plunged to another defeat in the Premier League, this time to high-flying Arsenal, starting started well with the passion and intense pressure that helped keep them up last season, but also showing a distinct lack of creativity and quality with often the cross or final ball.
It’s been a few years since I’ve done a timely review of Deloitte’s “Money League”, which usually comes out in January or February (it was January this year).
But when there’s a battle to be fought there’s not much room, time or inclination to give some thought to a little piece of meaningless self-publicity, which is what the Deloitte Money League is, entertaining though it may be.
I’m getting a bit tired of the title (and Monsieur Salut should apologise to any reader lured here by thoughts it was a poll on religion; the word inexplicably replaced relegation in the headline when published and still appeared some time later at the newsnow.co.uk site) .
But just because we have some decent players, led by one of the Premier League’s most experienced managers and backed by a tremendous crowd, we can’t assume we’re safe.
Our record is not good. We’ve been one of the survivors for too many seasons and we can’t take anything for granted. Even now there will be some fans somewhere rubbing their hands as they look at the fixtures and thinking ‘Sunderland, that’s an easy three points’.
It’s time again for Salut! Sunderland writers, regular or occasional, to look back on a season that carried the now customary threat of relegation before bursting into life with another of our extraordinary late escapes. The reviews will appear pretty much in the order they are received – feel free to have a go if there’s something pressing on your mind – and end with the thoughts of our indefatigable chronicler Pete Sixsmith. Accordingly, we start with associate editor John McCormick …
Monsieur Salut’s football-playing daughter Nathalie Randall, born in Bristol, brought up in London, reckons she could earn some paternal approval by urging Sunderland on to victory tomorrow night. In reality, she really does want us to win – it helps that she
lovesappreciates Jermain Defoe – even if her heart is on Liverpool’s European league final …
As then season comes to a close, I reflect on what is turning into quite the rollercoaster finale for my team Liverpool, and my (enforced) 2nd team, Sunderland.
After that breathtaking second half display against Chelsea, Sunderland look like they have done their usual Houdini act. However, nothing is finalised yet until they manage to get the points needed from the final two games – and you never know with Sunderland!
Everton are a decent side despite their current standing and they have good players in all positions so it won’t be as easy as I have heard some pundits claim.
If Sunderland do escape, huge credit has to go to Sam Allardyce – he has taken them on a recent good run and gained valuable points. He has got the best again out of the likes of Mannone, Cattermole and Defoe, and made some astute signings in January.
As for Defoe, who I have always admired, could he sneak into the Euro 2016 England Squad, especially now there are injury concerns over Danny Welbeck? I would say this is unlikely to happen but never say never. He is the 6th top goal scorer in the Premier League this season and the 3rd top English scorer.
SAFC v Everton: Guess the Score at https://safc.blog/2016/05/sunderland-v-everton-who-are-you-a-toffeeman-deliciously-expecting-safc-survival/
Now on to my team Liverpool. We have once again endured a topsy turvy season, beating Borussia Dortmund one week and getting hammered to Swansea the next. Typical Liverpool stuff really. I found it hard to get into the Europa League campaign during the earlier stages. I missed all the games on Thursday evenings (clashing with my own training sessions) and only really started to get excited about it when we were drawn to face Manchester Utd. I started recording matches, going to my football training and then watching the games late at night with no knowledge of the scores.
The home 2nd leg match in the Quarter Finals against Borussia Dortmund was quite something else. I am surprised I didn’t have a heart attack watching that match.
In regular Liverpool style we went 2-0 down after 10 minutes and that really should have been the end of that.
But it seemed to spur us on and while we unable to take a consolation goal into half time, we came out with the belief from the “Spirit of Istanbul” and the heart and desire shown from all players were immense. It was such an amazing night of football. Origi scored early in the 2nd half which gave the supporters and players a boost. Even when Reus scored to make it 3-1, they didn’t give up. First Sakho headed home, and then when Lovren powered a header into the roof of the net with seconds to go, I literally screamed so loudly that I was surprised the police weren’t called. What a night!
Then came the clash against Villareal. I thought at the time for the first leg that Jurgen Klopp made an error in my view (but what do I know!) by not playing a recognised striker like Sturridge and didn’t play well, and weren’t able to manage the away goal. However we emphatically outplayed Villareal at home, making them look rather ordinary and ran out 3-0 winners to make it to the final against Sevilla on 18th May. This is a game could go either way. Liverpool have a knack of playing like world beaters one week and then like a pub team the next.
The Sunderland v Everton ‘Who are You?’:
Q: Is there a single player you’d take from us for your squad?
A: Maybe not now that he is getting on in years but Jermain Defoe is one player we were once very interested in signing but never did which I think is a shame because he’s a natural finisher. And despite his past Liverpool connection, Fabio Borini looks a decent player.
But of the lot I’d probably say Duncan Watmore based on his potential. I haven’t seen all that much of him at Premier League level apart from when he was first given a chance in your first team a few months back but he was a constant menace to our Under-21s team when he played against us.
All Liverpool’s players did their part in reaching the final but no more so then the much maligned Simon Mignolet who pulled out some good saves at crucial times. I am still undecided about him, he drops many clangers and his kicking is abysmal but he is a good shot stopper. (although at times I am pulling my hair out when he is beaten by tamer efforts). Henderson has improved greatly since his move from Sunderland but even before his injury, his form had dipped somewhat. He may yet be fit for the final however.
As for Klopp, he took over in October 2015 so in the relatively short time he has managed the team he has done fairly well. Great in cup competitions but not so great in the league. We reached one final, the League Cup, losing to Manchester City, and have now reached another. The players look fitter and he has them playing with so much intensity. I think the future looks bright. His personality shines through at times, although he can have his moments and he can be over the top [says Nathalie, defying her dad’s orders to mock his occasional displays of irrational pique – Ed]. Plus he’s amusing to watch on the sides. For example, when we scored our first or second goal against Dortmund he went crazy. When we scored the winner, nothing.
Final thoughts? A dream end to the season for me would be to see Newcastle (although I like Rafa) and Norwich join Villa in the Championship, Sunderland to beat Everton on Wednesday, and Liverpool to win the Europa League!
And then England to win the Euros!