Sheffield United recorded their 21st defeat of the season, as Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool side won 2-0 in a morale-boosting victory for the visitors.
The loss leaves Chris Wilder’s side 15 points adrift from safety with just 12 games to go, which makes an escape from relegation look even more unlikely.
In a first half which was dominated by the away side, the Blades were the first to register a shot on target with David McGoldrick forcing Adrian to make a routine save from an Ollie Norwood in-swinging free-kick.
Minutes later Liverpool started to take control, with Roberto Firmino finding himself behind the United defence and forcing keeper Aaron Ramsdale to produce a fine reaction save to deny the Brazilian.
However, it was the home side who thought they had taken the lead as Liverpool defender Ozan Kabak slotted the ball in his own net, but it was immediately disallowed as striker Oli McBurnie appeared to have strayed in an offside position.
Ramsdale was then forced into action just a few minutes later, with Mo Salah the next to test him, but the keeper was quick to react to tip the effort wide.
Liverpool continued to dominate possession in the first half, as United tried to slam the door shut showing some good tenacity to stop Liverpool finding an opening, but they nearly found it just before the break Ramsdale producing another excellent save to deny a curling effort from Gini Wijnaldum.
At the interval, Wilder would have been the happier of the two managers even though his side struggled to create chances, but Liverpool showed a lack of conviction and failed to capitalise on a dominant first 45.
But just three minutes into the second half, Liverpool showed their quality, as Trent-Alexander Arnold did exceptionally well to keep the ball in play and find an unmarked Curtis Jones on the edge of the area, who showed great composure to score just his second premier-league goal.
This was a big blow for the home side but was inevitable in the run of play, as the Liverpool midfield dominated throughout, forcing Wilder to change the system by bringing on an extra midfielder with Oli Burke and Ben Osborn being introduced.
Burke made an immediate impact and appeared to shake up the defence with his strength and raw pace, and the Blades nearly equalized with a whipped ball in from Norwood that found McBurnie, who headed wide past Adrian.
But six minutes later Liverpool inflicted more misery on the Blades, as Firmino cut through the defence and hit an effort which deflected off Kean Bryan and looped over Ramsdale to increase the Reds’ lead.
Salah thought he had hit a third minutes later, as he got behind Bryan but sliced his effort into the side-netting.
The Blades continued to attack, with Burke coming close, but failed to pull one back, extending United’s goalless run to three games and leaving them at the bottom of the table six points adrift.
In the post-match press-conference Blades boss Chris Wilder said: “We had a right go but we lacked quality and strength”. These are characteristics which are symbolic of Sheffield United’s season having only scored 15 goals, which is the lowest in the league.
On the other hand, it seemed to be a confidence boost for Liverpool, who finally ended their four consecutive defeats in the Premier League with a comfortable win. Klopp’s side are now just two points off West Ham in fourth place.
Sheffield United: Ramsdale; Ampadu, Jagielka (Osborn 56’), Bryan; Baldock, Lundstram, Fleck (Sharp 80’), Norwood, Stevens; Mcgoldrick (Burke 56’), McBurnie.
Liverpool: Adrian; Alexander-Arnold, Kabak, Phillips, Robertson; Thiago (Milner 76’), Wijnaldum, Jones (Keita 80’); Salah, Firmino, Mane.
Referee: Jon Moss
Scorers: Sheffield United: None
Liverpool: Curtis Jones (48), Kean Bryan (OG, 64’)