Liverpool got back to winning ways with a 2-0 win against Premier League relegation fodder, Sheffield United.
Both sides came into this one in desperately poor form, the division’s bottom side unsurprisingly losing four of their last five league games while Liverpool had lost five of their last seven in what has been a remarkable downturn, resulting in statistically the worst ever Premier League title defence at this stage of the season.
Somewhat predictably though, it was Liverpool who dominated proceedings at Bramall Lane, with much-criticised Blades ‘keeper Aaron Ramsdale producing a string a decent saves to keep the scores level going into the break.
5 – Aaron Ramsdale made five saves in the first half against Liverpool – the most he's ever made in the first half of a Premier League game. Impenetrable. pic.twitter.com/O6iuHN0xPk
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) February 28, 2021
Liverpool’s January signing Ozan Kabak had also seen his blushes spared by the linesman’s flag, the Turkish international getting himself into a mess following a tussle with Oli McBurnie, Kabak’s challenge dribbling past Adrian into the back of the net, before being relieved to see the flag raised for an offside.
Sheffield United’s resistance didn’t last long into the second half though, Trent Alexander-Arnold – who was a constant threat down the right – getting to the byline, digging out a cross which was poorly cleared by former Evertonian Phil Jagielka and straight into the path of Curtis Jones, the Scouser lashing the ball home from 12 yards.
The Merseyside outfit extended their lead shortly after the hour mark, Chris Wilder’s side failing to get a challenge in on Roberto Firmino who was allowed time to get a shot off from the edge of the box, his wayward effort clipping Kean Bryan and looping over Ramsdale to make it 2-0.
Liverpool continued to create chances throughout the game, with Salah guilty of putting an effort wide from within the six-yard box, the Reds not quite looking at their ruthless best.
Jurgen Klopp said after the game that Sheffield United ‘couldn’t deal’ with much of his side’s play, but admitted he is keen to see improvements in their attacking output.
“The plan was to keep going and do the same stuff again,” he told Sky Sports. “When we could play like we wanted to play, they couldn’t deal with us.
“Sheffield United have lost a lot but all by the smallest margin. It’s clear these games stay exciting until the very end.
“We could have scored three in the first half. Robbo could have had a hat-trick. What we created was very good. The finishing was good enough for today, but we can improve.
“It’s normal that we’re criticised, people have written us off. That’s fine.”
Aside from his goal, academy graduate Curtis Jones put in a good performance in the heart of his side’s midfield.
“He is a top player, that’s why he’s playing,” Klopp said of the 20-year-old. “He has to be involved more in goalscoring situations, like everywhere there is space for improvement.”
Curtis Jones' game by numbers vs. Sheffield United:
27 passes attempted
26 passes completed
3 shots on target
Such an exciting talent. pic.twitter.com/xUzvUETLv5
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) February 28, 2021
The result moves Liverpool up to sixth, just a couple of points behind fourth-placed West Ham ahead of their midweek game against Chelsea – a potentially decisive encounter in the race for the Champions League.
“Very important [win]. Plenty of people have written us off, this is fine. This was about us showing we’re still there.
“We play Chelsea on Thursday, we have to show it again. We have to win football games, we know that. There’s no way into the Champions League without results. Tonight we got it, we keep going.”
The post Klopp reacts as Liverpool get back to winning ways with 2-0 win over Sheffield United first appeared on The Football Faithful.
Author: Ben Guest