Liverpool will aim to continue their perfect start to the season when they take on Sheffield United at Bramall Lane on Saturday afternoon.
September has been a busy month for clubs in Europe and we are already at the onset of Gameweek 7 in the Premier League. Table toppers Liverpool will kick things off this weekend, when they travel to South Yorkshire to face Sheffield United at Bramall Lane in Saturday’s lunch-time kick-off.
Sheffield United continue to impress on their return to the Premier League. Chris Wilder’s men have propelled themselves up to 10th on the table, thanks to impressive results against Chelsea and Everton, who they beat last weekend at Goodison Park. But, the Blades come into the game against Liverpool on the back of a shock defeat in the Carabao Cup at the hands of Sunderland.
The Reds, on the other hand, were victorious in the League Cup, with youngsters making a mark in the 2-0 win over MK Dons. In the Premier League, there has been no stopping Liverpool, who are six for six and extended their club-record 15-game winning run in the top-flight at Chelsea last weekend.
The spoils were shared the last time Sheffield United hosted Liverpool at Bramall Lane, with a Robbie Fowler penalty cancelling Rob Hulse’s 46th minute opener. Ahead of the latest meeting between the two sides, The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at the Premier League encounter.
Team News & Tactics
Chris Wilder only has a couple of pressing concerns ahead of the visit of Liverpool. David McGoldrick is struggling with a groin injury he sustained a couple of weeks ago, while star striker Billy Sharp is suspended after being sent off in the defeat to Southampton earlier this month.
Sharp will be serving the last of his three-match ban and even though he, alongside McGoldrick, remains sidelined, Wilder has enough firepower in the attacking department to compensate for the absence of the duo.
In fact, the Sheffield United boss has a difficult decision to make after Lys Mousset staked claim for a starting berth against Liverpool by netting the second goal in the 2-0 win at Everton last weekend. Mousset could come into the side in place of Callum Robinson, with Oliver McBurnie being his strike partner.
As always, Wilder will line his side up in a 3-5-2 formation, with the width being provided by the wing-backs. The three central defenders will also play a key role in build-up play, with the trio linking up with the wing-back pairing and John Lundstram, who will be the creator in chief for the hosts.
Lundstram will sit alongside John Fleck and Oliver Norwood in the middle of the park, with Fleck being the workhorse, while Norwood, who will don the armband for Sheffield United, playing the Anchor Man role. George Baldock and Enda Stevens will be the two wing-backs.
At the back, John Egan, Jack O’Connell and Chris Basham will form the back-three. Dean Henderson should take his place in the Sheffield United goal, where he will likely be a busy man up against the mighty Liverpool attack.
Probable Lineup (3-5-2): Henderson; Basham, Egan, O’Connell; Baldock, Lundstram, Norwood, Fleck, Stevens; McBurnie, Mousset
Jurgen Klopp has seen his squad’s injury woes ease up ahead of the trip to Sheffield United. The Liverpool boss is still without the services of first-choice goalkeeper Alisson Becker. But, the good news is that the Brazilian custodian is expected to resume training this weekend and will soon be in contention to start once again.
Another positive bit of news is that Divock Origi is fit and available after missing the last three games due to an ankle injury. Origi, though, is unlikely to start, with Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino expected to return to the lineup.
As for selection in midfield, Klopp is likely to have one eye on next week’s UEFA Champions League fixture against Red Bull Salzburg. As a result, Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson could be rested, with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain expected to keep his place in the middle of the park.
Oxlade-Chamberlain should have Fabinho and Georginio Wijnaldum for company in the three-man midfield unit. While Oxlade-Chamberlain will be tasked with driving the team forward and linking up with attack, Wijnaldum will provide an energetic presence in the middle of the park and Fabinho will look to open up play and stifle the Sheffield United in their build-up.
At the back, there is no looking past the first-choice defensive quartet of Virgil van Dijk, Joel Matip, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andrew Robertson. And, in the absence of Alisson, Adrian will line up between the sticks for Liverpool.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Adrian; Alexander-Arnold, Matip, van Dijk, Robertson; Oxlade-Chamberlain, Fabinho, Wijnaldum; Salah, Firmino, Mane
1. Both Teams to Score – YES @ 1.80
2. Liverpool Asian Handicap -1.0 @ 1.525
1. Oliver McBurnie to score anytime @ 4.00
- Liverpool have never won a Premier League match at Bramall Lane in three attempts (D2 L1), managing to find the back of the net just once.
- Liverpool have won their last 12 Premier League matches against newly-promoted sides, scoring 35 times and conceding only four goals in this run. The last team to have a longer winning streak versus newly-promoted teams were Tottenham (16 wins between 2015 and 2018).
- All seven of Sheffield United’s Premier League goals have been scored by different players this season (including two own goals).
- Liverpool are unbeaten in their last 23 Premier League games, winning the last 15 in a row – a club record. Only between May 1987 and March 1988 did the Reds have a longer run in top-flight history without being beaten (31 games).
- Sheffield United will be the 24th different side Mohamed Salah will have faced with Liverpool in the Premier League. He has scored against 21 of the previous 23, only failing to find the back of the net against Swansea City (two games) and Manchester United (four matches).
Player to Watch
It has been a decent start to his maiden Premier League campaign for Dean Henderson, who is seemingly settling in well in the top-flight. The Manchester United loanee has committed the odd error, but he has also made some decisive saves that have bolstered Sheffield United’s cause.
The Blades’ next opponents, Liverpool, are one of Manchester United’s bitter rivals. And so, Henderson has the added motivation of delivering a top class performance when the Merseyside club come visiting at Bramall Lane on Saturday.
In doing so, Henderson could help Sheffield United rack up another impressive result against a marquee Premier League side. Can the 22-year-old add another feather in his proverbial cap?
Sheffield United 1-2 Liverpool
The first fixture of Gameweek 7 pits the two most miserly defensive units in the early stages of the Premier League season. But, Sheffield United and Liverpool also boast some exciting talents in front of their respective defences, even though numbers do not suggest so for the hosts.
Sheffield United ought to pose a lot of danger in set-piece situations, while John Lundstram will be a major threat pulling the strings in the middle of the park. Having said that, Liverpool just cannot stop winning domestically at the moment and have come to be known to grind out results against the most stubborn of sides.
Expect a keenly contested affair, but one in which the Premier League leaders should prevail in the end. The Hard Tackle predicts a 2-1 win for Jurgen Klopp & co. in a result that will help them consolidate their place atop the table.