Jordan Henderson led by example as goals by Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane enabled Liverpool to cruise to a 2-0 win over Sheffield United on Thursday.
Liverpool started the match in the most ideal of fashions, as Mohamed Salah put them in front after meeting Andrew Robertson’s precise cross in the fourth minute. Minutes later Sheffield United did have a sight at goal, with Alisson Becker rebuffing David McGoldrick. That, though, was the closest the visitors came to getting a goal back for the rest of the game.
The game was put to bed in the 64th minute as Sadio Mane scored at the end of a breathtaking counter-attacking move. That goal was enough to hand Liverpool all three points, with the Reds now unbeaten in the Premier League for one whole year. The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over Jurgen Klopp’s men.
Alisson Becker: 7/10
There was not an awful lot that Alisson needed to do to ensure he kept an seventh clean sheet in his last eight outings. Reacted well to save David McGoldrick’s volley and was in the right place at the right time to stop Oliver McBurnie’s wicked, albeit powerless header. Initiated the counter that led to Mane’s goal.
Trent Alexander-Arnold: 7/10
There was nothing spectacular on show from Alexander-Arnold on the night, but the youngster still produced quite a professional display, one that ensured Liverpool’s dominance in the game. Kept things simple for the most part and kept play ticking.
Some of his numbers were still quite impressive, though, as Alexander-Arnold played in 7 accurate long balls, made 2 key passes and created 1 big chance. Essentially a creative midfielder playing as a full-back.
Joe Gomez: 8/10
Another game which has seen Joe Gomez’s stock rise further. Bar one minor error, the Englishman was rarely troubled at the back and even then, he had Virgil van Dijk cleaning up after him. Made a staggering 11 recoveries, while also winning 3 duels and remaining assured with the ball at his feet all game long. Ought to have nailed down his place alongside van Dijk for the long-term.
Virgil van Dijk: 8/10
Quite a colossal performance by Liverpool’s defensive leader. With van Dijk in command in central defence, it never looked as if the Reds would concede to Sheffield United. The Dutchman completed 95 percent of his passes, linking up well with Jordan Henderson. He also won 6 duels, made 4 recoveries and 5 clearances. Solid.
Andrew Robertson: 8/10
It had been a couple of games now that Robertson was not quite at his best and was overshadowed by Alexander-Arnold on the opposite flank. On Thursday, however, it was Robertson’s chance to shine, starting with a pinpoint cross to set Salah up for the opener.
Thereafter, he was in his elements, producing many-a bustling run and creating the most chances in the game (6). Never shirked from his defensive responsibilities either, whenever required, making 4 recoveries while also winning 2 duels. Back to his very best.
Georginio Wijnaldum: 7/10
As is typical of Wijnaldum, he was quietly effective in the middle of the park for Liverpool. With Henderson pulling the strings in midfield, Wijnaldum made for an able support cast, making 6 recoveries. Nearly scored in the first quarter of the game as well, and made himself available high up the pitch too.
Jordan Henderson: 9/10
Yet another performance that showcased just how well Henderson has done to ensure Liverpool have coped up just fine in the absence of Fabinho. Sitting at the base of the three-man midfield, the Liverpool captain pulled the strings effortlessly, taking advantage of the Sheffield United high line with his trademark long passes.
Henderson sent in the most accurate long balls on the night (9) while also creating 4 chances. His defensive job was rather straightforward, with Wijnaldum and James Milner supporting him well. A team-high 12 recoveries illustrates just how efficient Henderson was on Thursday. It is very hard to imagine a Liverpool side without their vocal and brilliant leader.
James Milner: 7/10
A late change to the starting lineup saw Milner being thrust into the thick of action after Naby Keita picked up an injury in pre-match training. Much like Wijnaldum, it was a quietly decent showing from the industrious Milner, who also made 1 key pass. Always does the job required of him.
Mohamed Salah: 8/10
Without a goal in four games, it was evident just how relieved Salah was when he found the back of the net early into the game. In fact, this was arguably the sharpest Salah has looked in the final third since the comfortable win over Bournemouth last month.
The Egyptian was always in the thick of the action and if not for the brilliant Dean Henderson, he might even have had a hat-trick to show for his efforts. Nevertheless, this was a superb showing by Salah, who made 3 key passes, including the ingenious exchange with Mane that ended with the second goal of the game.
Roberto Firmino: 6/10
After three top notch performances, Firmino was far from his best against Wolves. And, it was more of the same when Sheffield United paid Liverpool a visit. While he did put in the hard yards, winning 4 duels and making 1 recovery, his passing lacked the required crispness (74 percent rate) and his shooting was off as well.
Sadio Mane: 8/10
Sadio Mané’s game by numbers vs. Sheffield United:
86% pass accuracy
11 touches in opp. box
7 take-ons attempted
5 take-ons completed
3 shots on target
2 aerial duels won
1 chance created
Another amazing Anfield display. 👏 pic.twitter.com/OpR1ziGHDg
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) January 2, 2020
Liverpool’s in-form forward left his mark on yet another game. Linked up well with Salah all game long and would have had an assist to show for his efforts, if not for the Egyptian’s poor finish. As for the aforementioned mark, Mane sealed things off, an hour after Salah put Liverpool ahead, at the end of a peachy move. Afforded a breather for the final 15 minutes of the game.
Divock Origi: N/A
On for Mane in the 78th minute, Origi was barely involved as Liverpool eased to their win over Sheffield United.
Adam Lallana: N/A
A late introduction in place of Robertson, Lallana was a pair of fresh legs towards the end of the game.
Harvey Elliott: N/A
Elliott made his Premier League debut in Liverpool colours, but did not even have time to get a touch on the ball. A memorable night nonetheless.