Liverpool vs Sheffield United
| Wednesday, December 6th |
Premier League | Anfield
7:30PM BST / 2:30PM EST
As of this sentence, Arsenal look to be debating whether they should be bundling away a pair of points at Kenilworth Road, opening the door for Liverpool to potentially go top of the table if they can overcome bottom dwellers Sheffield United at Anfield tomorrow night.
It’s been a dreadful start to the season for the Blades, and they currently sit rock bottom in the Premier League, with five points from 14 games and 39 goals conceded, officially the worst defence in Europe’s top five leagues so far this campaign.
Unsurprisingly, this has lead to the sacking of manager Paul Heckingbottom earlier today — following a 5-0 tonking by 19th-placed Burnley at the weekend — and the reappointment of former manager Chris Wilder, although exactly how much impact the man who saw United promoted to the top division back in 2019 will be able to have in less than 24 hours is debatable.
It’s been nearly 30 years since the last time Sheffield Utd won at Anfield, and their odds tomorrow won’t be looking great, espcially when taking into consideration that Wilder will be missing players like Chris Basham, John Egan, Tom Davies and former Red Rhian Brewster through injury, as well as Oliver McBurnie to suspension.
Projected Liverpool Lineup (4-3-3)
Kelleher; Alexander-Arnold, Konaté, van Dijk, Tsimikas; Mac Allister, Jones, Szoboszlai; Diaz, Núñez, Salah
Expect another run-out for the best available XI tomorrow, although the injury Joël Matip suffered on Sunday will rule the Cameroonian out — likely in the medium term — and see Ibrahima Konaté reinstated alongside Virgil van Dijk, with Trent Alexander-Arnold, fresh off his match-winning heroics against Fulham, and Kostas Tsimikas filling in on the flanks. Caoimhín Kelleher maintains his spot between the sticks while Alisson recovers from his injury.
In midfield, Stefan Bajcetic and Thiago remain unavailable, and the main uncertainty will be whether Ryan Gravenberch keeps his starting spot following an uninspired performances on Sunday, or if the Dutchman is replaced by Curtis Jones. Alexis Mac Allister and Dominik Szoboszlai remain locks.
Up top, Cody Gakpo could be in line to replace Luis Díaz on the flank, having looked lively there in midweek, but odds are the Colombian retains his spot alongside the duo of Darwin Núñez and Mohamed Salah. Diogo Jota has yet to return to training following the knock suffered at Manchester City.
What the Managers Said
Jürgen Klopp: “They will be really going for it, I’m 100 per cent sure. And we will as well, I’m 100 per cent sure about that. That’s the only thing I can have real influence in, the rest we will see. But the better we play, the more difficult it will be for Sheffield, and that’s the job we have to do.”
Chris Wilder: “I’ve reminded the players about what the work ethic is. We have to be brave, in and out of possession. It’s not about smashing people all over the place and getting booked or sent off. It’s about asking questions physically. If you sit on the ropes for four or five rounds then someone is going to land on you. You’ve got to swing some punches as well.”
Referee: Simon Hooper
Assistant referees: Simon Long, James Mainwaring
Fourth official: Tony Harrington
VAR: Michael Oliver, Richard West
Kickoff is set for 7:30PM GMT/2:30PM 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.