Sunday 16 September 2012
SUNDERLAND 1-1 LIVERPOOL #SUNLIV
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Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers praised his team for their performance after a difficult week as they fought back to claim their second point of the season at Sunderland.
Luiz Suarez' 71st-minute equaliser denied Sunderland victory at the Stadium of Light at the end of a week when the spotlight was on the city of Liverpool and the team in the wake of a report that cleared the clubs’ fans of blame for the Hillsborough disaster in 1989, when 96 Reds fans died.
"They have been terrific,” Rodgers said. “It's been a difficult week, of course, as you can imagine for the city and everything surrounding it. Some of the players have been involved in the tragedy in terms of relatives, so it's been a really emotional week.
"When you sign for Liverpool, you sign an agreement and a contract with the supporters, an emotional one"
"But when you sign for Liverpool, that's part of the contract. As a player or manager, you sign an agreement and a contract with the supporters, an emotional one, and that's all part of the journey of Liverpool.
"We wanted to give hope for two reasons: one, for ourselves, because we have shown really good progress over the course of the weeks - we haven't quite got the results, but the performance level at times has been very good.
"And to end the week for the supporters, because it has been very difficult for them. It was a good point all round. We will go away from the game really pleased with the performance."
Flags flew at half-mast at the stadium as Sunderland paid their respects to the Hillsborough victims, a move Martin O'Neill felt was right.
"It was the least we could have done in terms of our part of proceedings,” the Sunderland manager said. "It's been a pretty harrowing 20-odd years, but justice has been done and they will draw some comfort from events in the past couple of days."
Steven Fletcher gave Sunderland the lead in the 29th minute, but Liverpool’s pressure paid off 19 minutes from time when Titus Bramble was only able to stab Raheem Sterling's cross to Suarez, who fired home to claim a point.
"The performance was outstanding, both our creativity and our movement, and there was a really good tempo and rhythm to our game,” Rodgers said. "We went behind and we were disappointed with the goal, it was a soft goal from poor perspective and it went against the run of play.
"We were probably having our best spell when they equalised"
"But in the second half, we showed a real reaction and continued what we were doing in the first half, but really upped the tempo and the penetration in our game and by the end of it, I am sure Sunderland were probably happier with the point than ourselves.
"But overall, the performance was outstanding and it's a big credit to the players."
O'Neill, who lost defenders Carlos Cuellar and Danny Rose to hamstring and groin injuries respectively, admitted the outcome was probably the right one.
"We played well in the first half, we gave as good as we got, got the goal in front and the irony of it is that we were probably in the second half having our best spell in possession of the ball and looked as if we had got a second wind when they got the equalising goal,” he said. "But they had a number of chances and didn't take them, hit the bar and so from that viewpoint, probably a point was a fair result."