Suarez lit up the arena with a superb goal from an outrageously acute angle, as he continues to help the Merseysiders forget the departure of their former hero Fernando Torres – how Liverpool could have done with Suarez’s creativity and skill on Thursday night against Braga, when they crashed out of the Europa League. The former Ajax man was ineligible for that clash, and had he been available, Liverpool could well have beaten the Portuguese outfit. Now they must try and catch Champions League quarter-finalists Tottenham Hotspur in order to compete in Europe once again next season. This win took them to within four points of Harry Redknapp’s men, though the north London outfit have a game in hand.
However, Kenny Dalglish will be quietly confident that his Reds can finish in the Premier League’s top five come the end of this campaign. The fact that he could pair Suarez with record-signing Andy Carroll in attack for the first time will have given the manager further hope of Liverpool’s chances for the remainder of the season. Many believe that the £35m Dalglish paid for Carroll was far too much, but the doubters will slowly drift away if the young Englishman forms a lethal partnership with Suarez. The signs were positive against Sunderland, with the duo looking lively and reasonably comfortable playing alongside each other, but it will take some time before they fully gel together.
The two January signings will grab many of the headlines in weeks to come and that is expected given their combined value of almost £60m, but Liverpool are far more than just a two-man team these days. The ever-reliable Dirk Kuyt opened the scoring from the spot, while Raul Meireles once again performed admirably as Steven Gerrard missed out through injury. Goals may have dried up for the Portuguese midfielder but his influence in the middle of the park was there for all to see. However, the display of another central midfielder will have delighted Dalglish even further.
Young Jay Spearing stepped up to the plate against Sunderland, first winning the penalty for Liverpool and later forcing a good save from goalkeeper Simon Mignolet. The local lad may not be a big name, but he is certainly learning the tricks of his trade at every opportunity. Based on this performance, Spearing has a bright future. Liverpool must now wait two weeks before they return to Premier League action and Dalglish will be hoping his players stay injury-free on international duty as they continue to push for a top-five finish.