Liverpool continued its perfect start to the Premier League season by beating Sheffield United 1-0 on Saturday, earning its seventh consecutive win despite being outplayed for much of the match by the newly promoted side.
Had it not been for a mistake by Blades goalkeeper Dean Henderson with just over 20 minutes remaining — on the Reds’ first very shot on target — Liverpool would’ve dropped its first points of 2019-20.
Instead, Georginio Wijnaldum was credited with the decisive strike after Henderson let the Dutch midfielder’s powerful drive slip underneath his torso and bounce over the line:
Liverpool’s latest victory sent last season’s runner-up eight points clear of defending champion Manchester City atop the Prem table. City takes on Everton later Saturday.
Sheffield United was fortunate when the visitors misfired on a pair of first-half opportunities. But they had the better of Jurgen Klopp’s side for most of the second half of the contest. The hosts could have even taken the lead, but Reds captain Jordan Henderson blocked a goal-bound attempt with his body.
Afterward, Klopp didn’t necessarily agree that his team was lucky to escape with three points. But he admitted that getting them was crucial.
“For us, it was important to win,” Klopp said. “When you win a lot of games, they are not all beauties. Thats’s how it is. We had work really hard, and the boys did. We could’ve done better but you have to respect the opponent. They defend in a way that is really difficult.”
The Bramall Lane crowd came alive after Dean Henderson’s howler. The match opened up as the Blades pressed for the point they deserved, but although Liverpool’s front three of Sadio Mane, Bobby Firmino and Mohamed Salah couldn’t put the game away with a second goal off the counterattack, the Reds held on defensively.
In the end, it was Liverpool’s least convincing win so far. On the other hand, it was precisely the sort of match that trophy-winning teams manage to eke out the road to glory. If Liverpool winds up atop the podium in May at the conclusion of another another tight title race, the good fortune they found against unfortunate Sheffield United could well be the reason why.
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