Reds must stay ruthless in title tilt

Sheffield United are top of the VAR (video assistant referee) table for decisions against them (seven), the latest coming last Sunday when Lys Mousset's effort against Manchester City was ruled out for offside at the Etihad. The Blades eventually los
Sheffield United are top of the VAR (video assistant referee) table for decisions against them (seven), the latest coming last Sunday when Lys Mousset's effort against Manchester City was ruled out for offside at the Etihad. The Blades eventually lost 2-0. In contrast, Liverpool benefited from the VAR call in their 1-0 win over Wolves. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

LONDON • Liverpool are determined not to let complacency creep into the hunt for their first domestic league title in 30 years, midfielder Adam Lallana has said.

The Premier League leaders are on 55 points with 19 matches left and also have a game in hand on their closest rivals Leicester and Manchester City.

They were 13 points clear of the Foxes and 14 ahead of City before their rivals' matches yesterday against Newcastle and Everton respectively.

Liverpool became only the third team to go unbeaten in 50 consecutive home games in the English top flight when they beat Wolverhampton Wanderers 1-0 on Sunday and Lallana said it would be more of the same this year.

"We want to maintain that form going into the New Year and keep Anfield a fortress," Lallana told the club website ahead of today's home clash with Sheffield United. "We can't take our foot off the gas."

Most pundits already regard Liverpool as champions-in-waiting, while City's Sergio Aguero said this week it would be too hard to claw back the deficit.

But Lallana says the team are not looking too far ahead and are focused on Sheffield and Sunday's FA Cup tie against Everton.

"We've got a couple of huge games at home in the next week - Sheffield United, who have had a fantastic season, and then the derby in the Cup," he said.

Midfielder Xherdan Shaqiri missed the Wolves game with a hamstring problem and manager Jurgen Klopp said the Swiss could be out for about 10 days.

He is also still without Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Fabinho (ankle), Dejan Lovren (hamstring) and Joel Matip (knee).

Chris Wilder's Sheffield side lost 2-0 at City on Sunday but they have demonstrated great resilience this campaign, having not lost back-to-back league games.

Ahead of today's clash, Wilder spoke out against the VAR (video assistant referee) after witnessing a Lys Mousset effort ruled out for offside at the Etihad.

"We obviously want to get the clear and obvious decisions right but, at the moment, we aren't," said the 52-year-old, whose side sit top of the VAR table for decisions against them (seven).

"It definitely has to be looked at because we are always looking for goals and entertainment and for them to be chalked off can't be right.

"There's got to be a better way of sorting it out, if it is here to stay."

He could also take note that Liverpool are not invincible despite not losing a league match this term.

The Reds needed the help of the VAR for their narrow win over Wolves, with Sadio Mane's goal initially ruled out for a handball by Lallana only for referee Anthony Taylor's decision to be overturned by technology.

REUTERS

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 02, 2020, with the headline 'Reds must stay ruthless in title tilt'. Print Edition | Subscribe