Sheffield United v Liverpool – Preview
Sheffield United v Liverpool – Preview
The Football Faithful
Two sides struggling for form meet at Bramall Lane on Sunday evening as Sheffield United host Liverpool, the visitors looking to avoid a fifth successive defeat in the Premier League.
Here’s all you need to know about the Premier League clash:
Sheffield United: WLWLL
After beating both Manchester United and West Brom in the space of a week at the end of January, it looked like Sheffield United had turned a corner in their dismal season, yet since then they’ve suffered three straight league defeats.
Their latest Premier League encounter saw them slip to a 1-0 loss to fellow strugglers Fulham, with Ademola Lookman firing home after a mistake from Ethan Ampadu, to all but end any lingering hopes of survival for Chris Wilder’s side.
That game at Craven Cottage saw the Blades denied a 90th minute penalty after Alphonse Areola clattered into Jayden Bogle inside the box, with luck certainly not on their side at the moment.
Rock-bottom of the table and 14 points from safety, Wilder’s men will need a lot more than luck and something truly miraculous to avoid dropping back into the second tier.
As for team news for the visit of the champions, Wilder will be sweating over the fitness of key defender Chris Basham, after he limped off during Saturday’s defeat.
The champions recent woes were compounded at the weekend, as they suffered a first Merseyside Derby defeat at Anfield since 1999, a result that also meant they have lost four straight home league games for the first time since 1923.
Their limp display in the 2-0 defeat to Everton has left Liverpool in sixth and five points adrift of West Ham in fourth, while both the Toffees and Aston Villa have the chance to leapfrog them should they win their games in hand.
With four successive league defeats for the first time since 2002, the Reds are in real need of a win against Chris Wilder’s side, although will have to cope without captain Jordan Henderson after he was added to their lengthy injury list.
The England international limped off inside the first-half at the weekend, forcing Jurgen Klopp to field his 18th different centre-back partnership of the season, as Nat Phillips came on to partner January signing Ozan Kabak at the back.
In truth, Klopp’s men have been ravaged by injuries this season and have been left desperately short defensively, although stand-in defender Fabinho could well make a timely return soon.
Summer signing Diogo Jota is also back in training after having been absent since the start of December, while midfielder Naby Keita could also be in contention for the weekend. Goalkeeper Alisson sadly lost his father this week, so it is unclear at this stage whether he will be involved.
Liverpool 2-1 Sheffield United, 24 October 2020.
This early season encounter was much closer than many had anticipated, the visitors taking an early lead through midfielder Sander Berge, the Norwegian converting from the penalty spot after Fabinho was adjudged to have fouled Oli McBurnie just inside the box.
That lead didn’t last too long, however, as the champions struck back, Roberto Firmino firing home the rebound after Sadio Mane’s header had been saved by Aaron Ramsdale.
Despite more than holding their own against last season’s dominant title winners, the Blades were ultimately undone by a Diogo Jota header midway through the second-half, the Portugal international netting his first Premier League goal for the club to ensure victory.
Sheffield United: Ramsdale; Basham, Ampadu, Bryan; Baldock, Norwood, Fleck, Lundstram, Stevens; Sharp, McBurnie.
Liverpool: Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Kabak, Phillips, Robertson; Jones, Wijnaldum, Thiago; Mane, Firmino, Salah.
Who is the referee?
What channel is it on?
UK and Irish readers can watch the match on Sky Sports Main Event.
What time is kick off?
Sunday 28 February, 19:15 GMT
Sheffield United – 7/1
Liverpool – 4/11
Draw – 4/1