London: Dirk Kuyt scored a controversial penalty as Liverpool bounced back from their Europa League exit with a 2-0 win at 10-man Sunderland on Sunday.
Liverpool were beaten at Sunderland in dubious circumstances last season when Darren Bent scored with a goal that deflected in off a beachball which had been thrown onto the pitch.
But Kenny Dalglish's side enjoyed their own moment of good fortune at the Stadium of Light this time as Kuyt netted a first half penalty awarded for a tackle by John Mensah that took place outside the area.
Replays showed Mensah's challenge made contact with Jay Spearing before the midfielder fell in the area and referee Kevin Friend initially gave a free-kick, only to change his decision to a penalty on the advice of a linesman.
Sunderland were furious and Kuyt rubbed salt into their wounds as he drove home the spot-kick.
Luis Suarez scored Liverpool's second goal from what seemed an impossibly tight angle in the 77th minute to help erase the memory of his team's lacklustre midweek defeat against Braga in the Europa League and lift the Reds within four points of fifth placed Tottenham.
Mensah's miserable day was completed when the Ghana defender was sent off for a professional foul on Suarez in the closing stages.
Even Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher conceded that his side had been lucky to get the penalty.
He told Sky Sports: "I thought it was a penalty, but then I looked at half-time and I don't think it was, was it? It was just outside.
"Everyone knows goals change games - up to then it had been pretty even and Sunderland had been putting a bit of pressure on.
"Every week you can look at different incidents and you can always say it changes the game. Maybe it has gone our way but thankfully we got the other (goal) to make sure so you could say we would still have won 1-0."