A year on, Reds still unbeaten

Sadio Mane scoring Liverpool's second goal during their EPL match against Sheffield United at Anfield on Thursday. Mohamed Salah was the other scorer in the 2-0 win that took Liverpool's lead over second-placed Leicester to 13 points, with a game in hand.
Sadio Mane scoring Liverpool's second goal during their EPL match against Sheffield United at Anfield on Thursday. Mohamed Salah was the other scorer in the 2-0 win that took Liverpool's lead over second-placed Leicester to 13 points, with a game in hand. PHOTO: ASSOCIATED PRESS

Klopp hails side's run after 2-0 win over Sheffield United, but says they can be better

LONDON • Liverpool have just gone a year unbeaten and become the only Premier League side to survive the festive period without dropping a point, yet Jordan Henderson thinks they can still improve and his manager agrees with him.

"Overall, our intensity was really good," the Reds captain said after a comfortable 2-0 win over Sheffield United on Thursday night, courtesy of strikes from Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane, increasing their lead over second-placed Leicester to 13 points, with a game in hand.

"We coped well, but we will have to improve on that for the (Merseyside) derby on Sunday."

Jurgen Klopp also conceded there was "space for improvement", suggesting he might chop and change for the FA Cup third-round tie with Everton to give some players a rest, without giving away any secrets.

"We have some tired players and a lot of injuries, and we've just had a tough game," the Liverpool manager said.

"I will do what I think is best but I will not be telling Carlo Ancelotti the line-up in advance."

Klopp, who confirmed that Naby Keita will not face Everton after injuring his groin in the warm-up, is also not getting carried away at the league run.

  • 874

  • Completed passes against Sheffield United, Liverpool's most in a Premier League game since Opta started compiling this statistic in the 2003-04 season. Only Manchester City have managed more, three times.

"That is exceptional, but we did not think about one year (undefeated), we thought about winning this game, that was the target," the German said. "The boys were 100 per cent focused, that was the important stuff.

"In all positions, it was exceptional. Our new year starts at the middle of May - so we have season resolutions, not year resolutions."

While Klopp admitted his side had gone off the boil a little when the passing became sloppy, after a scare at Bramall Lane earlier in the season, he had been determined to set up his side in the right way.

"It is not important to be spectacular when you play such an opponent, the main thing is to make sure your passing is good and your positional discipline is good," he said.

"Ours was, and, while I do think we could still do some things better, I was pleased to see us doing a few things better than we did in the last game.

"Nothing ends. We have to make sure we are ready again. I am really happy and really proud of the boys. We should not take things like this for granted."

And it was their ability to keep the visitors at bay despite never really getting out of first gear at Anfield, which led Chris Wilder to declare his belief that they will "soon be Premier League champions too".

The Sheffield United manager said: "We never laid a glove on Liverpool, we were well beaten technically and tactically and, but for our goalkeeper, we might have lost by four or five.

"Every time, we tried to press them they played around us with the quality they have got. You can see why they are world champions.

"What impressed me most was watching them do the basics better than us, the headers and tackles and blocks.

"Even at the end, they were still fighting for everything. The only comfort I can take is that it has taken 21 games for that (losing the league double-header) to happen to us, but we are still professional and it hurts."

THE GUARDIAN

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 04, 2020, with the headline 'A year on, Reds still unbeaten'. Print Edition | Subscribe