- Liverpool holds 5-point lead over Man City
- Sheffield United 10th through six games
- Liverpool has never won at Bramall Lane in PL play
The early morning Saturday match sees the current Premier League leaders look to keep a stranglehold on the top spot with a trip to newly promoted Sheffield United at 7:30 a.m ET live on NBCSN or live online at NBCSports.com.
The Blades are rested and ready, having made 10 midweek changes in the League Cup hoping to keep the regulars fresh for a clash with the leaders. David McGoldrick will miss out with injury while Billy Sharp completes a three-match ban, but Sheffield United is otherwise at full strength. Their results this season have been a mixed bag, but a convincing road win last weekend over Everton proves they are not to be taken lightly and could be more of a threat to stay up than many thought to start the campaign.
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Liverpool has yet to fall in Premier League play this season, and while the Champions League opener at Napoli didn’t go the Reds’ way, they bounced back nicely with a quality road victory at Stanford Bridge last time out. They’ve won 15 league matches in a row dating back to last season, all the way back to their fateful loss to Manchester City that likely cost them the league title.
James Milner seems to be ok despite a midweek back problem against MK Dons, as is Sadio Mane. Alisson is nearing a return to training but will not be ready for this weekend, while Xherdan Shaqiri remains sidelined.
The Reds will be facing a dubious record at Bramall Lane, one of just three grounds Liverpool has played at in Premier League action and not won. They have two draws and a loss at the Sheffield United ground in their last three top flight matches there, with the last victory coming in 1990 when the hosts were forced to play defender John Pemberton in goal thanks to an early injury.
Sheffield United: OUT – David McGoldrick (groin), Bobby Sharp (suspended).
Liverpool: OUT – Xherdan Shaqiri (calf), Alisson (calf). QUESTIONABLE – James Milner (back), Sadio Mane (dead leg), Divock Origi (ankle).
Sheffield United: Henderson; Egan, Basham, O’Connell; Stevens, Norwood, Lundstram, Fleck, Baldock; McBurnie, Robinson.
Liverpool: Adrian; Robertson, Van Dijk, Matip, Alexander-Arnold; Wijnaldum, Fabinho, Henderson; Mane, Firmino, Salah.
What they’re saying
Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder on Jurgen Klopp: “There are all sorts of different aspects in successful managers but I love his connection with his players. There’s a genuine affection from him for them, and vice versa as well. Even the players who aren’t heavily involved. And his connection with the fans is there to be seen.”
Liverpool manager Klopp on playing Sheffield for the first time: “It’s really interesting what they do. In the system they play it’s really aggressive, good pressing. Then of course when they have the ball they have this interesting pattern where the centre halves overlap. I’m four years in England so I don’t know everything about the clubs historically, but it seems to be a big club.”
Liverpool will face a tough test, but Klopp seems rightly prepared on how the opponent will play. Being aggressive against Liverpool can lead to deadly mistakes, and while Sheffield may find a goal against Liverpool’s defense that has been spotty this season, they won’t find enough. The Reds win 3-1 for their first Premier League win at Bramall Lane.