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Sheffield United logo
Premier League | Gameweek 15
Dec 6, 2023 at 7.30pm UK
Bramall Lane
Liverpool logo
Sheff Utd
0 - 2

Bogle (90+6'), Norwood (90')
FT(HT: 0-1)
van Dijk (37'), Szoboszlai (90+4')
Endo (34'), Konate (62'), Nunez (84')

Liverpool spoil Chris Wilder's Sheffield United homecoming to close gap on Arsenal

Liverpool spoil Chris Wilder homecoming to close gap on Arsenal
© Reuters
Liverpool beat Sheffield United 2-0 to spoil Chris Wilder's homecoming at Bramall Lane and close the gap on leaders Arsenal back to two points.

Liverpool have closed the gap to Arsenal at the top of the Premier League table back to two points courtesy of a 2-0 victory over Sheffield United in Chris Wilder's first match back in charge of the Blades.

Virgil van Dijk and Dominik Szoboszlai got the visitors' goals to spoil Wilder's homecoming, with the manager having returned for a second spell at the helm following the sacking of Paul Heckingbottom on Tuesday.

The result leaves Sheffield United still rooted to the bottom of the table and four points from safety, yet there was plenty for Wilder to be encouraged by on the first full day of his second reign.

Liverpool were never entirely comfortable even after Van Dijk's opener towards the end of the first half, and it was not until the fifth of six added minutes that they were assured of the points courtesy of Szoboszlai's strike to double the lead.

The Reds did largely keep the hosts at arm's length throughout the match, though, eventually seeing out a victory that keeps them second in the table and within touching distance of leaders Arsenal.

Crucially for Jurgen Klopp's side, it is also a first win in five Premier League away games stretching back to mid-September, and a first clean sheet on the road all season to end an eight-game wait which dates back to May.

Liverpool's Dominik Szoboszlai celebrates scoring their second goal with Curtis Jones, Harvey Elliott and Wataru Endo on December 6, 2023© Reuters

With just one goal needed to reach 150 in the Premier League and 200 for Liverpool, Mohamed Salah would have been licking his lips at the prospect of facing a Sheffield United side that had shipped 39 goals in their opening 14 games, and sure enough he had the first sight of goal after 10 minutes.

Luis Diaz floated a cross over from the left flank which found Salah completely unmarked inside the box, but despite seeing the ball all the way and having time to line up his volley, he sliced it harmlessly over the crossbar.

The hosts had the chance to punish that rare profligacy just two minutes later when Joe Gomez was caught in possession to send two Sheffield United players bearing down on goal, but Caoimhin Kelleher rescued his side with a big save to deny Manchester City loanee James McAtee when one on one.

It proved to be the Blades' only clear-cut opening of the night, although Liverpool also struggled to create too much at the other end and it was a set piece that provided the breakthrough.

Van Dijk shook off his marker to get on the end of a Trent Alexander-Arnold corner, volleying home when unmarked for his first goal of the season, and Alexander-Arnold's 75th assist for Liverpool.

The Liverpool skipper had another chance from a corner three minutes later, this time heading over the bar, before Salah and Alexis Mac Allister were both denied by Wes Foderingham as the visitors pushed for a second goal before half time.

Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder reacts on December 6, 2023© Reuters

Foderingham was needed again in the second half, pulling off a fine reaction stop to keep out Salah's sweetly-struck volley from a corner and then thwarting substitute Darwin Nunez from a one on one.

Nunez may have felt that he should have done better with that chance, but he made up for the miss with his role in the second goal as Liverpool finally wrapped up the points in the 95th minute.

The Uruguayan initially lost possession inside the Sheffield United half but then fought hard to win it back with a sliding challenge, before picking out an unmarked Szoboszlai, who slammed his finish home emphatically.

It was a goal that means that Sheffield United have now conceded more than any other Premier League team in history after 15 games of a season - 41 - while they have now lost 12 of those 15 games.

However, there will be far more positives for them to take from this spirited effort than the 5-0 defeat to Burnley at the weekend which ultimately cost Heckingbottom his job, and Wilder will no doubt take a greater sense of optimism into Saturday's home meeting with Brentford.

Liverpool, meanwhile, travel to Crystal Palace on Saturday with the chance to move temporarily top of the table in the early kickoff.

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2Manchester CityMan City26185359263359
4Aston Villa26164656352152
5Tottenham HotspurSpurs25145652381447
6Manchester UnitedMan Utd26142103636044
7Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton2610974941839
8West Ham UnitedWest Ham2611694046-639
9Wolverhampton WanderersWolves26115104040038
10Newcastle UnitedNewcastle26114115445937
13Crystal Palace2677123144-1328
17Nottingham ForestNott'm Forest2666143448-1424
18Luton TownLuton2555153551-1620
20Sheffield UnitedSheff Utd2634192266-4413

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