Liverpool came from a goal down to beat Sheffield United 2-1 in their Premier League clash at Anfield on Saturday night.
The hosts certainly felt the absence of Virgil Van Dijk, who is set to face a lengthy spell on the side-lines after Jordan Pickford’s horrific challenge in the Merseyside Derby last week.
A controversial VAR decision led to the visitors taking an early lead from the spot; Sander Berge sending Alisson Becker the wrong way to make it 1-0 just under 15 minutes. Alisson did well to keep the deficit at a single goal with an excellent reflex save, parrying away Ben Osborn’s thumping first-time volley in the 24th minute.
Chris Wilder’s men were supremely compact without the ball after they took the lead, with George Baldock, McBurnie and Berge, in particular, causing problems for the hosts. They were aerially dominant, more energetic, stronger in the duels and profiting off second balls. Rhian Brewster, earning his first start against his former club, worked as tirelessly as his team-mates.
Liverpool, meanwhile, were unable to create anything; their play was very pedestrian and predictable. They were fortunate that VAR had another moment of eyesight failure, missing Diogo Jota’s challenge on Berge inside the area that would’ve qualified as a clear penalty had it been spotted.
Liverpool kept digging in during the latter stages of the first half and soon, were rewarded. After Aaron Ramsdale’s save from a Sadio Mane header fell right in the path of Roberto Firmino and the Brazilian levelled the scoreline for The Reds.
Sheffield United began the second half with a rather conservative approach, trying to stop Liverpool’s frontline from getting in behind and playing with a low block. Just past the hour mark, Mohamed Salah thought he’d put Liverpool in front only for VAR to rule it out for offside. Frustration levels seemed to be rising in the Liverpool camp, with them far from their usual prolific best going forward. Minutes later, the hosts did retake the lead when Mane played a perfect cross from the left flank and Diogo Jota leapt highest to head home at the back post.
Salah had a great chance to put the game to bed in the 80th minute after his clever turn at the top of the area left him with just Ramsdale to beat, but his close-range shot came back off the near post and the scoreline stayed 2-1.
The result puts Liverpool level on points with Everton on top of the Premier League, although the latter lead on goal difference and can regain sole possession of first place with a win/draw at Southampton on Sunday. Sheffield United remain stuck in the relegation zone after having managed just a single point from their six league games this season.