Sheffield United vs Liverpool Preview
- Date: Saturday, September 28th, 2019
- Time: 7:30 am (EST)
- Network: NBCSN
- Location: Sheffield, South Yorkshire, England
- Venue: Bramall Lane
- Seating Capacity: 60,240
To kick off the seventh match week of the Premier League season, Liverpool make the journey 80 miles east to Bramall Lane. Both teams had matches midweek as the number of fixtures begins to pick up. On Wednesday, Liverpool traveled to Milton Keynes and the Blades hosted Sunderland in the Carabao Cup. Liverpool’s youngster’s came away with a 2-0 victory over the Dons, but Sheffield were knocked out of the competition by the League One club. Being knocked out of the tournament may be a blessing in disguise for Sheffield. It will allow them to focus on keeping their Premier League status for next season.
Liverpool and Sheffield both rested most of their starting XI’s on Wednesday night. Liverpool aim to keep their stars fresh as they look to remain unbeaten in the Premier League. Chris Wilder heavily rotated his squad as well, in order to keep ahead of the pack in the relegation battle.
Sheffield are all clear on the injury front. Chris Wilder has a fully healthy squad to choose from as they look to claim another scalp this season.
However, they will be without club captain Billy Sharp who is serving a 3 match suspension for a straight red card received against Southampton. Sharp has notched one goal this season but was vital to Sheffield’s promotion scoring 23 goals in 34 starts in the Championship last season.
Sadio Mané was taken off last weekend in the Reds victory over Chelsea and didn’t feature midweek vs Sheffield United. However, do not be surprised to see him feature in some capacity this weekend.
To add further to Liverpool’s offensive woes, Divock Origi is doubtful to feature as he is still suffering from an ankle injury picked up in the match against Newcastle United. This leaves Liverpool with very few attacking options.
Three Liverpool players have already been ruled out of Saturday’s match by Jurgen Klopp. Nathaniel Clyne is still recovering from his long-term ACL injury, Alisson is on the mend from a calf injury, and Xherdan Shaqiri has picked up a calf injury.
In more positive news, Klopp has said that Alisson will train with the team on Sunday meaning he is nearly fully recovered. Also, Naby Keita featured in the Carabao Cup against MK Dons, his first appearance since the Community Shield, adding an option in midfield for Jurgen Klopp.
Sheffield United vs Liverpool By the Numbers
These two clubs have only played each other six times in the Premier League era. Saturday mornings match up is the first meeting between these teams since Liverpool thrashed Sheffield 4-0 in the 2007 Premier League season.
One key to Sheffield United’s success so far this season has been their ability to score goals despite not having many opportunities. The Blades have not scored many goals but they have made them count. They have scored 7 goals so far this season with only 15 shots on goal. Chris Wilder’s attack has only scored 4 goals from open play and no squad member has scored more than 1 goal.
Despite being the league leaders this season, Liverpool have not been perfect. They have only managed to keep one clean sheet in the Premier League this season. However, nobody has been able to put more than one past the well drilled Liverpool defense. The Reds have the best defensive record in the League, tied with Leicester City, only conceding 5 goals thus far.
Prediction & Line-Ups
Both Liverpool and Sheffield have been fairly consistent with their line-ups in the Premier League this season. For both clubs, many of the familiar faces were rested midweek in preparation for this match.
Against Sunderland, Sheffield United changed 10 out of 11 players from their last Premier League match against Everton. The Blades will likely stick to the same starting XI in which they took all three points from Liverpool’s Merseyside rival.
Sheffield have caused a few Premier League stalwarts issues already this season. They drew with Chelsea and Bournemouth and have beaten Crystal Palace and Everton in their opening 6 games. A fine start by the promoted side puts Sheffield in 10th place level on points with Tottenham, Chelsea, and Manchester United. Their resilient defense and knack for scoring vital goals has made them a favorite among neutral fans.
Liverpool have started this season where they left off last season. They are on a 15 game winning streak in the Premier League and they will not give that up easily. Jurgen Klopp’s men will take the field again only 63 hours since their Carabao Cup clash.
Although Sheffield United has been a great underdog story early in the season, I expect the European Champions to continue their great run of form. The Blades will see very little of the ball and a free flowing Liverpool attack will surely wear them down as the game progresses. As long as Liverpool’s focus is on this match and not their upcoming Champions League fixture they should have no problem breaking down Sheffield’s stout defense.
Sheffield United (3-5-2): Henderson; Basham, Egan, O’Connell; Baldock, Lundstram, Norwood, Fleck, Stevens; McBurnie, Robinson
Liverpool XI (4-3-3): Adrián; Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Van Dijk, Robertson; Henderson, Fabinho, Wijnaldum; Salah, Firmino, Mané
Final Score Prediction: Sheffield United 0-3 Liverpool
Written by Chase Brittingham
Photo credit to Sheffield United via Twitter