Owen Humphreys
As it happened: Sunderland v Liverpool, Premier League
Brendan Rodgers will be hoping his side can earn their first win of 2015 away to the Black Cats.

Hello and welcome to’s live coverage of Sunderland vs Liverpool. Here are the two teams for today’s early game.

Sunderland: Pantilimon, Vergini, van Aanholt, O’Shea, Brown, Bridcutt, Larsson, Gomez, Johnson, Giaccherini, Wickham

Liverpool: Mignolet, Can, Skrtel, Sakho, Henderson, Moreno, Lucas, Gerrard, Markovic, Coutinho, Borini

Raheem Sterling has been left out because he is still on an ‘extended winter break in Jamaica’.

That’s good for some! Back in my day an extended winter break was recovering on the couch after a mammoth Christmas day feed.

31sterling / Instagram

Borini’s selection is already being questioned in the comments below but in fairness to the Italian, his goals at the end of last season helped keep the Black Cats in the Premier League.

Of course, it is now the five year anniversary of the famous beach ball incident in 2009.

Why didn’t someone belt it away before this??

Syaafique Daynuri / YouTube

For those of you who are thinking of having a bet, Sunderland are 5/2, Liverpool are 23/20 and the draw is 23/10.

We are off at the Stadium of Light!

Early penalty shout for Liverpool as Wes Brown crowds out Markovic in the box.

On the replay it looked a definitely penalty. Early let off for the home side.

Liverpool have started well. Coutinho has taken up the mantle of the key playmaker in Sterling’s absence and has had a lot of touches so far.

GOAL! Sunderland 0-1 Liverpool

A lovely Gerrard flick plays in Markovic in the box and the winger toes it past the keeper. Liverpool have been well worth their early lead.

Markovic deserved that goal after being denied a definite penalty a few moments earlier. He has certainly improved from his relatively dismal early season performances.

This is the goal that put Liverpool in front.

Daniel Karpiuk / Vine

Mignolet’s passes his first test as he holds a long-range Sunderland free kick.

The wind in Sunderland is almost as strong as the gale that’s blow us around for the last few days. There could be a few testing moments for both keepers.

Sunderland have their first chance but Adam Johnson’s cross is hacked clear by Gerrard.

Sunderland have a free kick 30 yards out in a dangerous position on the left wing.

Once again Liverpool deal with the danger.

There hasn’t been any real chances bar the goal and the penalty appeal. A lot of enthusiasm out there but neither side is keeping the ball for very long.

Brendan Rodgers will be very pleased so far. Liverpool are pretty comfortable at the moment and their defence looks sturdy.

Coutinho drives through the Sunderland defence before feeding Gerrard, whose shot is tipped around the post.

Liverpool take a short corner and find Gerrard free in the box but his shot is blocked and cleared.

Markovic makes a nice run on the right wing but Coutinho’s pass is cut out by the Sunderland defence.

Moreno wins a free kick right on the edge of the box. Another chance for Liverpool here.

Gerrard’s dipping drive is tipped over the bar and Liverpool have a corner.

Markovic cracks the post! The ball bounces outside the box and the winger unleashes a flying karate kick that almost doubles Liverpool’s lead.

This would have been an absolute screamer from Markovic.

@GerrardFanPage / Vine

Wickham has gotten on the ball a bit near the Liverpool box, but the home side have really struggled to put any pressure on the visitors.

Gus Poyet and his neck warmer are raging at a challenge from Coutinho and the midfielder gets a booking for his effort.

Henderson strikes the post after being picked out beautifully by Coutinho in the box but the ref had already blown for handball.

Gerrard gets played in nicely on the right wing and his powerful drive hits the side-net.

Liverpool are carving Sunderland open at the moment. This time Borini pulls the ball back for Gerrard but he doesn’t get enough power behind his shot and it’s saved.

This is as dominant as Liverpool have looked all season but they still are only 1-0 up. They might regret not converting their pressure later on in the game.

Borini rounds the keeper but hits the side-net. Another chance wasted for Liverpool.

HT Sunderland 0-1 Liverpool

The visitors lead at half time after Markovic’s goal but they will be annoyed not to be further in front. Coutinho has pulled the strings excellently in Sterling’s absence and he has picked out his colleagues excellently throughout. Boos ring out from the home fans after Sunderland’s poor display in the opening 45.

We are about to get underway in the second half here.

Lovren on for Gerrard at half time. Must be an injury because Gerrard looked bright in the first half.

Liam Bridcutt gets sent off for a second yellow after hauling down Emre Can on the right wing.

Henderson frees himself on the right wing but his cross is dealt with safely.

Sunderland almost equalise after Adam Johnson’s swerving drive smacks the crossbar. The ball really changed direction in the strong wind.

Interesting stat.

Surprisingly, Sunderland have dominated since losing a man. They are putting far more pressure on the Liverpool defence now.

Sunderland have a corner as they continue to pressure Liverpool.

Corner for Liverpool now after Can makes a strong run up the right wing.

The ball lands on the head of Lovren but he can’t direct it goalwards.

Balotelli is warming up on the touchline at the moment. Probably going to come on for Borini.

Coutinho drives at the Sunderland defence once again and feeds Borini in some space in the box, but the forward dithers and has his effort blocked and cleared.

Coutinho shot a yard wide from a central position just outside the box. The midfielder probably should have scored there.

Balotelli is now on for Borini.

Markovic gets cut down by Gomez as he moves towards goal. Liverpool have a free kick 30 yards out in a central position.

Balotelli belts the ball against the wall and his follow-up effort gets the same result.

Balotelli creates a yard of space for himself on the touchline and his effort stings the hands of Pantilimon. Moments later, the keeper has to react quickly to deny a 20-yard shot from Coutinho.

Sunderland get a free kick in a promising area but Adam Johnson’s cross goes about 20 yards over the bar.

John O’Shea almost turns the ball in from a corner but Mignolet gets in to smother the danger.

Coutinho almost frees Markovic in front of goal but the winger’s touch lets him down and Sunderland clear.

Balotelli is still looking for his first league goal for Liverpool and he is trying hard today. He gets a yard on Wes Brown but his header flies over.

Liverpool have a free kick just outside the box after John O’Shea fouls Coutinho.

Henderson’s effort is too high and doesn’t threaten the goal.

Danny Graham blasts the ball towards the Liverpool goal but Sakho makes the block.

Five minutes to go here as Liverpool look to hang onto their slender advantage. They are still quite comfortable though.

Michael Owen has given Markovic the man of the match award. It is probably the Serbian’s most effective Liverpool performance so far this season.

Coutinho plays in Henderson with a beautiful disguised pass on the right wing but his cross is poor and is cleared by O’Shea.

Three minutes added time here.

FT Sunderland 0-1 Liverpool

Liverpool hold out for a hard-earned away win but they will probably be annoyed that they didn’t pull away in the first half when they were dominant. Ultimately, Lazar Markovic’s early goal was the different between the two sides.

That’s all for our Sunderland vs Liverpool liveblog. Thanks for joining me and make sure to check the site throughout the afternoon for coverage of the rest of the day’s Premier League games.

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