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Sunderland 1 Liverpool 1 - Prem (Feb 10 2001)

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Sunderland 1 LIVERPOOL 1

Report by Dave Usher at the Stadium of Light



Scorer(s) – Jari Litmanen (pen)

Half Time - 0-0

Venue - Stadium of Light

Date - Sat 10 Feb 2001

Star Man – Robbie Fowler












I fucking hate Sunderland. Their fans are generally knobheads, their players are spiteful, and the police up there are complete bastards. This isn't a nice place to go, despite the wonderful, but embarrassingly named stadium. Given the manner in which their fans bitched and moaned about every single decision that went against them, and howled in derision every single time one of our players made a clean tackle, one could have been forgiven for thinking that this was a derby game at Goodison. One look at the fantastic surroundings and lack of wooden stands is all it takes to remind oneself that it wasn't.


The referee's performance was truly abysmal, but he was bad for both sides, something which Sunderland players and fans, and most of the media, seemed to overlook. Yes, he was wrong about the penalty, but in truth anything other than a spot kick would have been a travesty as the long haired prick in their defence deliberately scythed down Gary Mac as he was bearing down on the keeper. So what if it was a yard outside the box. It was a professional foul and got what it deserved, even if the perpetrator didn't.


Vargas was lucky to even be on the field to commit that foul, as he's kicked seven bells of shite out of our forwards all afternoon, yet had only the one yellow card to show for it. I'm astonished that he stayed on the field, and even more astonished by the fact that hardly anyone in the media made anything of that fact. Hutchison should also have walked, as his conduct when the penalty was awarded was shameful, as he manhandled the ref and virtually dragged him across to the linesman. If the ref had a backbone he'd have sent him off there and then.


In fact, it was revealed after the game that the ref is reporting Hutch for 'over-celebrating' his goal. Now I don't agree with that, and I didn't see anything particularly outrageous about his celebration, but if the ref had a problem with it, surely he should have produced a yellow? Hutch had already been booked though for a late tackle on young Gregory, so the ref's arse went it would appear.


Fowler's goal was never offside, and I knew this even before seeing the replay later that night. The reason I was so sure is that Fowler is not some headless chicken who gets himself in offside positions (why does the name Darren Huckerby spring to mind?). Robbie is an arch predator and would never have strayed offside in that situation. So the sad Mackem bastards (copyright Lee Clark) can moan all they like, but we are the ones with the right to feel aggrieved.


Which brings me onto the North East filth. I saw at least 15 reds fans thrown out of the stadium during the course of the game, and not one of them had actually done anything wrong. Apparently standing up and singing is reason enough for these fascist bastards to eject you from the ground. It's okay for the home fans to make gestures and taunt us, but any red who responds has to pay a visit to the station. It's disgraceful, heavy handed bully-boy tactics such as this that can cause riots, and I'm predicting that we will see some serious trouble at Sunderland pretty soon. Had it been fans of, say, Birmingham, or Millwall that had been treated like that, there could have been serious, serious trouble.


But back to the game, and although we never really hit the heights in this game, we were well worth a point, and there is no way in a million years that Sunderland will finish above us this season. They're just an ale-house team that relies solely on the long ball to Quinn and the brilliance of Kevin Phillips. They're niggly, spiteful little bastards, and they really went to town on Gregory Vignal. The lad had to endure some overly physical challenges, as well as a home crowd baying for him to be sent off.


I was delighted with the way he handled the situation though. The booking he picked up was a complete joke, and smacked of the cowardly ref trying to even the score after just booking Hutchison about ten seconds earlier. He was at fault for the goal, but other than that he had a superb game once again. The lad gets stuck in, takes no shit and loves playing for Liverpool.


The other star performers were Litmanen and Fowler. Fowler worked his nuts off once again, summed up by his position when the final whistle went. He'd tracked back to win the ball and was in the right back spot when the ref blew for time. His touch was superb throughout, and he held the ball up superbly. He truly is back now.


Jari was fairly quiet until the introduction of Owen allowed him to drop deep and dictate the game. With two players ahead of him, he had a lot more options, and he ran the game for the final half an hour. A truly wonderful player, who is a joy to watch. And how cool was that penalty? Sunderland had done everything possible to put him off, including Phillips standing in the corner of the box abusing the linesman for about five minutes until the ref booked him. There was also one of their players standing over the ball so Jari couldn't take it. Sami dragged him away though.


It was a major susrprise that Robbie gave up the chance to score from the spot though, as he remains one of the best penalty takers I've ever seen. He's also in good form and is the captain, so it's safe to assume that Jari must be something of a penalty specialist for Robbie to hand over the responsibility. Jari really enjoyed his goal though, and on the final whistle he made his way straight to the travelling reds to acknowledge our support. Jari, I think I love you!



TEAM: Sander Westerveld; Markus Babbel, Sami Hyypia, Stephane Henchoz, Gregory Vignal; Steven Gerrard (Michael Owen), Gary McAllister, Dietmar Hamann, Igor Biscan (Stephen Wright); Emile Heskey (Jari Litmanen) Robbie Fowler:

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