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Page last updated at 16:01 GMT, Saturday, 17 October 2009 17:01 UK

Sunderland   1 - 0   Liverpool

Liverpool keeper Pepe Reina is beaten after Darren Bent's shot deflected in off a bech ball (right)
Bent's shot hit the beach ball (right) before going past keeper Reina

By Mandeep Sanghera

Liverpool's stuttering season took a turn for the worse as they were beaten by a Sunderland side who went above them in the Premier League table.

The Black Cats went ahead when a Darren Bent shot was allowed to stand after deflecting in off a beach ball, which a Reds fan had thrown on to the pitch.

Bent then headed just wide before hitting the post with an angled shot.

Sunderland keeper Craig Gordon pulled off a double save from Dirk Kuyt and David Ngog late on to secure the win.

A fourth defeat of the league season will only add to the question marks over Liverpool's title credentials after they were outplayed without injured midfielder Steven Gerrard and striker Fernando Torres.

606: DEBATE

Ahead of a week in which they face a crucial Uefa Champions League tie against Lyon and host Manchester United, they only added weight to critics who label them a two-man team.

Liverpool were lethargic and looked at unease with a 5-4-1 formation manager Rafael Benitez had opted for as he tried to cope with injuries and tiredness after the recent internationals.

Benitez was probably hoping that full-backs Glen Johnson and Fabio Aurelio, as well as wingers Ryan Babel and Yossi Benayoun, would have more of an impact going forward.

But Sunderland, with a near-capacity 47,000 crowd behind them, did not let Liverpool settle and aggressively took control of the game before being rewarded with the lead in somewhat fortunate circumstances.

Bent's shot went in off a beach ball and, to compound Liverpool's misery, it was one punched on to the pitch by one of their own fans.

Bruce doubts Bent's 'balloon goal'

And, despite protests from the Liverpool camp, referee Mike Jones deemed the goal legal - despite the laws of the game suggesting he should have awarded a dropped ball - with Bent's tally for the season going to eight.

Sunderland were the opposite of Liverpool as they showed the greater desire and dynamism, with the midfield axis of Lorik Cana and Lee Cattermole proving a forceful and tireless presence.

The home side's manager had challenged his players to produce the consistency in performance which earned an impressive 2-2 draw at Manchester United last time out and they did not disappoint.

Liverpool were limited to long-range strikes and Babel, Aurelio and Premier League debutant Jay Spearing each put efforts wide as Sunderland's defence stood firm.

Bent nearly added to Sunderland's lead when he got on to the end of a Phil Bardsley cross - after Reina had missed the ball - but the striker's glanced header went agonisingly wide.

He also pounced on a Martin Skrtel's headed passback only to nod past Reina and shoot against the outside of the post from a tight angle.

Sunderland suffered the loss of influential duo Cattermole and striker Kenwyne Jones, but coped admirably as they held off a Liverpool side lacking ideas.

Benitez refuses to blame 'bad luck'

Benitez and Bruce exchanged angry words on the touchline with the Spaniard accusing Sunderland of time wasting as the visitors searched for an equaliser.

Referee Mike Jones allowed seven minutes of injury time and Liverpool nearly took advantage only for Gordon to brilliantly keep out Kuyt's drive before blocking the follow-up from David Ngog.

Live text and stats

 

Saturday, 17 October 2009

Premier League

Home Team Score Away Team Time
Sunderland 1-0 Liverpool FT
(HT 1-0)
  • Bent 5

    Sunderland

    Substitutes

    Liverpool

    Substitutes

    Ref: JonesAtt: 47,327
    SUNDERLAND
    LIVERPOOL

    Possession

    • Sunderland 51%
    • Liverpool 49%

    Attempts on target

    • Sunderland 7
    • Liverpool 6

    Attempts off target

    • Sunderland 6
    • Liverpool 9

    Corners

    • Sunderland 1
    • Liverpool 7

    Fouls

    • Sunderland 20
    • Liverpool 17
    • Final Result
    • Full Time
    • 90:00+7:02 The final whistle is blown by the referee.
    • 90:00+4:46 Fraizer Campbell concedes a free kick for a foul on Glen Johnson. Direct free kick taken by Glen Johnson.
    • 90:00+4:24 Javier Mascherano sends in a cross, save by Craig Gordon.
    • 90:00+3:41 The assistant referee flags for offside against Darren Bent. Jose Reina takes the free kick.
    • 90:00+2:50 Shot from 18 yards from Dirk Kuyt. Save by Craig Gordon. David Ngog takes a shot from 6 yards. Save by Craig Gordon. Outswinging corner taken left-footed by Fabio Aurelio from the left by-line, clearance made by Lorik Cana.
    • 90:00+1:51 Corner taken left-footed by Fabio Aurelio from the right by-line to the near post, clearance made by Darren Bent.
    • 90:00+1:06 Foul by Andy Reid on Dirk Kuyt, free kick awarded. Jose Reina restarts play with the free kick.
    • 90:00+0:19 Free kick awarded for a foul by Glen Johnson on Fraizer Campbell. Craig Gordon takes the free kick.
    • 88:07 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Fraizer Campbell by Glen Johnson. Andy Reid crosses the ball in from the free kick, clearance made by Daniel Agger.
    • 87:30 David Ngog is penalised for a handball. Indirect free kick taken by Craig Gordon.
    • 86:58 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Daniel Agger by Darren Bent. Jose Reina restarts play with the free kick.
    • 86:18 Shot by Javier Mascherano from a long way out goes over the net.
    • 85:09 Glen Johnson sends in a cross, save by Craig Gordon. Corner taken by Fabio Aurelio, Lorik Cana manages to make a clearance.
    • 84:25 Glen Johnson delivers the ball, clearance by Phillip Bardsley.
    • 83:44 Steed Malbranque challenges Fabio Aurelio unfairly and gives away a free kick. Jose Reina takes the direct free kick.
    • 83:19 Andriy Voronin takes a shot. Save by Craig Gordon.
    • 82:47 Foul by Jordan Henderson on David Ngog, free kick awarded. David Ngog takes the direct free kick.
    • 81:22 Unfair challenge on Fraizer Campbell by Javier Mascherano results in a free kick. Free kick crossed left-footed by Andy Reid.
    • 80:21 Substitution Ryan Babel goes off and David Ngog comes on.
    • 78:31 Free kick awarded for a foul by Ryan Babel on Fraizer Campbell. Craig Gordon takes the free kick.
    • 78:04 Steed Malbranque concedes a free kick for a foul on Jamie Carragher. Direct free kick taken by Jose Reina.
    • 76:30 Free kick awarded for a foul by Fraizer Campbell on Glen Johnson. Free kick taken by Glen Johnson.
    • 75:10 Andy Reid sends in a cross, Fabio Aurelio manages to make a clearance. Jordan Henderson produces a right-footed shot from just outside the box that misses to the right of the goal.
    • 73:26 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Andriy Voronin by Jordan Henderson. Javier Mascherano takes the free kick.
    • 72:35 Free kick awarded for a foul by Fabio Aurelio on Fraizer Campbell. Phillip Bardsley takes the direct free kick.
    • 71:38 Substitution (Liverpool) makes a substitution, with Javier Mascherano coming on for Jay Spearing.
    • 71:38 Substitution Martin Skrtel goes off and Andriy Voronin comes on.
    • 71:26 Yossi Benayoun has an effort from just inside the box that misses to the left of the target.
    • 70:29 Free kick awarded for a foul by Fraizer Campbell on Fabio Aurelio. Fabio Aurelio takes the direct free kick.
    • Correction - 69:38 Steed Malbranque takes a shot. Blocked by Jamie Carragher.
    • 69:38 Steed Malbranque takes a shot. Jamie Carragher gets a block in.
    • 69:06 The ball is sent over by Jay Spearing, Anton Ferdinand makes a clearance.
    • 67:34 Daniel Agger crosses the ball, Dirk Kuyt takes a shot. Craig Gordon makes a save.
    • 67:09 Unfair challenge on Glen Johnson by Andy Reid results in a free kick. Glen Johnson restarts play with the free kick.
    • 65:29 Substitution Fraizer Campbell on for Kenwyne Jones.
    • 65:15 Glen Johnson produces a cross.
    • 60:46 The assistant referee flags for offside against Darren Bent. Free kick taken by Jamie Carragher.
    • 59:45 Daniel Agger fouled by Darren Bent, the ref awards a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Jamie Carragher.
    • 58:16 Free kick awarded for a foul by Glen Johnson on Andy Reid. Free kick taken by Craig Gordon.
    • 57:27 Substitution Boudewijn Zenden comes on in place of Lee Cattermole.
    • 54:08 Darren Bent takes a shot. Jose Reina makes a fantastic save.
    • 52:30 Andy Reid produces a cross, Jamie Carragher makes a clearance.
    • 52:25 The ball is delivered by Jordan Henderson.
    • 51:38 Fabio Aurelio crosses the ball from the free kick left-footed from right wing, clearance by Lorik Cana.
    • 51:38 Booking Caution for Andy Reid.
    • 51:34 Foul by Andy Reid on Martin Skrtel, free kick awarded.
    • 50:26 Fabio Aurelio delivers the ball, Andy Reid makes a clearance.
    • 49:20 Glen Johnson has an effort at goal from just outside the box which goes wide of the left-hand post.
    • 48:58 The ball is sent over by Dirk Kuyt, blocked by Anton Ferdinand. Fabio Aurelio decides to take a short corner.
    • 48:19 Leiva Lucas concedes a free kick for a foul on Kenwyne Jones. The free kick is swung in left-footed by Andy Reid, Jose Reina makes a save.
