Liverpool 2 - 0 Sheffield United
Reds: Salah 4’, Mane 64’
Naby Keita was supposed to get the start, but was injured during pregame warm ups. So, great start. Regardless, Klopp runs out a strong line-up, including the best back five and best front three in the world. Hopefully they have enough in the tank to make it through one last Premier League holiday fixture.
GOAL! Liverpool are gifted a golden opportunity when the Sheffield United defender slips while trying to track an Andy Robertson run into the final third. Robbo takes a touch, looks up in acres of space, and squares it to Salah to finish first time. 1-0 to the Scousers!
Salah apparently isn’t finished testing the keeper. The midfielder Henderson picks him out with a fantastic ball, and Mo hits a first time effort bound for the top corner. But the keeper Henderson is equal to the challenge, tipping it out for a corner.
Virgil van Dijk apparently got bored passing it around the back, and decided to just go on a rampaging run that ended with a 1-2 on the edge of the box. He clearly doesn’t want to hear any more hype about Sheffield United’s overlapping center backs.
Half an hour gone and Liverpool are bossing proceedings all over the pitch. Salah has yet another shot tipped around the bar, and the home side look far more likely to get a second (or more) than the visitors look to get a first.
Liverpool end the half with a great deal of possession, but little to show for it. The Reds dominant in and out of possession, but another goal (or more) would be deserved and put a lot of minds at ease.
It’s another dominant, albeit frustrating opening fifteen minutes of the half. The closest Liverpool come to scoring is a long range effort from Firmino that fizzes just high and wide, and from a poorly timed nap from the Sheffield United keeper. On the latter instance, the Sheff United keeper thinks a cross is going wide, but it rattles off the inside of the post and nearly in.
Regardless, the home side is in control, and Jordan Henderson seems to be everywhere on the pitch tonight. Impressive considering the amount of minutes he’s played in recent weeks.
GOAL!! Alisson, Robbo, Mane, Salah, and Mane again combine on a quick counter to double their lead. Salah and Mane play a clever 1-2 in the box, forcing a great save from the keeper. However, Mane stays cool and collects the rebound, slamming it home from close range.
A moment later, Bobby should have made it three. Alexander-Arnold’s cross picks out the Brazilian in front of goal, but he’s well marked, and can’t force a shot on target.
With fifteen minutes to go, Jurgen Klopp makes his first sub, bringing on Divock Origi for Mane. The Senegalese forward was fantastic tonight, up to and including his goal.
As we approach the 90th minute Sheffield United create their biggest chance of the night when McBurnie is unmarked at the back post. But Alisson is up to the challenge, keeping that sheet clean.
Klopp makes his final two subs, bringing Adam Lallana on for Andy Robertson, and Premier League debutante Harvey Elliott on for Mo Salah. Victory lap, this.
The Reds have gone a full calendar year without a league defeat. Enjoy these moment, y’all. Liverpool reestablish their 13 point cushion at the top of the table with a near-perfect performance to close out the holiday fixture list.