It’s hardly worth debating whether or not the goal scored against Liverpool on Saturday should have been allowed to stand: it did and Sunderland should sign up that beach ball before anyone else does as soon as the January transfer window opens!
What’s certain is that the result means the coming few days will have a decisive impact on the Anfield club’s season.
Lose to Lyon tomorrow night and qualification from their Champions League group may be beyond them: defeat at home to the Champions Manchester United on Sunday would surely mark the end of any hope they still have of winning the title; losing half your first 10 league games just won’t do.
The absence of both Gerrard and Torres at the Stadium of Light proved more costly than doing without them for long stretches last season. But Benitez's choice of tactics, as in Florence, was bizarre: three centre backs? When you’ve hardly ever used the system before?
Of course, Liverpool might win the next two games and the crisis is over.
How beach ball ruined Liverpool's weekend