Liverpool left the Stadium of Light on Saturday with a 1-0 win tucked in their back pocket, and it could have been more as the visitors dominated on Wearside.
Sunderland are disappointed to be reflecting on another Premier League setback, with four games since their dramatic derby victory over Newcastle United delivering just one point.
The Black Cats are now just one point and two places above the top-flight relegation zone.
Having dug so deep to beat the drop last season, Gus Poyet would have been hoping to avoid being dragged into a similar battle this term.
Sunderland are, however, failing to impose themselves on opponents, with skipper John O’Shea conceding that the setback against Liverpool was suffered due to an inability to dictate proceedings.
He told the club’s official website: “Unfortunately it wasn’t to be today but one aspect we can be pleased with is our attitude and the way we played when we had ten men, but we should be doing that from the start of the game not when we’re a goal behind and a man down.
“Liverpool have some very good players but ultimately you want to make sure they’re on the back foot when you’re at home, and we didn’t do that enough in the first half.
“We recognised that they were going to press us but we needed to play better balls and stretch their defence, because they were playing a back three and we didn’t really make them defend enough especially in the opening period.
“I think we would have got a bit more joy if we had done and we need to recognise those situations in games, because it is no good the manager just telling us and it us up to the players on the pitch to realise those things."
Sunderland had Liam Bridcutt dismissed against the Reds just four minutes into the second half.
Poyet’s men already trailed at that stage to Lazar Markovic’s early opener and never looked like finding a route back into the tie.
They have a week to try and get things right, but their next outing will be equally as tough as they are due to visit White Hart Lane to take on Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday.