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Result: Sheffield United 0-2 Liverpool: Reds return to winning ways

Jurgen Klopp's champions had lost their previous four league games.

Liverpool returned to winning ways in the Premier League with a 2-0 victory over Sheffield United at Bramall Lane.

Curtis Jones and a Kean Bryan own goal ended the Reds’ run of four successive league defeats and heaped more misery on the bottom-placed Blades.

Bryan’s own goal, which was originally credited to Roberto Firmino, was Liverpool’s 7,000th goal in top-flight football and secured a win which moves Jurgen Klopp’s champions within two points of fourth-placed West Ham.

Sheffield United’s 21st defeat from 26 games leaves them 15 points from safety with a seemingly impossible battle to beat the drop.

Liverpool left out goalkeeper Alisson Becker on compassionate grounds following the death of his father Jose in Brazil.

The Liverpool players wore black armbands in support of Alisson as Adrian made his first Premier League appearance since the Merseyside derby at Everton on October 17.

Skipper Jordan Henderson was also on the sidelines following groin surgery and Nat Phillips started in central defence alongside Ozan Kabak.

The home side handed the captaincy to the returning David McGoldrick and the striker tested Adrian within the opening five minutes.

Oliver Norwood’s free-kick was flighted to the far post and McGoldrick met it to force a point-blank stop from Adrian, although a late offside flag would have ruled out the effort anyway.

Liverpool should have led after 10 minutes when the ball kindly for the unmarked Firmino.

The Brazilian advanced into a clear shooting position but failed to beat the outstretched arm of Aaron Ramsdale, even though the Blades goalkeeper appeared to go to ground prematurely.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp celebrates with goalkeeper Adrian
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp celebrates with goalkeeper Adrian (Oli Scarff/PA)

Adrian made a smart save to push McGoldrick’s deflected effort around a post, but the action was increasingly at the other end as the half wore on and Liverpool dominated.

Ramsdale smothered efforts from Jones and Mohamed Salah before making a flying save from Trent Alexander-Arnold after the England full-back had pounced on an error from Ethan Ampadu.

Adrian was beaten after 36 minutes when Kabak slid the ball past him, but the Turkey international’s blushes were spared by an offside flag against Oli McBurnie.

Ramsdale’s resistance continued with another stop to foil Georginio Wijnaldum, and the follow-up opportunity was lost as Firmino chose to pass rather than fire the rebound goalwards.

Liverpool struggled to find a way past Aaron Ramsdale in the first half
Liverpool struggled to find a way past Aaron Ramsdale in the first half (Oli Scarff/PA)

Liverpool must have wondered at half-time what they needed to do to beat the inspired Ramsdale.

But the answer came within three minutes of the restart as Alexander-Arnold crossed from the right and Jones drilled home his second Premier League goal into the bottom corner of Ramsdale’s net.

Sheffield United players felt that the ball had gone out of play before Alexander-Arnold had reached it, but a VAR check confirmed that was not the case and the goal stood.

Sadio Mane had an effort ruled out for offside before McBurnie squandered a glorious chance to equalise, the unmarked Scotland striker heading Norwood’s cross wide from eight yards out.

It was to prove a costly miss as Liverpool doubled their advantage after 65 minutes.

Firmino played one-twos with Jones and Mane and evaded a posse of home defenders to find a shooting angle and give Liverpool breathing space.

But television replays showed the ball was going wide before deflecting off Bryan, denying Firmino his seventh goal of the season.

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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Manchester CityMan City33245469244577
2Manchester UnitedMan Utd32199464352966
3Leicester CityLeicester32185958372159
4Chelsea321510750311955
5West Ham UnitedWest Ham32167953421155
6Tottenham HotspurSpurs331581056381853
7Liverpool32158954381653
8Everton31147104340349
9Arsenal32137124436846
10Leeds UnitedLeeds32144145050046
11Aston Villa31135134435944
12Wolverhampton WanderersWolves32118133241-941
13Crystal Palace31108133352-1938
14Southampton32106164058-1836
15Newcastle UnitedNewcastle3298153553-1835
16Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton32713123338-534
17Burnley3289152645-1933
18Fulham33512162543-1827
19West Bromwich AlbionWest Brom3259182862-3424
RSheffield UnitedSheff Utd3242261756-3914

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