Liverpool recorded a slim, scrappy but crucial 1 nil win at the Bramall Lane, Sheffield United, their 7th-straight win of the season, to remain on course for the seemingly elusive EPL title. It took a goalkeeping howler in the 70th minute from Dean Henderson in Sheffield United's goal before Liverpool could come away with the 3 vital points.
Liverpool, on top of the league with 18 maximum points from 6 matches played, was overwhelmingly favoured to trample down on the newly promoted host, Sheffield United, who sits in 10th position on the log table. However, football was never played on a piece of paper but on the pitch, and Sheffield United did make Liverpool laboured in the early kick-off of matchday 7.
As expected, Liverpool set out in their favoured 4-3-3 formation, an unchanged starting 11 to the side that defeated Chelsea 2-1 in the matchday 6, with the usual front 3 of Mane, Firmino and Salah. Sheffield United, like her visitor, stuck with the same starting line-up to the one that recorded a famous 2 nil victory at Everton in the last league fixture, in their usual 3-5-2 set up, a tactic that definitely stifled Jurgen Klopp's lads for the majority of the afternoon.
It was the home side that fired the 1st warning shot, Oliver McBurnie calling Adrian to a smart save just inside 5 minutes of kick-off. Liverpool, with the majority of the ball possession, huffed and puffed for an opening but could not break down a resolute Sheffield United, who were defending in numbers. And when Liverpool did manage an opening, Sadio Mane was uncharacteristically wasteful in front of goal. Liverpool's 7 total shots off the target summed up their 1st half performance.
Liverpool, in search of the break-through goal, brought on an extra striker in the 64th minute, Divock Origi coming on for midfielder Jordan Henderson but it was the home side who immediately drew another fine save from Adrian. However, just as the afternoon gets more frustrating for the Reds, a stroke of luck swung things in their favour. Georginio Wijnaldum fired a tame volley towards Sheffield United goal and it seemed as Dean Henderson had it covered but Henderson allowed the ball to wriggle right through his arms and legs and into the net, to the heartbreak of not just his teammates but the whole fans, all the 70 minutes hard work down the drain. It was Liverpool's 1st shot on target and it proved a blow beneath the belt.
It is often time said that champions don't necessarily need to play beautiful before getting a result, they somehow grind out results by hook or crook, Liverpool had just demonstrated that notion today, another title-winning point in the kitty, how they get it is irrelevant now.
With this win, Liverpool has now gone on a winning streak of 16 league matches, their longest ever, better only by Manchester City's 18 straight league win in the 2017/18 season. Liverpool is also unbeaten in the last 24 league matches, their 2nd longest run(the longest run was the 31-match unbeaten run between 1987 and 1988). The stuff of a champion, isn't it?
Thank you all for your time.