Sheffield Utd vs. Liverpool
Venue: Bramall Lane
Liverpool will be looking to maintain their 100 per cent start to the Premier League season when they take on newly-promoted Sheffield United at Bramall Lane this afternoon.
Last season’s runners-up have been faultless so far this term, but they take on a Blades outfit that has impressed on their return to the top flight with eight points from six games.
Five points clear at the top of the table after six games is a position which any team would gleefully accept, although if Liverpool needed reminding about the quality of those chasing them then they were last weekend when champions Manchester City blew Watford away in an eight-goal evisceration.
The result piled extra pressure on Jurgen Klopp’s side for their trip to Chelsea a day later, but the red machine kept on rolling with a 2-1 triumph in West London, showing maturity to see the game out under late pressure.
Liverpool have now won 15 top-flight games in a row, extending their own club record once again, and Manchester City’s run of 18 a couple of seasons ago is now the only time in English football history where a team has been on a better run of victories in the top division.
Indeed, records seem to tumble on a weekly basis for this Liverpool side, although Klopp will know that their status as one of England’s greatest ever teams – a label the stats suggest they deserve – will depend almost entirely on the silverware they accrue along the way.
The Premier League is, of course, the big one, but they have been disappointing in domestic cup competitions over the past couple of seasons and Wednesday’s 2-0 victory at MK Dons would have therefore been a welcome continuation of their winning ways, albeit with an entirely different XI.
A fourth-round game against Arsenal is their reward – a match which will bring an end to a difficult run of games coming up. After this weekend, Liverpool face Leicester City, Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur in succession, as well as Champions League outings against Salzburg and Genk.
The standards Liverpool and Man City set last season mean that any dropped points are hugely significant, but considering that upcoming run anything other than a win in Saturday’s early kickoff would be a major blow for the as-yet perfect Reds.
The visitors will certainly be significant favourites heading into the contest considering they are now 23 league games unbeaten – the second-longest run in their history – while they have won each of their last 12 matches against newly-promoted teams, conceding only four goals in that time.
It is safe to say that Saturday’s match could be a daunting one for Sheffield United, then, although Chris Wilder’s men have already proved that they are not the type to get cowed by coming up against top-quality opposition.
Sheffield United possible XI: Henderson, Basham, Egan, O’Connell, Baldock, Lundstram, Norwood, Fleck, Stevens, McBurnie, Robinson.
Liverpool possible XI: Adrian, Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Van Dijk, Robertson, Henderson, Fabinho, Wijnaldum, Salah, Firmino, Mane.