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Sheffield United 0-1 Liverpool: Wijnaldum goal keeps Reds' flawless start going

By Kris HollandBBC Sport
Liverpool deserved win despite 'average' performance - Klopp

Jurgen Klopp said Liverpool "deserved" victory at Sheffield United despite needing a "lucky" Georginio Wijnaldum goal to continue their perfect start to the Premier League season at a raucous Bramall Lane.

The winner was a moment to forget for the otherwise faultless Blades goalkeeper Dean Henderson, who spilled the Dutchman's tame effort before it squirmed agonisingly over the line.

"It's normal you have to work hard for the points," said Klopp. "You have to stay concentrated and do the right things. We did today. It was never a clicking day, it was an average day.

"We were deserved winners. If it's 0-0 we cannot moan and would not. But if there's one winner it should be us. We worked had for it. Winning in days like this is extremely worthy. We scored a lucky goal, we know that. But the boys worked so hard for it."

Klopp's side were far from their best in South Yorkshire - and left thankful that the hosts could not find a way through in a game where they matched the European champions in many respects.

Substitute Leon Clarke, making his Premier League debut at the age of 34, should have levelled it late on, but blazed over.

Liverpool have won their first seven league games of the season, and have a five-point lead at the top of the early season table.

When the story of the 2019-20 season is told, this may be looked back on as one of Liverpool's most crucial but most fortunate victories.

The first half, though goalless, was thrilling. For all of the visitors' early pressure, it was Chris Wilder's side who had the first sight of goal when Ollie McBurnie stung the palms of Adrian.

Liverpool's first clear chance came as a result of a long ball over the top from Virgil van Dijk, but Sadio Mane's finish when through on goal was wild and wayward, while the Senegal forward later struck the post.

After the break, United may have hit the front, but for alert defending from Joel Matip and Andrew Robertson to frustrate the enthusiastic John Lundstram.

At the other end, when a penalty appeal for Lundstram's challenge on Mane was denied, it seemed that Liverpool may have to settle for a point.

With time running out, the Merseysiders withdrew Jordan Henderson for Divock Origi, and the move to a 4-2-3-1 formation ultimately paid off when Wijnaldum's shot snuck in.

Georginio Wijnaldum; Firmino
Georginio Wijnaldum's winner was his 22nd Premier League goal - but just his third away from home

Reds ride their luck

Earlier this week, the Champions League winners were told they had failed in their attempt to copyright the word Liverpool. This performance lacked their usual trademarks too.

Indeed, they were lucky not to be punished when Matip and Trent Alexander-Arnold coughed up possession early on.

There's no questioning the relentless force that is this Liverpool side, but for the second weekend in a row they rode their luck to notch up a league win on the road. But where the Reds were clinical in the 2-1 win at Chelsea, they were wasteful in the Steel City.

Sadio Mane of Liverpool shoots against Dean Henderson of Sheffield United
Sadio Mane endured a frustrating afternoon in front of goal at Bramall Lane

Whether it was Mane blazing over or against the post in the first 45 minutes, or Mohamed Salah's spurned effort one-on-one with Henderson after they had taken the lead, they were not at their flowing best.

However, few if any of their supporters will now lose sleep over the fact Wijnaldum's goal on 70 minutes was their first shot on target at last season's Championship runners-up.

They arrived for this match amid news that they could be kicked out of the Carabao Cup for allegedly fielding an ineligible player in the 2-0 win at MK Dons on Wednesday.

As far as their quest for that elusive first Premier League title goes, it remains full steam ahead - although ex-boss Brendan Rodgers and his Leicester City side will provide another stern test in their next league game.

Wilder's side show their worth

Ahead of kick-off, the sides emerged to the sound of a near 32,000 crowd that shook the very foundations of what is one of the oldest stadiums in the country.

And although they were cruelly denied a deserved point for their efforts in this match, there's much to hearten the Blades. The legacy of this performance should be that lazy stereotyping of Sheffield United as being tactically basic from some pundits must end.

In this game, they not only matched Liverpool's passing style, but took the game to their revered opponents, pressing high and chasing everything - with the Reds often forced to pass back to goalkeeper Adrian.

Unfortunately, there are no points for effort.

Henderson's decisive mistake will prompt grimaced faces, and perhaps the hosts could and should have scored... but this defeat does not necessarily need to be attributed to a villain.

In his pre-match press call, Wilder said "the long-term challenge" was for this kind of game to become a regular fixture at Bramall Lane. The way they have started life back in the top flight suggests they're more than capable of fulfilling that aim.

Man of the match - John Fleck (Sheffield United)

John Fleck of Sheffield United
Fleck was a force for the hosts in both boxes and was unfortunate not to come away from this match without a goal or an assist to match his effort

'He needs to do better' - what they said

Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder:

Wilder 'frustrated' by missed chances & Henderson error

"I am not bothered about pride, I am bothered about the result. Liverpool had an off day and I think we missed an opportunity. In pressurised situations we need to remain composed. We were delighted with the shape but their chances came from our mistakes.

