Liverpool travel to play The Blades today. Sheffield United are among the block of teams with 8 points in the Premier League table. They’re no pushover. Blades fans are out in full voice today. It’s rainy. This will be a rough and rugged affair.
Sheffield learned from Norwich’s win against City. They’re not parking the bus and being passive. The Blades are pressing and counter-attacking. Liverpool will have to earn this one. The Reds go into the half dominating possession (73%) and total shot (7 to 4) but have zero on target (Mane’s strike against the post = not on target). Liverpool’s press was starting to break down Sheffield by end of the half but nothing to show for it.
Second half was the same story as many Liverpool games all season. They did just enough to earn 3 (albeit, thanks to a Dean Henderson howler). The game went somewhat as we expected from our preview. United lack quality finishers and that showed. xG indicates Liverpool were unlucky not to get 2 past the Blades.
The 1-0 win keeps them perfect. They’re only the third team to ever start a Premier League season 7-0-0.
Inching ever closer. pic.twitter.com/bw83eY5ERh— NBC Sports Soccer (@NBCSportsSoccer) September 28, 2019
Liverpool Player Ratings
Jurgen Klopp (6.5) – No rotating to see here! Rolls out his preferred starting XI again. Klopp has pulled all the right strings at HT for a year now, he’ll need to today.
While the play post-half wasn’t necessarily better, the introduction of Origi and Milner were the right calls although could’ve come sooner. Should’ve yanked Mane sooner too.
Adrian (8) – Like what I’m seeing from Adrian in his distribution. Calm, steady and on point. In the second half, was just awesome. How did we get him on a freebie??? Did well to get down on Norwood’s low bouncer. Got off his line alertly to make a clearance. Bravo, Adrian.
Trent Alexander-Arndold (5) – Stronger defensively in the first half. Nice clearance in the 12th to thwart a Sheffield cross. Won an aerial to clear a threat as well. Clearly wants to improve his FIFA rating. Poor second half though. Services found no one. The worst of the backline today, though he did lead all players in touches and possessions.
Virgil van Dijk (8) – Seems like his big noggin is clearing every threat in the first half. Sent a great ball in to Mane that the Senegalese heavy touched the hell out of it. Was a monster in the back though. Won an absurd 12 (!!!) aerials. His best match of the season.
Joel Matip (7) – Contributing well offensively, wonderful through ball in the 16th. Solid defensively, dispossessing in the 19th minute. Looked to join in after the half though not with much success. Still, another great showing.
Andy Robertson (6.5) – Good effort defensively early, but touch and feel offensively is off. Came up huge though to block John Fleck in the second half. Potential 3-point saving effort.
Jordan Henderson (5) – Effort / ambition was there early but no results to show for it. Came off in the 64th for Origi. Hendo seems yet again to be struggling to find his role. Klopp needs to let him or Gini be more of a driving offensive player.
Fabinho (5) – Quiet first half from the Brazilian. I mean, he’s there. He’s fine. No real key passes or impact though. Not his typical solid form.
Georginio Wijnaldum (6.5) – He does better when he asked to take a more offensive role. Can’t Klopp just do that more regularly? Appreciated his shot attempt in the 16th, off-foot volley at least shows ambition. Wonderful interception and pass to Salah to spring a counter in the 43rd that should’ve led to a goal. He was lucky to get the goal today but…he was trying to get goals. So he did what the lads needed. You make 0% of the shots you don’t take.
Roberto Firmino (5) – Bobby maybe should’ve taken the shot in the 43rd instead of feeding Mane, but still Sadio should’ve finished it. He had to drop back in the second half to get involved. Rough afternoon. Came off for Milner in the 87th but could’ve and should’ve come off sooner.
Sadio Mane (4) – The heavy touch version of Mane apparently is back. 🤦♂️ Muffed a great opportunity sent in by VVD. Hit the woodwork in the 43rd for what should’ve been the opener. Hoping he hasn’t returned to the poor late-2018 form. That Sadio is not a good Sadio. Never seen an elite player have his touch abandon him game-to-game like Mane. Came off in stoppage for Ox and should’ve come off sooner.
Mohamed Salah (6) – One of those “sloppy but good effort” games from Mo. He’s pressing too hard for results instead of keeping it simple. He’s over-thinking things instead of just playing soccer. Still though, good effort.
Divock Origi (6.5) – Came in for Hendo in the 64th. Was the burst of life the squad needed. Almost set up the opener right away. Good showing.
James Milner (NR) – Helped close the game off by coming in for Bobby late. After his Carabao Cup showing, deserved a little more run.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (NR) – A stoppage-time killing sub.
MAN OF THE MATCH
VVD. This was big Virg’s best match of the domestic season. Was probably our best offensive and defensive player.