    • 47:59 Foul by Dirk Kuyt on Lorik Cana, free kick awarded. Craig Gordon restarts play with the free kick.
    • 46:07 Jordan Henderson takes a shot. Blocked by Jamie Carragher.
    • 45:43 Martin Skrtel challenges Jordan Henderson unfairly and gives away a free kick. Andy Reid crosses the ball from the free kick left-footed from left wing, clearance made by Leiva Lucas.
    • 45:01 The referee gets the second half started.
    • 45:01 Substitution Jordan Henderson comes on in place of George McCartney.
    • 45:00+3:14 Lorik Cana is penalised for a handball. Free kick crossed left-footed by Fabio Aurelio from left channel.
    • Half Time
    • 45:00+2:33 The first half comes to an end.
    • 45:00+2:01 Corner taken right-footed by Fabio Aurelio from the right by-line to the near post, clearance by Anton Ferdinand.
    • 45:00+1:12 Drilled shot by Lorik Cana went over the bar.
    • 44:15 Martin Skrtel concedes a free kick for a foul on Kenwyne Jones. Free kick crossed left-footed by Andy Reid from left channel, Fabio Aurelio manages to make a clearance.
    • 43:22 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Jay Spearing by Andy Reid. Leiva Lucas takes the free kick.
    • 41:37 Centre by Darren Bent, clearance by Daniel Agger.
    • 40:46 Unfair challenge on Anton Ferdinand by Dirk Kuyt results in a free kick. Craig Gordon takes the direct free kick.
    • 39:13 George McCartney is ruled offside. Glen Johnson takes the indirect free kick.
    • 38:26 Jay Spearing produces a right-footed shot from just outside the box that misses to the right of the net.
    • 37:52 The ball is delivered by Phillip Bardsley, Darren Bent produces a header from close range which goes wide of the left-hand post.
    • 34:47 Foul by Ryan Babel on Steed Malbranque, free kick awarded. Direct free kick taken by Craig Gordon.
    • 33:57 Fabio Aurelio delivers the ball, clearance by Anton Ferdinand.
    • 30:48 Daniel Agger gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Lee Cattermole. Andy Reid delivers the ball from the free kick left-footed from right wing, Jose Reina makes a save.
    • 30:00 Andy Reid produces a cross, Jose Reina makes a save.
    • 28:06 Free kick crossed by Andy Reid, save by Jose Reina.
    • 28:06 Booking Booking for Dirk Kuyt for unsporting behaviour.
    • 27:59 Free kick awarded for a foul by Dirk Kuyt on Michael Turner.
    • 27:51 The ball is delivered by Phillip Bardsley, clearance made by Jamie Carragher.
    • 25:26 Unfair challenge on Jay Spearing by Andy Reid results in a free kick. Shot comes in from Fabio Aurelio from the free kick.
    • 24:52 Effort on goal by Yossi Benayoun from 12 yards. Phillip Bardsley gets a block in. Outswinging corner taken left-footed by Fabio Aurelio played to the near post, Darren Bent manages to make a clearance.
    • 24:26 A cross is delivered by Phillip Bardsley, clearance made by Glen Johnson.
    • 23:50 Phillip Bardsley produces a right-footed shot from 35 yards and went wide right of the net.
    • 23:11 Kenwyne Jones fouled by Leiva Lucas, the ref awards a free kick. Andy Reid crosses the ball in from the free kick, clearance by Dirk Kuyt.
    • 22:36 Free kick awarded for a foul by George McCartney on Glen Johnson. Direct free kick taken by Yossi Benayoun.
    • 22:19 Foul by Lee Cattermole on Jamie Carragher, free kick awarded. Jose Reina restarts play with the free kick.
    • 20:41 Lee Cattermole concedes a free kick for a foul on Glen Johnson. Martin Skrtel takes the free kick.
    • Correction - 19:28 Shot from 20 yards from Steed Malbranque. Martin Skrtel gets a block in. Steed Malbranque takes a shot. Blocked by Martin Skrtel.
    • 19:28 Steed Malbranque has an effort at goal from 20 yards. Blocked by Martin Skrtel. Steed Malbranque takes a shot. Martin Skrtel gets a block in.
    • 18:38 Daniel Agger gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Kenwyne Jones. Direct effort from the free kick comes in from Andy Reid.
    • 18:24 Yossi Benayoun gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on George McCartney. Lorik Cana restarts play with the free kick.
    • 17:09 Foul by Andy Reid on Glen Johnson, free kick awarded. Direct free kick taken by Jamie Carragher.
    • 16:33 Shot from just outside the area by Ryan Babel misses to the left of the target.
    • 14:43 Darren Bent is caught offside. Free kick taken by Leiva Lucas.
    • 13:15 Shot from just outside the area by Fabio Aurelio misses to the left of the target.
    • 12:11 Ryan Babel takes a shot. Craig Gordon gets a block in.
    • 12:01 Dirk Kuyt delivers the ball, save made by Craig Gordon.
    • 10:29 Jay Spearing takes a shot from long range which goes wide of the right-hand post.
    • 8:56 Outswinging corner taken left-footed by Fabio Aurelio from the left by-line, Lorik Cana makes a clearance.
    • 8:05 Martin Skrtel takes a shot.
    • 7:18 Free kick crossed left-footed by Fabio Aurelio, Phillip Bardsley manages to make a clearance.
    • 7:18 Booking Lorik Cana receives a caution.
    • 7:11 Lorik Cana concedes a free kick for a foul on Ryan Babel.
    • 6:22 Outswinging corner taken left-footed by Andy Reid, Lorik Cana has a headed effort at goal from deep inside the area missing to the right of the goal.
    • Correction - 4:33 The assist for the goal came from Steed Malbranque.
    • 4:33 Assist on the goal came from Andy Reid.
    • 4:33 GOAL - Darren BentSunderland 1 - 0 Liverpool Darren Bent grabs a goal from inside the area low into the middle of the goal. Sunderland 1-0 Liverpool.
    • 3:36 Lee Cattermole gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Leiva Lucas. Free kick taken by Fabio Aurelio.
    • 1:39 Shot from just outside the penalty box by Andy Reid misses to the left of the target.
    • 0:00 The ref blows the whistle to begin the match.

