Sunderland manager Sam Allardyce lamented a "very cruel" Liverpool goal after his side's Premier League struggles continued with a 1-0 loss.
Christian Benteke scored just 22 seconds into the second half at the Stadium of Light on Wednesday to inflict Sunderland's fifth straight defeat.
The Belgium international struck after a fortunate deflected pass from Adam Lallana fell into his path and Allardyce felt his team - who are seven points from safety at the halfway stage of the season - were desperately unlucky to concede.
"It was a cruel goal, very cruel indeed," Allardyce told the club's website.
"I don't think Liverpool created the goal. It was pure luck. Even the finish was slightly mis-hit, but it went in and that's what matters.
"I think that killed the whole place because we were so optimistic about the second half after what we'd tried to do in the first.
"It took a while to recover from that but in the end there wasn't enough quality play in the final third from ourselves to create the sort of chances to get us back in the game."
Making matters worse for Sunderland, defender Sebastian Coates came off due to injury in the second half.
Allardyce is hopeful the Uruguayan will be fit enough to face Aston Villa in a crucial clash on Saturday.
"Seb had a problem when Vito [Mannone] ran into him in the first half, and that's probably what the issue is," he said.
"We're hoping it's more of a knock; bruising rather than a muscle tear. We'll wait and see tomorrow and assess it then."
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