Premier League
LiverpoolLiverpool2Sheff UtdSheffield United1

Liverpool 2-1 Sheffield United: Diogo Jota heads winner for hosts

By Harry PooleBBC Sport
Diogo Jota heads Liverpool ahead against Sheffield United
Liverpool had not gone three consecutive league games without winning since May 2018

Defending champions Liverpool returned to winning ways in the Premier League with a hard-fought comeback victory over struggling Sheffield United at Anfield.

Deputising at centre-back for the injured Virgil van Dijk, Liverpool midfielder Fabinho conceded a 13th-minute penalty for a foul on Oliver McBurnie on the edge of the box, allowing Sander Berge to slot in following a video assistant referee review.

Despite Liverpool facing spirited opposition, Roberto Firmino converted from Sadio Mane's saved shot four minutes before half-time and Diogo Jota's header completed the turnaround midway through the second half.

After two league games without victory, including their astonishing 7-2 defeat by Aston Villa, Jurgen Klopp's side moved level on points at the top of the table with Merseyside rivals Everton, who face Southampton on Sunday at 14:00 GMT.

Jota's decisive goal arrived two minutes after Mohamed Salah's fine finish from Trent Alexander-Arnold's cross was ruled out by VAR for offside, while Salah was denied by the woodwork late on.

John Egan's sliding intervention had prevented Salah from putting Liverpool ahead inside the first minute, while Alexander-Arnold's ambitious free-kick from the halfway line forced Aaron Ramsdale to tip over as the Blades endured early pressure.

United remain winless and with a single point after six games, but they offered manager Chris Wilder plenty of encouragement and were denied a 2-0 lead when returning Liverpool keeper Alisson pushed away Ben Osborn's excellent volley.

Reds find a way despite Van Dijk's absence

Liverpool 2-1 Sheffield United: Jurgen Klopp praises opposite number Chris Wilder

The potentially season-ending knee injury suffered by Van Dijk in the Merseyside derby is a seismic blow for Liverpool as they aim to defend their crown this season, but Klopp will have taken much comfort from Fabinho's near-faultless performance in the 1-0 midweek victory over Ajax in the Champions League.

Lining up without their Dutch centre-back for the first time in 75 league games, Fabinho once again partnered Joe Gomez in defence, although the Brazil international was at fault as he lunged in to his tackle on McBurnie.

Forced to play catch-up despite their early chances, the Reds wrestled parity through Firmino's instinctive finish and the lively Salah almost completed a rapid turnaround before the break when he ran the ball too close to Ramsdale.

Despite the return of Alisson, out since September with injury, there were moments of uncertainty at the back as Liverpool allowed United 13 shots at goal - but their own quality in attack ultimately told.

Jota, quiet in front of goal for much of the contest, claimed the points with his first shot of the match, diverting Mane's looped cross beyond Ramsdale's reach, to extend Liverpool's impressive unbeaten home record to 62 league games.

Blades show there's more to come

Liverpool 2-1 Sheffield United: Chris Wilder says defeat was 'difficult to take'

Wilder said he had seen sufficient signs of improvement after United's winless start to the season continued with a first point against bottom-placed Fulham last weekend.

Despite this admirable and energetic display at Anfield, United must begin to put points on the board soon.

The Blades' sluggish start was fast developing into a concerning drop in form, but on Saturday they showed the determination which saw them flirt with European qualification last season.

Enda Stevens' first-half block from Jordan Henderson's shot epitomised United's defensive spirit. However, it is in attack where they have lacked - with Berge's penalty their third goal in six games this season.

Club-record signing Rhian Brewster lined up against former side Liverpool for his first Premier League start since a £23.5m move in October, but the 20-year-old struggled to impose himself before his exit after 54 minutes.

United still proved a real nuisance and had two first-half penalty appeals turned down after the ball struck Andrew Robertson's hand in the penalty area and McBurnie went down following an aerial challenge.

They pressed for an equaliser until the end, but substitute Oliver Burke was unable to control his late attempt.

Liverpool's Anfield comebacks - the stats

  • Liverpool have won their past four Premier League games against Sheffield United by an aggregate score of 9-1.
  • They have won 28 of their past 29 league games at Anfield.
  • They are also unbeaten in their last 13 home league games when conceding the first goal - winning each of the past nine.
  • Sheffield United's nine-game winless run in the Premier League is the longest run of any current side in the competition.
  • Liverpool have conceded 14 goals in their first six Premier League games this season - a tally it took them 15 games to reach in 2019-20.
  • Diogo Jota is the first player to score in each of his first two Premier League home games for Liverpool since Sadio Mane in September 2016.
  • Mane has been directly involved in five goals - scoring four - in his past four league games

What's next?

Liverpool host FC Midtjylland in their second Champions League group match on Tuesday (20:00 GMT) before welcoming West Ham to Anfield in the Premier League game next Saturday (17:30).

Sheffield United face Manchester City at Bramall Lane next Saturday (12:30), then travel to Chelsea the following Saturday (17:30).

