Black Cats too strong for Liverpool
Sunderland moved up to eighth in the Barclays Premier League with a 1-0 victory over Liverpool at the Stadium of Light.
Nicklas Bendtner's 56th-minute goal separated the sides, although the Danish striker was carried off later following a challenge by Martin Skrtel.
Liverpool rarely threatened on a disappointing afternoon for Kenny Dalglish's side on Wearside.
Black Cats defender John O'Shea, playing with a lightweight cast protecting a broken bone in his hand, almost opened the scoring with nine minutes gone when he glanced a header just high and wide from Sebastian Larsson's free-kick.
Sunderland goalkeeper Simon Mignolet almost misjudged Charlie Adam's 43rd-minute free-kick but managed to tip it over the bar at full-stretch, before producing a vital block from Luis Suarez.
Sunderland returned in determined mood and went close with 50 minutes gone when in his eagerness to get to James McClean's driven cross ahead of Fraizer Campbell, Skrtel only succeeded in prompting his own keeper to make a smart save.
The decisive goal was bizarre. Campbell picked up possession 25 yards out and cut inside Skrtel before sending a skidding shot towards goal.
The shot came back off the foot of the post after beating Jose Reina, but the ball hit the keeper on the back and bounced on to the woodwork for a second time to allow Bendtner to fire home from close range.
Adam shot wide from 20 yards with 65 minutes gone, and as the travelling fans starting to plead with Dalglish to introduce Steven Gerrard from the bench, the Scot obliged as he and Andy Carroll replaced Craig Bellamy and Adam with 21 minutes remaining.
However, Sunderland managed to negotiate the final few minutes with few scares, although the sight of Bendtner leaving the field on a stretcher after a clash with Skrtel would have tempered manager Martin O'Neill's joy.