Following Liverpool’s victory in the opening game of the Champions League campaign, they are back at Anfield and face Sheffield United in Gameweek six of the Premier League.
Last season the two games against Chris Wilder’s side were very close and hard-fought. A 1-0 win away from home came due to a Dean Henderson mistake. At Anfield, Liverpool won 2-0 thanks to goals from Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane.
Jurgen Klopp’s side dominated the fixture at Anfield last season and will be looking to do the same.
Form of both sides
Both teams have made indifferent starts to the season. Whilst Liverpool’s points and position in the Premier League seem reasonably good, it has widely reported that the side has struggled so far.
A 4-3 thriller to Leeds United in the opening game and the embarrassment of losing 7-2 to Aston Villa has shown that it is possible to take points off the Champions.
Liverpool now enter this game with numerous first-team injuries following their clash with rivals Everton. The 2-2 draw hurt Liverpool both physically and emotionally.
Jordan Henderson had his stoppage-time winner chalked off due to a controversial VAR decision.
As for Sheffield United, they have looked merely half the team that took the Premier League by surprise last season. They currently sit in 19th place, having taken only one point from their opening five fixtures. This came against Fulham in a 1-1 in their previous league game.
Since football has returned post-lockdown, United have struggled to find the form that had put them in the top half of the table. They lost their last three games of the 2019/20 season but did manage to finish ninth.
Whilst many aspects of their game have changed, it has been their inability to score goals that has punished them this season. They have only scored two goals all season.
Liverpool will be without a number of first-team starters for this game.
It comes as no surprise that Virgil Van Dijk will not be playing. He suffered an ACL injury after his collision with Jordan Pickford. This will see him out for eight-nine months.
Thiago Alcantara was sent for a scan following a clash with Richardson last Saturday. He missed the Ajax game in midweek but Liverpool are hopeful to have him available for Sheffield.
Joel Matip was also left out of the squad against Ajax after picking up a niggle. Despite not being fit in midweek, he too could return. Whether he starts will depend on whether Klopp wants to change his defence. Following Fabinho’s and Joe Gomez’s fantastic performances, it would be no shock to see them both start.
Other injuries include Alisson and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain who are making good progress on their injuries but won’t be ready.
Wilder’s side have injury problems themselves with Jack O’Connell, John Fleck and Lys Mousset all out injured.
Who makes Klopp’s midfield?
In the Ajax game, we saw a midfield trio of James Milner, Georginio Wijnaldum and Curtis Jones.
It will now be interesting to see who Klopp picks in midfield for Saturday. Henderson came on at half-time and should be fit enough to start.
Thiago’s late fitness call could see him on the bench rather than start, leaving places for Wijnaldum and Milner should Fabinho stay at centre-back.
Klopp will also have to think about former Liverpool forward Rhian Brewster who Wilder has suggested could be in line to start on Saturday.