    Live text and data provided by The Press Association.



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    Premier League results

    17 Oct 2009 23:59 UK

    Home Team Score Away Team Time
    Arsenal 3-1 Birmingham R
    Aston Villa 2-1 Chelsea R
    Everton 1-1 Wolverhampton R
    Man Utd 2-1 Bolton R
    Portsmouth 1-2 Tottenham R
    Stoke 2-1 West Ham R
    Sunderland 1-0 Liverpool R

    Premier League table snapshot

    As it stood on 17 Oct 2009 23:59 UK

    Position Team P GD PTS
    1 Man Utd 9 12 22
    2 Chelsea 9 11 21
    3 Tottenham 9 8 19
    4 Arsenal 8 16 18
    5 Man City 7 7 16
    6 Aston Villa 8 5 16
    7 Sunderland 9 4 16
    8 Liverpool 9 9 15
    9 Stoke 9 -3 12
    10 Burnley 8 -9 12
    11 Everton 8 -2 11
    12 Wigan 8 -7 9
    13 Bolton 8 -2 8
    14 Wolverhampton 9 -7 8
    15 Fulham 7 -4 7
    16 Birmingham 9 -5 7
    17 Blackburn 7 -7 7
    18 Hull 8 -12 7
    19 West Ham 8 -4 5
    20 Portsmouth 9 -10 3

    see also
    Benitez shrugs off bizarre goal
    17 Oct 09 |  Liverpool
    Saturday football as it happened
    17 Oct 09 |  Football
    Saturday's football photos
    17 Oct 09 |  Football


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