A dominant Liverpool FC struggled to get out of the game at bottom club Sheffield United, who had changed their manager the day before. Van Dijk nevertheless put his team on the road to victory, scoring the decisive 2:0 late on
Liverpool FC were in for a bit of a surprise on matchday 15 of the Premier League. Bottom side Sheffield United had released coach Paul Heckingbottom just one day earlier and replaced him with returnee Chris Wilder. He made five changes after the 5-0 debacle against Burnley, bringing in Bogle, Vinicius Souza, Brooks, McAtee and Osula for Norwood, Fleck, Thomas (all bench), Baldock (injured) and McBurnie (suspended).
The Reds had recently struggled against FC Fulham, but ultimately prevailed 4-3. However, the second-placed team had to improve on Arsenal’s 4-3 win over Luton the previous day. Klopp made four substitutions: In addition to the injured Matip, who was replaced by Konaté, Tsimikas, Gravenberch and Darwin moved to the bench and were replaced by Gomez, Endo and Gakpo.
Although the visitors took control from the start, defensively Liverpool looked vulnerable on the counter-attack. Kelleher saved from McAtee after just twelve minutes, after Gomez had carelessly lost the ball
Van Dijk creates space and scores
Despite total superiority in terms of possession, Liverpool did not manage much from the game. The promoted Konaté went close with a header, but Foderingham was on hand (24′). The goal was to come anyway, as one of nine corners in the first half led to success. Ahmedhodzic went to ground in a duel with van Dijk following a feed from Alexander-Arnold – but neither referee Simon Hooper nor the VAR recognized a foul. The Dutchman was completely unmarked and volleyed home (37′) to take a 1:0 lead at the break
After the break, little changed at first. Sheffield battled, Liverpool had the ball – and the first dangerous chance came, how could it be otherwise, after an Alexander-Arnold corner: this time Salah volleyed over from the penalty spot, but Foderingham reacted strongly, deflecting the ball over the bar and denying the Egyptian his 200th goal for the Reds (55′).
Foderingham saves against Darwin
Liverpool failed to create any more chances from that point on and to wrap things up. It was only after 77 minutes that things got dangerous again, but Darwin failed to beat Foderingham after a fine pass from Alexander-Arnold.
Sheffield remained courageous and continued to attack, but only got into dangerous situations after mistakes by the Reds. Gomez made one of these again shortly before the end, inviting McAtee into the box, where he first beat three defenders and then went to ground after a slight push from Konaté (87′) – but the whistle was not blown. A short time later, Bogle missed a volley from a promising position (89).
Darwin stalks, Szoboszlai converts
In stoppage time, Szoboszlai drew a collective sigh of relief from the Liverpool fans. After Darwin had won the ball 30 meters from goal with a sliding tackle, he found the Hungarian free in the penalty area, who did not miss the chance (90+4).
The Reds ultimately ran out 2-0 winners at Bramall Lane and moved two points clear of leaders Arsenal in the table. However, Sheffield should also take heart from their first appearance since Wilder’s return, as the Blades performed much better than in the previous weeks
For Liverpool, the Europa League continues on Thursday (18:45) at Union Saint-Gilloise – but the Reds already have the group win in the bag. In the league, they host Manchester United in the top match on Sunday (5.30pm). Sheffield will face Brentford at home on Saturday (4pm).