Barclays Premier League
Bramall Lane, Sheffield
Sitting five points clear at the top of the Premier League table, won six out of six, scoring goals for fun, things are looking bright for Liverpool as they set off on their forth away fixture in a row.
Last weekend Man City smashed Watford 8-0 to put the pressure on Liverpool and try to keep up in the title race early on in the season but, Liverpool come home from the capital with all three points after beating Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, 2-1.
Liverpool have now won 15 top-flight games in a row, extending their own club record once again, and Manchester City’s run of 18 a couple of seasons ago is now the only time in English football history where a team has been on a better run of victories in the top division.
The standards Liverpool and Man City set last season mean that any dropped points are hugely significant, but considering that upcoming run anything other than a win in Saturday’s early kickoff would be a major blow for the as-yet perfect Reds.
Sheffield United have lost three of their last four home games in all competitions, most recently slumping to a 1-0 defeat at the hands of League One Sunderland in the EFL Cup third round on Wednesday night.
It is an issue which must be at the top of the agenda to fix if the Blades are to get the points they need to stay in the division, although three of their next four home games come against Liverpool, Arsenal and Manchester United, so it will be difficult to turn that form around.
Klopp made the full 11 changes to his side for Wednesday’s EFL Cup match against MK Dons, so expect a swathe of first-team players to come back into the fold for this one.
The likes of Virgil van Dijk, Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino are all expected to return to the starting lineup, while Sadio Mane should have recovered from the dead leg he suffered against Chelsea last weekend.
At least one of that front three has scored in all but one of their ongoing 15-match winning streak, netting 27 goals between them in that time, but should Mane not recover in time then either Adam Lallana or Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain could be pushed into a more advanced position.
James Milner is another who started on Wednesday and could be in line to feature again following an impressive performance, although Andrew Robertson will return in the left-back spot and both Fabinho and Georginio Wijnaldum will expect a recall in midfield.
Naby Keita made a welcome return with over an hour in midweek, but Divock Origi is a major doubt while Xherdan Shaqiri, Nathaniel Clyne and newly-crowned FIFA Goalkeeper of the Year Alisson Becker are still sidelined, although the latter revealed that he is closing in on a return.
Sheffield United defender Kean Bryan picked up a knock in their defeat to Sunderland, but aside from that Wilder has a clean bill of health with suspended striker Billy Sharp his only other absentee.
Callum Robinson was the only player to start both the win over Everton and the Sunderland loss, so like their visitors United are likely to make sweeping changes to their most recent XI and could even name an unchanged team to last weekend.
One aspect which will have pleased Wilder so far is the goals being spread out throughout the team – all seven of their strikes this term have been scored by different players – but he will also be looking for one of his strikers to establish himself as the main goal-getter.
Sheffield United possible starting lineup:
Henderson; Basham, Egan, O’Connell; Baldock, Lundstram, Norwood, Fleck, Stevens; McBurnie, Robinson
Liverpool possible starting lineup:
Adrian; Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Van Dijk, Robertson; Henderson, Fabinho, Wijnaldum; Salah, Firmino, Mane
Head To Head
Saturday’s match will be Liverpool’s first trip to Bramall Lane since the opening day of the 2006-07 Premier League season, when only a penalty from returning hero Robbie Fowler rescued a point for the Reds.
Fowler scored two more spot kicks as Liverpool ran out 4-0 winners in the reverse fixture at Anfield in February 2007 – the most recent meeting between these two sides in any competition.
Liverpool have never won a Premier League game at Bramall Lane in three previous attempts and are without a victory in their last six visits across all competitions, stretching back to a 3-1 triumph in August 1990.
Forza Anfield ✏️