Liverpool favourites to return to winning ways against 19th place Sheffield United
Liverpool to win 4-1
Despite not being up to their usual standards over their previous two games, Liverpool will see this game as a chance to get back to winning ways in the league.
After being thrashed 7-2 by Aston Villa in the most remarkable scoreline of an already entertaining season, they were held by local rivals Everton, although they had a late goal disallowed by VAR for offside.
They returned to winning ways in their midweek Champions League fixture against Ajax, but they will now be looking to transfer that into three league points. They will, of course, have to do so without Virgil Van Dijk, who is now likely to miss the rest of the season through injury.
Sheffield United picked up their first point of the season last weekend, albeit against bottom side Fulham. They have looked a shadow of the team that surprised so many last season and will need sharp improvements.
Form Guide (all comps): WLLDW
Reasons to be cheerful:
Thiago should be back after Everton knock
Sheffield United have only scored two goals this season
Reasons to be fearful:
Missing Van Dijk for the first time since January 2018
Sweating on several players’ fitness
The news occupying most sports articles this week has been the fallout from the awful challenge which has now ruled out Liverpool’s Virgil Van Dijk likely for the rest of the season.
How Liverpool will cope without arguably their most important player remains to be seen. In terms of replacements, only Joe Gomez and Joel Matip are the remaining senior players, though Fabinho has played exceptionally well in that position when needed.
However, it’s also the effect he has on the rest of the team which will determine their success going forward. In truth, they’ve looked a little shaky even with him so far this campaign, conceding a league-high 13 goals.
Despite this, their forwards are still in great goalscoring form and will be licking their lips at the prospect of facing Sheffield United this weekend. They’ll be looking to fill their boots.
Star Man – Mo Salah
Has looked sharp since the International break, and took his goal against Everton brilliantly.
Form Guide (all comps): LLLLD
Reasons to be cheerful
Finally secured their first point of the season
Have conceded fewer goals than Liverpool
Reasons to be fearful
Lowest goals scored in the league this season (2)
Only won a single away game since Christmas 2019
The Blades are badly in need of a victory to boost them up the table, however their chances of that away to Liverpool this weekend are slim to say the least.
Only managing to score two goals all season, one of which was a late penalty against fellow strugglers Fulham last weekend, they are likely to struggle to cause Liverpool too many problems going forward.
Unsurprisingly, they have a terrific record against the champions, losing 19 of their previous 23 visits to Anfield.
They are also suffering from a number of injuries which certainly won’t help – key centre back O’Connell is out for the season, and Fleck, Mousset and Lowe are also likely out for this one.
We’ve seen shocking results already this season, but it would take a mammoth effort to overturn the champions here.
Star Man – Rhian Brewster
The youngster has been sharp since joining The Blades and will be desperate to claim his first goal
Liverpool will look to pressurise Sheffield United from the start
Sheffield United must make set pieces count with no Van Dijk for Liverpool
Salah and Mane will fancy their chances to score
Understandably, an ‘easy win’ has been hard to predict so far this season, with so many surprise results coming in from all over the place.
Liverpool will be wary of facing a team from lower down the table after seeing how hard they can scrap.
But with the quality that this Liverpool side have, it’s hard not to see them winning this one comfortably.
Liverpool to win 4-1