Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers urged his team to 'dominate the situation' after results elsewhere in the Barclays Premier League provided the Reds with a chance to claim second place on Sunday evening.

Defeats for Manchester City and Manchester United, plus a stalemate between Chelsea and Tottenham, left the door open for Rodgers' side to leapfrog several of their rivals in the division.

The potency of strike partners Daniel Sturridge and Luis Suarez ensured the scenario unfolded exactly as required, with hosts Sunderland successfully downed 3-1 at the Stadium of Light.

"We stressed that before - that was an incentive going into the game," the manager told afterwards.

"You have to look to dominate those situations if any of your rivals slip up. It's the mark of a good team when you can go and put in a good performance and win.

"That's what we've done; we've come here and won 3-1. Sunderland put a great effort into the game but our quality shone through in the end and it is three valuable points for us.

"It was an excellent result for us on the back of a really tough game at Old Trafford. Physically, it was going to be a demanding game for us.

"The result and parts of the performance were exceptionally pleasing. We defended very well, we looked a real threat a number of times on the counter-attack.

"We can be better when we win the ball back, on our first pass, to keep the ball for longer periods. That's an element of our game that we must improve on.

"But we always looked a real threat going forward. The first goal was important, but from that I thought we continued to look a real threat. Some of our play and interchange was exceptional."

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Sturridge increased his season tally to seven with the opener against the Black Cats, before a poacher's finish in either half provided Suarez with his first goals of the 2013-14 campaign.

The Northern Irishman reflected: "Both players are natural goalscorers - they want to be in the box and score goals.

"But what has been great is you see that they have a real understanding together so early on; they were both looking for each other in the box when the other one couldn't score.

"It's the mark of two top players. Daniel's pace and power takes him into positions, and his pass with the outside of his boot for the goal was a great pass and Luis' finish.

"Likewise on the counter-attack for the third goal - Luis passes a wonderful pass to Dan, he beats the defender and squares it again. Luis' finish probably looked a lot easier than what it was.

"They looked a real threat and I think they'll continue to look that throughout the season."