Liverpool’s Benteke fastest out of blocks

The final Barclays Premier League match of 2015 was settled with the quickest second-half goal this season as Christian Benteke gave Liverpool a 1-0 triumph at Sunderland.

Benteke scored after Adam Lallana prodded Nathaniel Clyne’s pass into his stride, and the Belgium striker’s effort was the fastest after the interval of a BPL match since Jack Colback’s goal for Newcastle United against Tottenham Hotspur in April 2015.

In fact, Sunderland have conceded the two quickest second-half goals in the BPL this season, with Wayne Rooney scoring 39 seconds after the break for Manchester United in September.

Benteke’s decisive strike continued his rich vein of form against Sunderland. He has netted six goals in seven top-flight meetings with the Black Cats.

Liverpool’s fifth 1-0 win of the campaign, and second in succession following the Boxing Day triumph over Leicester City, means that the Merseysiders have recorded 71 league victories against Sunderland. Only against Everton (71) have they won as often in their history.

Sunderland have picked up two points in their last seven matches against Liverpool, but their current form will be the concern to Allardyce, who has now overseen five straight league defeats; their worst run since a matching streak in April 2014.

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