Kuyt (second right) scored on his return from injury
By Mandeep Sanghera
Steven Gerrard's equaliser rescued a draw for Liverpool in a roller coaster game against a determined Sunderland.
The Black Cats had controversially gone behind when Michael Turner was ruled to have taken a free-kick and Dirk Kuyt slotted in from a Fernando Torres pass.
Darren Bent levelled with a penalty after a Christian Poulsen handball and the striker then powerfully headed in to give Sunderland the lead.
But Gerrard nodded in from a Torres cross to salvage a point for the Reds.
Daniel Agger should have grabbed a winner for the Merseysiders but he put a free header wide in injury-time.
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However, despite their late rally, Liverpool's performance will do little to inspire confidence and lift the apathy that is engulfing the Anfield club after a drama-ridden encounter against the impressive visitors from Wearside.
This fixture showed its penchant for the peculiar in October 2009 when Sunderland beat Liverpool at the Stadium of Light courtesy of a Bent shot which went in off a beach ball, in a defeat that will still give Reds fans nightmares.
This time Anfield was the venue for the bizarre and the home side were the beneficiaries as they took the lead in contentious fashion.
Turner back-heeled a Black Cats free-kick towards keeper Simon Mignolet, who was nowhere to be seen, and Torres ran on to the loose ball before laying it across for Kuyt to side-foot in.
Whether centre-back Turner was taking the set piece or laying the ball back for Mignolet to take was unclear and, after conferring with his assistant, referee Stuart Attwell allowed the goal to stand.
Sunderland, who had just seen a Torres effort ruled out after a marginal offside decision, were furious but, to their credit, they responded with the type of vigour which belies a record which saw them register just two away wins last season.
The visitors were rewarded when a Ahmed Elmohamady cross struck the arm of Poulsen and Attwell awarded a penalty.
Bent blasted the spot-kick home under the dive of Pepe Reina for his sixth goal of the current campaign and Sunderland's first at Anfield since a 1-1 draw in September 2000.
After such a long wait, another goal for the visitors quickly came along as Bent powered in a header from Nedum Onuoha's precise right-wing cross to give Sunderland hope of a first win at Anfield for the first time since October 1983.
The hard-working visitors passed the ball around with confidence and composure and seemed to sense an air of dejection about the struggling Reds, who were coming off the back of their embarrassing midweek Carling Cup exit at the hands of League Two Northampton.
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However, while Torres was cutting an increasingly frustrated figure, he skipped over a Titus Bramble tackle on the Reds' right and delivered a cross, which got a slight deflection off the unfortunate Turner, and was nodded in by Gerrard.
Gerrard escaped with a yellow card after appearing to catch Danny Welbeck with a forearm but the home side were reinvigorated by their captain's goal and Joe Cole had a shot blocked as they pressed for a winner.
Agger had the best chance before the final whistle, which was the cue for Reds fans to stay back and protest against the club's American owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett.
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