Liverpool started 2020 with yet another Anfield win, dispatching Sheffield United 2-0 with a dominant and confident display in the Premier League.
Liverpool 2-0 Sheffield United
Premier League, Anfield
January 2, 2020
Goals: Salah 4′, Mane 64′
Alisson (out of 10) – 7
Good save to stop David McGoldrick early on. Didn’t have much else to do in the first half.
Wasn’t sure he actually played the second half until he made a goal-line save in the 88th minute.
Didn’t see the best of his crossing in the first half, but one corner was really wicked and almost gave the Reds another chance. A great outlet in open play and helped the team keep up pressure.
A bit sloppy with his passes at times but played his part in the total dominance.
Joe Gomez – 9
So, so, so good. Barely looked like he had any defending to do, which is just what you want to think about your centre-backs—but every time he needed to clean up, he did it perfectly.
Crisp passing, speedy recoveries, strong in the tackle.
Virgil van Dijk – 9
Wins the headers. Wins the challenges. Wins the ball wherever it is. Brilliant last-man tackle against a counter just before half time.
Fouled a couple of times in the box which didn’t get picked up—pretty much par for the course these days.
Andy Robertson – 7
Some suggestions that he lacked energy against Wolves; clearly he had an infusion of Irn-Bru since then, as he was his usual bustling and brilliant self from minute one here.
Calm and accurate with his early cross to set up the opening goal.
Not hugely involved in the second half other than as the ‘wall’ for the attackers to break into the area after exchanging passes with.
Jordan Henderson – 9 (Man of the Match)
Some wayward passing from deep in the first half from the skipper, but apart from that he was near-faultless.
Also a couple of very nice, clipped deliveries into the area which created chances.
Very good in helping to win the ball back quickly and immediately put the team on the front foot. Won the ball in the air, stole in to regain possession when United players were on their heels and generally bossed the game.
Currently enjoying his best run of form in a long time.
Gini Wijnaldum – 8
Strong in winning back possession and very hard to take it off again afterward. Very impressive first half from the No. 5.
Quietly effective more than anything else, but we almost got to see his Netherlands-esque attacking self with a few dribbles and sights of shots in the second half.
James Milner – 7
A late call-up to the side after Naby Keita was injured in the warmup.
Didn’t really put a foot wrong in the opening 45, though was the least involved out the three in the centre.
Mohamed Salah – 8
Good movement in the opening few minutes saw him create an opening, get caught offside and then bury the very first chance of the game.
Looked really sharp with his runs in the channels, but should have done better with another chance after being put in by Sadio Mane‘s backheel.
Linked well with Mane all game long and threaded a fine pass for his team-mate’s goal.
Sadio Mane – 8
Another impressive display. United’s defenders were scared of tackling him once he got running and Mane was the best link in attack the Reds had.
Unreal running and linkup with Mo for the Reds’ second goal, a one-two over about 40 yards of the pitch.
Roberto Firmino – 7
A few awkward moments early on where his passing and touch looked off the pace, but he constantly found good positions to receive the ball in and helped open up United with his surges from deep.
Just needed that final pass to be either quicker or more accurate.
Looked much sharper in the second half; almost scored an absolute screamer from the left side of the area.
Divock Origi (on for Mane, 78′) – 6
Barely got a kick with the game winding down until he made a last-man tackle in his own box.
Adam Lallana (on for Robertson, 88′) – N/A
His haircut looked pretty sharp.
Harvey Elliott (on for Salah, 90+2′) – N/A
Just about crossed the white line before the whistle went; a big day for him nonetheless.
Subs not used: Adrian, Phillips, N.Williams, Jones
Jurgen Klopp – 8
Can’t argue with the performance.
The Reds were dominant, controlled the areas the game was played in and took the couple of clear chances which came their way—a good, comfortable win.
Klopp only made one change, which itself was changed when Keita went out injured in the warmup, but clearly had confidence that his team had enough energy to produce a winning display.
Could have brought Elliott on for more than 20 seconds, mind!