Liverpool were held to a disappointing goalless draw by Sunderland on an extremely forgettable afternoon at Anfield.
Sunderland defender Wes Brown had the best chance of the first half, but the former Manchester United man headed over from a corner in stoppage time as the hosts struggled to dictate proceedings.
The Reds improved after the break, however, but Sunderland proved resistant as they held on for a deserved share of the points.
Raheem Sterling impressed despite his side's disappointing afternoon. Liverpool’s man of the match and biggest attacking threat by a long margin, the 19-year-old gradually seems to be returning to the standards he has set himself. This was by no means his best performance, but it was a display filled with promise for the Anfield faithful.
|Team||Total Shots||Shot Accuracy (%)||Key Passes||Pass Accuracy (%)||Total Passes||Dribbles||Tackles||Dispossessed||Mins|
The England youngster, who will celebrate his 20th birthday on Monday, is one of the leading contenders of the 2014 European Golden Boy award, having established himself as the key figure in the Reds' new-look side (in the absence of Daniel Sturridge, at least).
The youngster looked the most likely to inspire a Liverpool breakthrough, as he completed a sensational eight dribbles and four key passes. He also managed two shots. However, neither threatened Costel Pantilimon in the Sunderland goal.
Meanwhile, his passing was at its usual best. In total he recorded 37 attempts to find a team-mate, 91.7% of which were successful. This completion rate was only bettered by team-mates Kolo Toure and Martin Skrtel. For a player who operates in the final third, this is exceptional.
He even weighed in defensively, winning two tackles and making an interception in his own half.
This was a fantastic all-round performance from Sterling, who was just lacking a scoring edge. Had one of his few attempts proven more deadly, he would have secured a deserved three points for his side. Otherwise, it was an extremely encouraging display.