Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard once again came to his side's rescue but it was referee Stuart Attwell at the centre of attention with an erratic display in Sunderland's 2-2 draw at Anfield.
When Sunderland were awarded a free-kick 10 yards inside their half, Michael Turner tapped the ball back towards Simon Mignolet, presumably intending for the goalkeeper to take it.
Fernando Torres turned to look at Attwell, who awarded the infamous "ghost goal" in the Championship two years ago, and the referee immediately waved play on. Keeper Simon Mignolet stood on the edge of his penalty area raising one arm aloft in the vain hope Torres would take pity but the Spaniard was not in a sympathetic mood and rolled a pass for Dirk Kuyt to slide a shot into the net.
Attwell was called into action again in the 25th minute, although this time his decision was a little more straightforward as Ahmed Elmohamady's cross hit Christian Poulsen's arm. Darren Bent's penalty went under Jose Reina's body.
Sunderland went ahead just after the interval. Nedum Onuoha's right-wing cross was a good one but Glen Johnson was caught ball-watching the wrong side of Bent as the striker nipped in at the far post to head his side in front.
With the game seemingly drifting away from them, Liverpool's two star players dragged them back into the contest midway through the half. Torres swung over an inviting cross which Gerrard headed in at the near post, but the sit-in protest against the club's owners at the final whistle only highlighted problems yet to be overcome.