"We have had big moments in the game but we did not take them. We had to jump all over it and we didn't. We had enough to get something out of this game but we did not take our opportunities. Points are the most important thing and we did not get the points we deserved today."

On Dean Henderson: "If he wants to be a professional footballer, these things are going to happen. But if he wants to play for the top teams, he wants to play for England, then he needs to do better, he needs to concentrate more. It's a disappointing day for him. I am not going to put my arms around him, simply he needs to do better."

Reds closing in on top flight records - stats

  • Liverpool have won their first seven games of a league season for only the second time, after 1990-91.
  • Sheffield United have lost three consecutive home games in the top-flight for the first time since October 1990.
  • Klopp's side have won their last 16 Premier League games, their best ever top-flight winning streak and one bettered only by Manchester City in the Premier League (18 between August and December 2017).
  • Liverpool are also unbeaten in their last 24 Premier League games. Only between May 1987 and March 1988 have they had a longer unbeaten run in the top flight (31 games).
  • Wijnaldum's goal on 70 minutes was Liverpool's first shot on target of the game, the longest the Reds have had to wait for a shot on target in the Premier League since 6 December 2015, courtesy of Dejan Lovren's effort against Newcastle on 89 minutes.
  • Sheffield United's Leon Clarke (34 years and 230 days) became the oldest Englishman to make his Premier League debut since Chris Lucketti (35 years 107 days), also for Sheffield United, against Portsmouth in January 2007.

What's next?

Liverpool resume their Champions League campaign against Austria's Red Bull Salzburg at Anfield on Wednesday, 2 October (20:00 BST). Klopp's side then return to league action at home against Leicester City on Saturday, 5 October (15:00 BST).

On the same day, Sheffield United travel to Watford (also 15:00) in the final round of matches before October's international break.


Sheff Utd

Formation 3-5-2

  • 1Henderson
  • 6Basham
  • 12Egan
  • 5O'ConnellBooked at 63mins
  • 2Baldock
  • 7Lundstram
  • 16NorwoodSubstituted forClarkeat 77'minutes
  • 4Fleck
  • 3Stevens
  • 11RobinsonSubstituted forMoussetat 60'minutes
  • 9McBurnie


  • 8Freeman
  • 15Jagielka
  • 22Mousset
  • 23Osborn
  • 24Clarke
  • 25Moore
  • 27Besic


Formation 4-3-3

  • 13AdriánBooked at 83mins
  • 66Alexander-Arnold
  • 32Matip
  • 4van Dijk
  • 26Robertson
  • 14HendersonSubstituted forOrigiat 64'minutes
  • 3Fabinho
  • 5Wijnaldum
  • 11Salah
  • 9FirminoSubstituted forMilnerat 87'minutes
  • 10ManéSubstituted forOxlade-Chamberlainat 90+4'minutes


  • 6Lovren
  • 7Milner
  • 12Gomez
  • 15Oxlade-Chamberlain
  • 20Lallana
  • 27Origi
  • 62Kelleher
Anthony Taylor

Match Stats

Home TeamSheff UtdAway TeamLiverpool
Shots on Target

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Sheffield United 0, Liverpool 1.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Sheffield United 0, Liverpool 1.

  3. Substitution

    Substitution, Liverpool. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain replaces Sadio Mané.

  4. Post update

    Attempt missed. Oliver McBurnie (Sheffield United) header from the centre of the box is close, but misses the top left corner. Assisted by John Fleck with a cross.

  5. Post update

    Sadio Mané (Liverpool) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  6. Post update

    Foul by George Baldock (Sheffield United).

  7. Post update

    Attempt missed. Oliver McBurnie (Sheffield United) header from the centre of the box misses to the right. Assisted by George Baldock with a cross.

  8. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Mohamed Salah (Liverpool) left footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Fabinho.

  9. Post update

    Attempt missed. Divock Origi (Liverpool) right footed shot from the left side of the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Andrew Robertson.

  10. Substitution

    Substitution, Liverpool. James Milner replaces Roberto Firmino.

  11. Post update

    Attempt missed. Leon Clarke (Sheffield United) right footed shot from the centre of the box is too high. Assisted by John Fleck with a through ball.

  12. Booking

    Adrián (Liverpool) is shown the yellow card.

  13. Post update

    Fabinho (Liverpool) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  14. Post update

    Foul by George Baldock (Sheffield United).

  15. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Jack O'Connell (Sheffield United) header from the right side of the box is blocked. Assisted by John Lundstram with a cross.

  16. Post update

    Corner, Sheffield United. Conceded by Sadio Mané.

  17. Post update

    Foul by Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool).

  18. Post update

    Jack O'Connell (Sheffield United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  19. Post update

    Attempt missed. Georginio Wijnaldum (Liverpool) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the right following a corner.

  20. Post update

    Corner, Liverpool. Conceded by Dean Henderson.


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