Player of the match

Diogo JotaDiogo Jota

with an average of 7.58

Liverpool

  1. Squad number20Player nameDiogo Jota
    Average rating

    7.58

  2. Squad number10Player nameMané
    Average rating

    7.43

  3. Squad number11Player nameMohamed Salah
    Average rating

    7.38

  4. Squad number14Player nameHenderson
    Average rating

    7.13

  5. Squad number9Player nameRoberto Firmino
    Average rating

    7.11

  6. Squad number1Player nameAlisson
    Average rating

    6.89

  7. Squad number3Player nameFabinho
    Average rating

    6.79

  8. Squad number12Player nameGomez
    Average rating

    6.74

  9. Squad number5Player nameWijnaldum
    Average rating

    6.70

  10. Squad number66Player nameAlexander-Arnold
    Average rating

    6.64

  11. Squad number7Player nameMilner
    Average rating

    6.59

  12. Squad number26Player nameRobertson
    Average rating

    6.58

  13. Squad number18Player nameMinamino
    Average rating

    6.25

Sheffield United

  1. Squad number8Player nameBerge
    Average rating

    6.80

  2. Squad number22Player nameAmpadu
    Average rating

    6.71

  3. Squad number24Player nameBrewster
    Average rating

    5.80

  4. Squad number12Player nameEgan
    Average rating

    5.75

  5. Squad number23Player nameOsborn
    Average rating

    5.63

  6. Squad number6Player nameBasham
    Average rating

    5.61

  7. Squad number14Player nameBurke
    Average rating

    5.60

  8. Squad number9Player nameMcBurnie
    Average rating

    5.59

  9. Squad number1Player nameRamsdale
    Average rating

    5.54

  10. Squad number2Player nameBaldock
    Average rating

    5.53

  11. Squad number3Player nameStevens
    Average rating

    5.45

  12. Squad number17Player nameMcGoldrick
    Average rating

    5.37

  13. Squad number7Player nameLundstram
    Average rating

    5.29

Line-ups

Liverpool

  • 1Alisson
  • 66Alexander-Arnold
  • 3Fabinho
  • 12Gomez
  • 26Robertson
  • 14Henderson
  • 5Wijnaldum
  • 20JotaSubstituted forMilnerat 83'minutes
  • 9FirminoSubstituted forMinaminoat 83'minutes
  • 10Mané
  • 11Salah

Substitutes

  • 7Milner
  • 13Adrián
  • 17Jones
  • 18Minamino
  • 23Shaqiri
  • 47Phillips
  • 76N Williams

Sheff Utd

  • 1Ramsdale
  • 6Basham
  • 12Egan
  • 3StevensBooked at 66mins
  • 2Baldock
  • 8BergeBooked at 86mins
  • 22Ampadu
  • 7LundstramBooked at 3minsSubstituted forMcGoldrickat 76'minutes
  • 23Osborn
  • 9McBurnie
  • 24BrewsterSubstituted forBurkeat 54'minutes

Substitutes

  • 10Sharp
  • 14Burke
  • 15Jagielka
  • 16Norwood
  • 17McGoldrick
  • 19Robinson
  • 21Verrips
Referee:
Mike Dean

Match Stats

Home TeamLiverpoolAway TeamSheff Utd
Possession
Home62%
Away38%
Shots
Home17
Away13
Shots on Target
Home5
Away2
Corners
Home7
Away3
Fouls
Home7
Away15

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Liverpool 2, Sheffield United 1.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Liverpool 2, Sheffield United 1.

  3. Post update

    Attempt missed. Oliver Burke (Sheffield United) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses the top right corner. Assisted by Oliver McBurnie with a headed pass.

  4. Post update

    James Milner (Liverpool) wins a free kick on the left wing.

  5. Post update

    Foul by George Baldock (Sheffield United).

  6. Post update

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

  7. Post update

    Foul by Oliver Burke (Sheffield United).

  8. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Georginio Wijnaldum (Liverpool) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Mohamed Salah.

  9. Post update

    Attempt missed. Sadio Mané (Liverpool) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the right. Assisted by Andrew Robertson.

  10. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Mohamed Salah (Liverpool) left footed shot from the right side of the box is blocked.

  11. Booking

    Sander Berge (Sheffield United) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  12. Post update

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

  13. Post update

    Foul by Sander Berge (Sheffield United).

  14. Post update

    Attempt missed. Enda Stevens (Sheffield United) left footed shot from the left side of the box misses to the right. Assisted by David McGoldrick.

  15. Post update

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

  16. Post update

    Foul by Chris Basham (Sheffield United).

  17. Substitution

    Substitution, Liverpool. Takumi Minamino replaces Roberto Firmino.

  18. Substitution

    Substitution, Liverpool. James Milner replaces Diogo Jota.

  19. Post update

    Attempt missed. Ethan Ampadu (Sheffield United) right footed shot from outside the box is too high. Assisted by Sander Berge.

  20. Post update

    Mohamed Salah (Liverpool) hits the right post with a left footed shot from the centre of the box. Assisted by Georginio Wijnaldum.

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