Sheffield United 0 - 1 Liverpool
Liverpool: Wijnaldum 69’
No surprises in the line-up as Liverpool prepare to take on Sheffield United in rainy South Yorkshire.
Sheffield’s game plan is clear in these first 10 minutes. It’s been Liverpool with the bulk of the possession, but Sheffield have had some success countering quickly on the break. They’re taking advantage of Alexander-Arnold playing so high up the pitch to try and get in behind him. It’s happened three times early on in this game, but so far Trent has been up to the task of reversing course and making up ground stifling danger.
Liverpool’s passing is not quite as incisive as we’ve become used to. They’ve been completely toothless in the 18-yard box for the first 20 minutes. Sheffield are proving to be a disciplined and well-drilled team, responding well to Liverpool’s attempts to find a way through.
You’d be forgiven for not realizing that Firmino was on the pitch. Sheffield is doing an excellent job of nullifying him in the final third, which has taken away much of Liverpool’s creativity. The Reds need to be patient and find a way through when Sheffield begin to tire.
33’ - Mané gets the best chance of the game when Salah finds him behind the Sheffield defense, but Mané wings the shot high and wide of the goal.
43’ - Much, much better as the half has gone on, but Firmino chooses to pass when he has a clear shot on goal. Mané hits the post after a nice, swift build-up from the team inside the box. It’s frustrating, but this team has earned the benefit of the doubt that they’ll find a way to break through.
The first half ends goalless. The second half could use some spark from Liverpool, maybe a change in the midfield to get Oxlade-Chamberlain in the game.
Sheffield start off the second half with a quick corner.
56’ - Mané is denied a clear and obvious penalty that is not given by the referee or VAR. Will we ever see VAR overturn a referee’s decision again? Will a referee ever call a clear and obvious penalty when they see it instead of letting VAR handle it?
69’ - GOAAAAALLLL!!!!! - It’s almost against the run of play, but Liverpool get lucky. Wijnaldum gets a shot off outside of the box. The Sheffield goalkeeper, Henderson, nearly blocks it, but it dribbles past his hands and into the back of the net. I’ll take it.
To their credit, Sheffield United has not let their mistake get their heads down. They are searching for the equalizer and making these last few minutes very uncomfortable for the Reds.
Liverpool just barely did the thing, and that’s seven games from seven and 21 points to their name. Adrian gets another clean sheet. We get another Gini smile. Have a good weekend, everyone. This team, this team, this team.