Reds too strong for Black Cats
Dirk Kuyt and Luis Suarez fired Liverpool to a 2-0 victory at Sunderland as the Reds made amends for their beachball disaster on Wearside last season.
Kuyt set the visitors on their way with 33 minutes gone when he converted a hotly-disputed penalty, and Suarez completed the job with 13 minutes remaining.
But the Black Cats trudged off the pitch on the final whistle hugely aggrieved at the penalty decision with defender John Mensah, who was shown a straight red card for a professional foul on Suarez, appearing to trip Jay Spearing outside the box.
Liverpool were much more effective despite £35million man Andy Carroll enduring a quiet afternoon on his full league debut for the club.
There was genuine optimism on Wearside for a repeat of last season's victory over the Reds which came when Darren Bent's shot found its way into the back of the net with the help of a deflection off a beachball.
It was Kuyt who eventually broke the deadlock, but he did so in controversial circumstances.
Mensah's poor control allowed Spearing to burst towards the penalty area, and the Ghana international brought him down in his efforts to make amends.
Replays suggested the contact had taken place outside the area and referee Kevin Friend pointed to the spot on the advice of his assistant.
Kuyt sent Simon Mignolet the wrong way to give the visitors the lead, and the points were safe with 13 minutes left when Suarez squeezed his way into the box and blasted past Mignolet from a seemingly impossible angle.
A bad day for the Wearsiders took a further turn for the worse with 81 minutes gone when last man Mensah hauled Suarez down and was promptly shown a straight red card.