Larsson pegs back Reds
Penalty woe for Suarez as Sunderland leave Anfield with a point
Last Updated: 13/08/11 6:41pm
Luis Suarez scored and missed from the spot as Sebastian Larsson salvaged a 1-1 draw for Sunderland away at Liverpool.
The Reds' Uruguayan striker should have opened the scoring at Anfield inside seven minutes, after he was sent tumbling inside the box under pressure from Kieran Richardson.
Surprisingly, he was well off target from 12 yards and sent his penalty sailing high into the stands.
Suarez was, however, able to open the scoring on 12 minutes when he stooped to glance a clever free-kick from Charlie Adam past Simon Mignolet.
Liverpool proceeded to control the remainder of the first half, with Stewart Downing clipping the bar at one stage as Kenny Dalglish's side attempted to turn the screw.
In the end they were made to pay for their failure to turn possession into goals as Sunderland hit back 12 minutes into the second half.
Larsson was left all alone at the back post and, when the ball floated his way, he crashed an acrobatic volley past a stranded Pepe Reina to secure a share of the spoils.
Recent fixtures between these two teams have not been without controversy, with Darren Bent's beachball-assisted strike two years ago and last season a mistaken backpass which led to Dirk Kuyt scoring at Anfield and a dubious penalty for Liverpool's first at the Stadium of Light.
The 2012 edition was no different as after just five minutes the hosts were awarded a penalty when Suarez charged down Richardson's clearance, with a slight suspicion of an arm, on the halfway line only to go down in the area under the challenge of Richardson after rounding Mignolet.
Referee Phil Dowd showed the left-back a yellow card but Suarez blazed the penalty over.
But the £22.8million striker was not to be denied and, when Adam whipped in a low, inswinging free-kick from the right in the 12th minute he nipped in at the near post to head in off the legs of Mignolet.
Carroll thought he had opened his account for the season when he chested down Adam's left-wing cross before smashing home but the flag had already gone up for the slightest of touches on Anton Ferdinand.
Adam had Mignolet clutching his 35-yard shot at the second attempt while Downing was even closer, crashing a shot off the crossbar after a driving run down the inside-right channel from five yards inside his own half.
But somehow, from a position of dominance, Liverpool appeared to lose their way and the interval certainly put paid to their dwindling momentum.
Sunderland seized their opportunity to gain a foothold in the game and should have equalised in the 53rd minute when John Flanagan's mistake at right-back allowed Larsson, one of Sunderland's new signings, to get forward and cross but Asamoah Gyan headed straight at Reina from close range.
If that was a warning to Dalglish's side they did not heed it as, just four minutes later, they conceded an equaliser.
Ahmed Elmohamady hung up a deep cross to the far post and Larsson found himself in enough space to superbly volley back across goal and past Reina.
From that point it appeared Sunderland were the most likely winners.
Liverpool regained more control late on as they pushed for a winner but with Suarez having been replaced it was left to Carroll to lead the line.
The £35million club-record signing huffed and puffed a lot but could fashion only half-chances as his side laboured.It is, of course, early days but these are the sort of matches Dalglish knows his side have to win this season if they are to haul themselves back into the top four.
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