Sheffield United vs. Liverpool
| Saturday, September 28th |
Premier League | Bramall Lane
12:30PM BST / 7:30AM EST
It’s been a perfectly balanced return to the Premier League for Sheffield United. The South Yorkshire club have a record of two wins, two draws, and two losses from their opening six matches. One of those draws was against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. That’s a fine achievement for a newly-promoted side, regardless of Frank Lampard’s young and inconsistent group in London. But the Blades have also lost all three points to the likes of Southampton and Leicester City at home.
Last weekend Chris Wilder’s team won on the road at Everton 2-0. Now, United’s players will look to build on that impressive away win with another strong display at their own Bramall Lane stadium on Saturday.
Sheffield are currently in a six-way tie for seventh in the league along with Crystal Palace, Chelsea, Burnley, Manchester United, and Tottenham Hotspur. The season is still very young so there’s not point in Sheffield’s supporters getting too carried away with their table position. But still, not bad.
Wilder has a fully fit squad and is expected to field his strongest side against Liverpool.
Projected Liverpool Lineup (4-3-3)
Adrián; Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Van Dijk, Robertson; Fabinho, Wijnaldum, Henderson; Mané, Firmino, Salah
Jürgen Klopp was able to rest his preferred XI during the week’s League Cup match at MK Dons. So, all the familiar faces should be back in the team on Saturday.
Alisson remains in recovery, so Adrián will keep his place in goal. The defense likely stays the same as it ever was. Joël Matip and Virgil Van Dijk are this season’s Joe Gomez and Van Dijk. Matip has been crazy good, would recommend.
Klopp’s midfield is less predictable but I’m going with the tried and true trio of Fabinho, Georginio Wijnaldum, and Jordan Henderson. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Naby Keita in the starting bunch, though. Keita played on Wednesday but was substituted after 63 minutes. If Klopp wants the Guinean to build up match fitness, another 60 plus at Sheffield might do the trick.
Aside from Alisson (and Nathaniel Clyne if you’re keeping score at home), Xherdan Shaqiri is the only guaranteed absence for Klopp. Sadio Mané and James Milner have both recovered from minor injuries this week and are in contention for Saturday’s game.
Sheffield’s 1-0 loss to Southampton is the only match where they haven’t scored a goal. But aside from Chelsea, the Blades haven’t faced any high-flying top 6 teams yet. These matches against newly-promoted sides can be difficult, and have been for Liverpool over much of the last decade. But with the way Klopp has his team cooking, I’m allowing myself to feel confident. It’s actually kind of nice.
What the Managers Said
Jürgen Klopp: “Since I’m in I’ve followed the Championship a lot and I know how competitive the league is. Going up the way they did, against the teams like Leeds and Derby last year, it’s a big one. For sure, a really great coach and I’m looking forward to facing his team.”
Chris Wilder: “They’ve caused better sides than us untold problems in terms of the way they move the ball around the pitch and the way they attack with pace and quality, so we know we will need to be at our very best.”
Referee: Anthony Taylor
Assistant referees: Gary Beswick, Adam Nunn
Fourth official: Oliver Langford
VAR: David Coote
Assistant VAR: Andy Halliday
Kickoff is set for 12:30PM GMT/7:30AM EST tomorrow, and television listings for the match can be found on LiveSoccerTV.
In the meantime, and as always, we’ll be keeping you updated with all the buildup to the game, including team news as it’s released, our live matchday thread, and post-match recaps from The Liverpool Offside staff. If you want to join the discussion, sign up for an SB Nation account to have your say on the action as it happens.