Thursday, December 31, 2015 2:14 am
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp hailed his team’s persistence in the 1-0 win at Sunderland, pointing to their improved pressing in the second half as the reason for victory at the Stadium of Light.
Sunderland goalkeeper Vito Mannone produced some fine stops to keep the visitors at bay in the opening 45 minutes, but Christian Benteke took just 22 seconds to break the deadlock after the interval, and Klopp said his side, who are now seventh in the Barclays Premier League table, were deserved winners.
“It’s better you decide the game early but we do not live in wonderland and wait for the special moment,” Klopp said. “You have to work for the special moment and that’s what we did.
“We took the right information from the first half to do better in the second half. We started with better pressing in different situations.”
Benteke was restored to Liverpool’s line-up at the Stadium of Light after scoring the winner against Leicester City as a substitute on Boxing Day and he again proved decisive, breaking the deadlock just 22 seconds into the second half of English football’s final match of 2015.
The Belgian’s sixth goal in seven outings against Sunderland was borne out of sloppy defensive play, which led to a fifth straight defeat under Sam Allardyce since three early wins following his appointment as the Black Cats’ manager.
The Wearsiders have pulled off miraculous escapes from peril in recent seasons and sit seven points from safety at the campaign’s halfway stage, leaving Allardyce in need of a similar revival.
Allardyce said his team were “very unlucky” to lose the match.
The Black Cats’ manager thought his team deserved to be on level terms at half-time, but he rued Christian Benteke’s quickfire winner after the interval and the impact it had on his team, who are seven points adrift of safety after a fifth straight loss.
“We didn’t deserve to lose it, on the basis of how lucky their goal was,” Allardyce said. “If Philippe Coutinho or Adam Lallana had produced the brilliance we know they can, then you can hold your hands up. We were very unlucky there, and it killed the second half for us, certainly for a while.”