Tuning into this just after half time, it was the Bridcutt red card that really snagged the interest, not least because Emre Çan  was involved.

So, what happened? For a start the second yellow card for Bridcutt seemed harsh. He obviously impeded Çan, but a free kick seemed punishment enough. Not so however; he gained a second soft booking and allowed Liverpool to dictate play for the rest of the game.

That they were able to do so was often as a result of the combinations of Jordan Henderson, Lazar Markovic and Coutinho; the latter particularly impressive in terms of his prompting and probing.

It was a leisurely stroll in the Wearside sunshine for the Reds at this stage.


Mood shot of a Sunderland flag (from Zimbio.com)

And then Brendan Rodgers brought Mario Balotelli into the fray. Mario had the look of someone who was determined to find the net, something exemplified by the fact his first real intervention was to drill a free kick and then the rebound, both at the defence.

That was pretty much the entertainment from thereon in; Balotelli lost his footing completely while he was in the clear, and planted a header well over, and Henderson was put into a very good position a couple of times, but played two very poor passes from the right byline and Sunderland produced a late flurry that saw Costel Pantilimon flop down theatrically as he was in the visitors box in the dying seconds.

It was, in short, not a classic but Liverpool ‘march on’.

Entertainment value? 4/10. I will have forgotten it by Match of the Day.