Liverpool stretched their unbeaten run in the Premier League to more than a year following the 2-0 dismantling of Chris Wilder’s Sheffield United at Anfield in their first game of 2020.
Jürgen Klopp made one change from the side that triumphed over Wolves at the weekend with James Milner coming back into the side to replace Adam Lallana. Naby Keïta was listed in the starting XI, however, an injury in the warm up saw Milner reclaim his spot.
Liverpool started the match quickly, opening the the scoring within the opening minutes of the game through Mohamed Salah.
A ball down the left wing found Andy Robertson in acres of space and the flying Scotsman advanced unchallenged before sliding an inch-perfect ball across the face of goal for Salah to tap in. 1-0 Liverpool after four minutes.
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Sheffield United responded well to going behind, testing Alisson from distance on a couple of occasions. However, the latest recipient of the Samba d’Or was more than a match for the long range attempts as he palmed away the Blades’ shots with ease.
As the minutes on the clock ticked on, Liverpool began to dominate possession and seemed content to park themselves on the edge of the visiting penalty area and knock the ball about.
With this being said, the Reds remained an ever-present danger as they often looked to unlock the Sheffield back line with runs in behind from their famed front three.
It was this tactic that almost saw Salah double Liverpool’s lead as he was released in behind and through on goal. Unfortunately for the Egyptian, the long curling ball was always running away from him with Salah’s eventual effort coming from a tight angle which drew a simple enough stop from Dean Henderson on the Sheffield goal line.
Salah’s effort proved to be Liverpool’s final dangerous attempt on goal in the half, with Klopp’s men going into the break looking comfortable in their lead.
The start of the second half saw Liverpool continue to keep the bulk of possession however, despite all their time on the ball the Reds remained unable to penetrate the Sheffield back line for a second goal.
In fact, the frustration started to show amongst the table toppers as their famed strike force began to let fly from distance.
Roberto Firmino unleashed a lethal curler from the edge of the area which had the Kop on their feet and Henderson scrambling across his goal. The ball looked destined to nest into the top corner of the net but sailed agonisingly wide.
Following this, Salah came as close as you can come to doubling the lead as a lucky attempt bounced along the Sheffield goal line. The Egyptian clipped in a curling cross which bypassed everyone on route to the goal. The ball bounced off the post before ticking across the goal line and into the relieved arms of the Sheffield goalkeeper.
The increased urgency in Liverpool’s attacking efforts eventually paid off in the 65th minute as Sadio Mané netted their second goal of the game.
A classic counterattack saw Alisson set Robertson down the left wing. The Scotland captain in turn fed Mané who cut inside before laying the ball of to Salah and continuing his run into the box. Salah took a touch before playing a defence splitting pass through to the Senegalese hitman who had his first effort saved before scoring the rebound. 2-0 after 65 minutes.
Following the scoring of their second goal, the Reds took their foot off the pedal as they knocked the ball about comfortably whilst limiting their opponents to no attempts on goal for the remainder of the game.
Liverpool’s next port of call sees them take on Everton in the FA Cup on Sunday at Anfield before returning to Premier League duty on January 11th when they travel to London to take on Jose Mourinho’s Tottenham Hotspur side.