Premier League: Sunderland 1 Liverpool 0
A Nicklas Bendtner strike consigned Liverpool to a third consecutive Premier League defeat as Sunderland won 1-0 at the Stadium of Light.
Both sides struggled to produce clear-cut chances in a scrappy first half that barely improved after the break, despite Bendtner's winning goal.
Steven Gerrard and Andy Carroll were introduced late in the game by Kenny Dalglish but Liverpool continued to struggle for ideas and could not find an equaliser.
Neither team got an early stranglehold on proceedings, with Luis Suarez plugging away with little support for the Reds.
The Uruguayan created the best chance of the half in added time, escaping Michael Turner and beating John O'Shea before seeing his shot from a tight angle saved by Simon Mignolet.
Liverpool began the match with a five-man midfield but failed to take advantage of their numerical superiority in the centre of the park, hitting hopeful long balls that were ineffective in the absence of Carroll.
Martin O'Neill fielded Bendtner and Fraizer Campbell in attack for the first time but did not see too much early promise from the duo.
The Denmark international peeled away from the opposition defenders with some success, occasionally finding space in and around the penalty area, but was not helped by the lack of creativity around him.
Sunderland were the quicker side to grab control of proceedings in the second half and were rewarded after 55 minutes.
Campbell received a pass on the edge of the box and fired a low shot against the post, prompring the ball to bounce of Pepe Reina's back, on to the post and out to the arriving Bendtner, who converted from close range.
Suarez combined well with Jordan Henderson only to shoot wide shortly after the goal but the Reds' response was otherwise minimal.
Gerrard and Carroll were introduced with 20 minutes to go as Dalglish sought to rescue a share of the points.
The early signs were encouraging, with Carroll nodding a pass into the path of Gerrard, whose shot from distance was held by Mignolet.
O'Neill's team lost Bendtner to injury late on but survived a chance for Dirk Kuyt to secure the three points.