The Serb netted his first Premier League goal as Brendan Rodgers’ resurgent men extended their unbeaten run in all competitions to seven games

Lazar Markovic’s first Premier League goal earned Liverpool a narrow but comfortable win over strugglingSunderland.

The Serbia international, who was denied an early penalty, opened his top-flight account to break the deadlock in the eighth minute at the Stadium of Light on Saturday with a determined off-the-ball run and finish.

Markovic was at the centre of Liverpool’s best play and also struck the woodwork with an acrobatic effort, while ex-Sunderland loanee Fabio Borini was wayward with his shot from a tight angle after rounding Costel Pantilimon in a dominant first half for Brendan Rodgers’ side.

Liam Bridcutt was sent off early in the second period to make Sunderland’s task even harder and, although Adam Johnson struck the crossbar soon afterwards, there was no way back for the home side.

Gus Poyet’s men now have just one win from their last 11 top-flight matches, while Liverpool are unbeaten in seven in all competitions.

Jordan Henderson and under-fire goalkeeper Simon Mignolet lined up against their former club, as did Borini, who took the place of the rested Raheem Sterling.