GUS Poyet admits Sunderland spurned a “great chance” to end more than 30 years of hurt at Anfield.
Sunderland’s wait for a first victory at Liverpool since 1983 continues after the Black Cats registered a fifth goalless draw of the campaign on Saturday.
Until the introduction of Liverpool talisman Steven Gerrard midway through the second half, Sunderland dominated possession on Merseyside and were defensively comfortable against Brendan Rodgers’ side, who looked a shadow of the team who finished as Premier League runners-up last season.
But Sunderland were let down by a familiar problem, as the Black Cats were unable to convert that platform into a winning goal.
“I do believe we lost a great chance to win at Anfield,” head coach Poyet admitted.
“We didn’t make the chances that we should have, especially in the first half with the way we were playing and controlling.
“That’s the disappointing side because when you are comfortable, away from home at Anfield, feel like you can pass the ball and go forwards, you need to work the goalkeeper.
“We didn’t pass the ball as much as the first half in the second, but we created two or three chances.
“We lost the chance to win, but at the same time, we did what was right.
“Before the game, I wanted us to pass the ball better, be better technically and try to win the game.
“I think we did that. I know it finished 0-0, but we tried to win.
“We didn’t go there just to defend and keep it in the corner.
“If we concentrate enough against the next few opponents – like we did against Liverpool and Chelsea – we should keep clean sheets and be better going forwards.”
Poyet was pleased to see Gerrard start the game on the bench though, despite Sunderland preparing a gameplan to contain the ex-England skipper.
Gerrard instantly transformed the flat atmosphere inside Anfield following his introduction after Liverpool boss Rodgers had relegated the 34-year-old to the bench ahead of tomorrow’s crunch Champions League qualifier against FC Basel.
“We prepared for Gerrard in front of the back four and Gerrard playing in behind the front player,” added Poyet.
“We looked at the difference, but then he was not playing.
“So I suppose a few players in there thought ‘yeah, well done gaffer!’
“But when you play against a top team and you prepare for a special player, and then he doesn’t play, it’s good news.”