Liverpool vs Sheff Utd preview | Latest team news | Expected line-up’s | Prediction
After successfully mitigating the threat of Ajax in the Champions League in midweek, Liverpool now turn their attention to the Premier League where they host Sheffield United at Anfield tonight [8pm kick-off].
With the Reds gradually coming to terms with the irreparable damage they are going to face following the injury to Virgil van Dijk, the real test for Liverpool begins now as they look to replicate their heroics of last season.
Liverpool’s resilience, depth and quality will be severely tested, and how successfully they can deal with van Dijk’s absence may define their season.
Chris Wilder’s side have made a stuttering start to the 2020-21 campaign, as they are yet to win, losing four of their opening five Premier League games.
However, Jurgen Klopp has nothing but deep admiration for the Blades, and he believes they’ve got enough firepower to hurt any Premier League side.
The fixture will also see Liverpool being reunited with Rhian Brewster, the prodigy who left the Reds this summer to join the Blades on a five-year contract for a club-record deal worth £23.5m.
Klopp on Brewster: "We know him well and that's the problem because we know how good he is! We still feel that he's our boy. I wish Sheffield nearly the perfect PL season, just not the two days we play them."
— James Pearce (@JamesPearceLFC) October 23, 2020
Any discussion about Liverpool still revolves around Van Dijk, and how the Reds will shape up without the mercurial Dutchman. Klopp has showered high praise on Fabinho, who is likely to partner Joe Gomez at the back for a while, saying they ‘need to get used to each other’.
Jurgen Klopp on Fabinho/Gomez: "Both can defend. We know Fab can play this position. He played against Bayern at home there and was great. I am not surprised but he needs to get used to it. These boys need to get used to each other." #awlfc [lfc]
— Anfield Watch (@AnfieldWatch) October 23, 2020
Apart from Van Dijk, Liverpool are also missing midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and summer signing Kostas Tsimikas for this game.
However, there is plenty to be optimistic about. The Reds boss has confirmed that apart from those three, everyone else should be in contention to face the Blades. The news would come as a huge relief for the Red as it means the likes of Alisson Becker, Joel Matip and Thiago Alcantara could be in line to feature tonight.
While getting Matip back would solve the centre-back conundrum, the potential return of Alisson and Thiago would lift the spirit of the team enormously as they are both key players.
For the Blades, Simon Moore and Jack O’Connell are long term absentees and they were left out of the Premier League squad until January.
Max Lowe is set to miss the clash as well after being forced off early in his first league start with a concussion. Brewster will be hoping for his first start against his former club, while Ethan Ampadu could return.
Liverpool: Adrian, Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, Fabinho, Robertson; Keita, Henderson, Wijnaldum; Mane, Firmino, Salah.
Sheffield United: Ramsdale, Basham, Ampadu, Egan; Stevens, Berge, Norwood, Lundstram, Baldock; Brewster, McBurnie.
Liverpool 3-0 Sheff Utd: Liverpool generally don’t drop points at Anfield, and they would be hungry to get back to winning ways in the Premier League after the frustrating draw at Everton last weekend.
The Reds won 27 of their last 28 matches in the Premier League, and they should see this game through against a side that are probably suffering from a second season syndrome.
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