The party plan for Liverpool’s arrival as Premier League champions appears to be a waltz.
The Reds danced past Sheffield United 2-0 at Anfield with little worry, getting goals from Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane.
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Liverpool increases its lead to 13 points and still holds a match-in-hand on the chasing pack. The Reds outshot the Blades 19-3 and had 74 percent of the ball.
The two goals come against the third stingiest defense in the league. Sheffield United now sits eighth with 29 points.
Three things we learned
1. Reds score on Blades two let-downs: It’s nothing new that Liverpool is quality on the break, but the Premier League leaders were merciless given two chances at Anfield. The first was Baldock slipping to the turf to allow Robertson to set up Salah, but the second was like a mouse who spied free cheese.
Alisson claimed a looping cross and saw acres of space on his left. A throw to Robertson was quickly at the feet of Mane, who tore down the left before combing with Salah to make it 2-0.
2. Henderson adds to his highlight reel: Twenty-two year old Dean Henderson continues to make a case to both England and parent club Manchester United. The Blades loanee made an incredible stop on Mohamed Salah early in the contest, and had clear command of his box aside from a freak chipped cross from Salah that tapped the post.
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3. Keita injury concern: Naby Keita picked up an injury in warm-ups, plugging James Milner into the Starting XI. Keita had been a revelation in recent weeks, looking exactly like the player he was for RB Leipzig before arriving at Anfield. Liverpool is deep but Keita gives them another level, their best midfield three likely involving him, Fabinho, and Georginio Wijnaldum.
Man of the Match: Salah and Roberto Firmino each had five shot attempts, but the Egyptian’s lightning quick finish to open the scoring was it. Andrew Robertson was also quite good for the presumptive champs.
The festive gifts are carrying over to the New Year for Liverpool, as George Baldock fell down tracking a cross. That allowed Andrew Robertson an unimpeded path to cross for Salah. No problem. 1-0.
It could’ve been two, but Dean Henderson leapt to paw a Salah flick away from frame after Jordan Henderson spotted the Egyptian’s run.
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Mane came down the left and fed Georginio Wijnaldum, who maneuevered in traffic to whip an 18-yard shot wide of the goal.
Henderson saved a Salah shot again in the 30th minute.
The Blades kept the damage at one until the 65th minute, a break fired down the left side. Henderson stopped Mane’s close-range effort, but the Senegalese was first to the rebound.Follow @NicholasMendola