Having matched Chelsea win for win over the previous four games but it was on the fifth that Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool finally flagged and two dropped points. Liverpool failed to cut short Chelsea’s dominance at the top of the points table in the Premier League table this season, after two Jermain Defoe penalties earned Sunderland a point in an absorbing 2-2 draw at the Stadium of Light and gave Antonio Conte’s team a chance to stretch their lead to eight on Wednesday night.
Having cancelled out Daniel Sturridge’s opener, the former England striker was again on target from 12 yards, when Sadio Mane was penalized for a stupid handball having earlier restored Liverpool’s lead.
Further, Defoe may also feel that it should have been a hat-trick of spot-kicks, with Emre Can having gone unpunished for an earlier handball in the box.
Moyes’ team started this game better than they might dare to imagine, though while the Merseyside outfit had chances throughout the first half, and saves were required from Mannone, restored in Jordan Pickford’s absence, the home team created opportunities of their own.
Mane looked to have snatched the three points when a loose Papy Djilobodji header gifted him an easy tap-in after 72 minutes had passed, but it was his arm that stretched out of the Liverpool wall from a Sebastian Larsson free-kick to gift Sunderland the equaliser.
Liverpool scored when Sturridge redirected Dejan Lovren’s volley into the ground, past a helpless Mannone on the 19th minute. It had all come from a corner and Sunderland’s failure to get a man to the ball or even in front of it suggested they were struggling at the back. They conceded other chances around the box but for the first half Mannone was equal to them.
Liverpool’s lead lasted just six minutes, though, with Defoe tucking a penalty inside the left-hand post after Didier Ndong was brought down by a combination of Wijnaldum and Ragnar Klavan in the box.
Defoe then squandered an opportunity to put the home side in front when he failed to navigate a way around Mignolet after being sent through on goal, and Fabio Borini’s attempts to pick up the pieces amounted to a poor strike that went well.
Mane failed to climb high enough when an inviting cross was sent into the box in the 56th minute, before Sunderland saw calls for another penalty ignored when Can appeared to have handled .
The Senegalese forward however managed to convert from close range in the 72nd minute but was later penalized 10 minutes after giving his team the lead for keeping his arm away from his body inside his own penalty area. Larsson’s free-kick was stuck Defoe stepped up once again and slotted past Mignolet as Sunderland managed to hang on till full-time.
Liverpool would have wanted to come away with three points but Sunderland’s resistance held them to a mere draw. Klopps men are now 5 points behind Chelsea in 2nd place who could extend their running win streak to 14 in a row when they face Tottenham on the 5th of January.