Jurgen Klopp‘s team have won some games this season with their customary all-out-attack, free-scoring style, while others have been won with a strong defensive line and mental resilience.
This time it was another type entirely: fortunate, dogged and hard-fought, as the Blades pushed the Reds all the way and a host of opportunities were spurned by the front line.
Gini Wijnaldum scored the winner when his strike from the edge of the box was fumbled by the goalkeeper Dean Henderson, through his own legs and over the line.
The Reds stay top as a result, five points clear, but the performances were decidedly mixed throughout the team.
The front three have at times been heralded as the all-important part of this Liverpool side, but none really came in for much credit at Bramall Lane.
At the other end of the pitch, Virgil van Dijk (8.1) was the highest-rated player for the Reds, with TIA’s Henry Jackson suggesting this type of performance “is why Van Dijk the best centre-back in the world.”
The clean sheet was hard-won, though, and Trent Alexander-Arnold (5.9) in particular had a tough time defensively and wasn’t productive in attack, either—he received the lowest average rating from This Is Anfield readers and the third-lowest score in Liverpool‘s lineup overall.
On the opposite side of the pitch, Andy Robertson (6.3) seemed to divide opinion; a couple of scores rated him at seven, but the Echo‘s Ian Doyle suggested the Scottish international “struggled with his touch.”
Goalscorer Wijnaldum (6.6) was neat, but largely ineffective, with his passing—and his deflected effort perhaps helped boost his eventual rating in the eyes of some.
Fabinho (7.0) and Joel Matip (7.2) both continued their recent consistent good form, with the Cameroonian lauded by the Mirror‘s David Anderson for winning “a key header against McBurnie” while the Brazilian “rarely wasted a pass.”
Firmino was “our best player” for The Redmen TV, but elsewhere it was Van Dijk who took that award for other outlets and indeed the TIA readers.
Attentions now turn to Europe, as the Reds aim for a first three points in this season’s Champions League group stage at home to RB Salzburg.