Liverpool take on Sheffield United at Bramall Lane on Saturday, knowing a win would take them eight points clear of Man City ahead of their trip to Everton.
Sheffield United vs. Liverpool
Saturday, September 28, 2019 – 12.30pm (BST)
Referee: Anthony Taylor
It’s almost two years since Liverpool lost a match against a team outside the top six, but the Reds haven’t won at Bramall Lane since August 1990.
Liverpool visit somewhat of a bogey side this weekend, with a well-rested group of players seeking make it seven victories out of seven to begin this Premier League season.
It’s now 15 league wins on the bounce and Klopp’s men are red-hot favourites to add three more points to their tally against the newly-promoted Blades.
This will be no walkover, however, as Liverpool come up against a side who sit 10th in the table, having earned four points from trips to Chelsea and Everton this season.
Chris Wilder has his side well-drilled and awkward to play against, with his roaming centre-backs catching the eye.
In terms of individual quality Liverpool are on another level to their opponents, but if they start slowly they could come unstuck.
Another win would put even more pressure on City.
There are no new injury problems for Klopp to contend with, although he is still without some prominent figures.
Alisson continues to work hard in his recovery and is expected to train with the squad for the first time on Sunday, but Nathaniel Clyne is a long-term absentee.
Xherdan Shaqiri is also out with a calf issue, but Naby Keita is in contention to start and Divock Origi trained late in the week.
Having completely changed his team at MK Dons, there is every chance that Klopp will pick the same XI that started at Chelsea.
That means Adrian, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Joel Matip, Virgil van Dijk and Andy Robertson should all return in defence.
There is no reason not to play Fabinho, Jordan Henderson and Gini Wijnaldum, although the latter has been relatively quiet of late, so Keita or Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain would represent a more exciting option.
Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino are once again fit and raring to go—Mane has recovered from the knock that ruled him out of the MK Dons game.
Sheffield United almost have a fully fit squad, but David McGoldrick could miss out with a groin injury and veteran striker Billy Sharp is suspended.
Last 5 Against Sheffield United (All Competitions)
Won 4-0 (H) – February 2007 (Fowler pens x2, Hyypia, Gerrard)
Drew 1-1 (A) – August 2006 (Hulse; Fowler pen)
Won 2-0 (H) – January 2003 (Diouf, Owen)
Lost 2-1 (A) – January 2003 (Tonge x2; Mellor)
Lost 2-1 (H) – April 1994 (Rush; Flo x2)
Away fans’ pubs: The Globe
One piece of advice for visiting fans: Make a weekend of it and sample some of the real ale hotspots we have in Kelham Island.
Did You Know?
Liverpool have never won at Bramall Lane in the Premier League, playing there three times in total.
The Blades were victorious back in September 1992, thanks to a solitary Adrian Littlejohn goal, before a goalless draw on Boxing Day in 1993.
The last league meeting came on the opening day of the 2006/07 season, when a Robbie Fowler penalty earned a point for Rafa Benitez’s Reds, following a Rob Hulse opener.
Incidentally, Bramall Lane is one of only three grounds that Liverpool have failed to win at in the Premier League—the City Ground (Nottingham Forest) and Bloomfield Road (Blackpool) are the others.
Sheffield United – Last five results (all competitions)
Lost 1-0 vs. Sunderland
Won 2-0 vs. Everton
Lost 1-0 vs. Southampton
Drew 2-2 vs. Chelsea
Won 2-1 vs. Blackburn
Liverpool – Last five results (all competitions)
Won 2-0 vs. MK Dons
Won 2-1 vs. Chelsea
Lost 2-0 vs. Napoli
Won 3-1 vs. Newcastle
Won 3-0 vs. Burnley
Speaking on Friday, Klopp lauded the job Wilder is doing at Bramall Lane, highlighting what makes his side such a taxing opponent:
“It’s incredible what Chris is doing there. I’m looking forward to meeting him, to be honest. It’s the first time that we’ll see each other.
“I saw his team play now, in the analysis period you always see a lot, the team is really interesting. What they do, they do really well, in the system they play.
“Really aggressive, good pressing, a lot of things, and of course when they have the ball it’s a slightly interesting pattern, when the centre-halves overlap whoever is there, the winger or whatever. That’s interesting.
“So yes, for sure a really great coach and I’m looking forward to facing his team.”
TV & Liveblog Info
Sheffield United vs. Liverpool is live on BT Sport 1 from midday (BST), with kickoff at 12.30pm.
Chris Williams is in charge of This is Anfield’s matchday liveblog, keeping you company from 11.45am and hopefully talking you through yet another Reds victory.