Dark clouds drifted across the Pennines, and as the players entered the field at Bramall Lane, the rain swirled in autumn gusts around them and made them shake in the wind. But Liverpool didn't care. They are living in the golden times. It looks like they are playing in endless summer.
This was the seventh consecutive win in a flawless Premier League season and they have now won 16 consecutive games. The last time they didn't win a game in the competition was on March 3, when they drew 0-0 against Everton at Goodison Park. They are marching nonstop.
Yesterday they weren't at their best. Even coach Jurgen Klopp admitted that Sheffield United deserved a draw. But they dug and grafted and stayed there and blocked the roars and curses of the home fans. And they kept their scores level enough that an outrageous slice of luck presented them with victory.
Georginio Wijnaldum kept his eyes on the prize and dropped a volley to open the scoring in the final stages of the game.
Wijnaldum jumped for joy after his attempt squeezed under goalkeeper Dean Henderson
Henderson kept his head in his hands after his mistake allowed the ball to roll to the back of the net
The Dutchman shouted with joy and relief as he celebrated with teammate Roberto Firmino
A red light went off at the end of the match when Liverpool fans celebrated their side by taking the lead
Jurgen Klopp embraced the winner in the final whistle as Liverpool clinched three points at Sheffield.
PREMIER ALLOY FACTS, CLASSIFICATIONS AND TABLE
SHEFFIELD UNITED (3: 5: 2): Henderson 6; Basham 6, Egan 7, O & # 39; Connell 7; Baldock 6, Lundstram 6, Norwood 7 (Clarke 72 6), Fleck 8, Stevens 7; Robinson 7 (Mousset 60 6), McBurnie 6
UNUSED SUBJECTS: Luke Freeman, Jagielka, Osborn, Moore, Besic
RESERVED: The & # 39; Connell
Football Field (4: 3: 3): Adrian 7; Alexander-Arnold 6, Matip 7, Van Dijk 7, Robertson 6; Wijnaldum 6, Henderson 6.5 (Origi 637), Fabinho 6; Salah 6, Firmino 6, Mane 6 (Oxlade-Chamberlain 90 + 4)
SUBJECT: Lovren, Milner, Gomez, Lallana, Kelleher
REFEREE: Anthony Taylor 8
Man of the game: Fleck
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It came 70 minutes into the game when Dean Henderson, a goalkeeper for Manchester United's Sheffield United goalkeeper so far, allowed Gini Wijnaldum's shot to wriggle in his hands and roll slowly down the line. Klopp's team temporarily took at least eight points at the top of the table. "Winning on cloudy days is especially valuable," said the Liverpool chief.
His opposite number, Chris Wilder, was understandably downcast. Sheffield United played good football and created two clear chances that they could not convert. Wilder said: "We had a glorious golden opportunity to put a marker that we are in this division to compete and win big games, and we let that slip through our fingers."
Liverpool entered the game facing the threat of a Carabao Cup fine or expulsion for pitting a player, Pedro Chirivella, against MK Dons mid-week, who may not be allowed to compete internationally.
Their rivals expect the EFL, as it seems likely, to show Liverpool pity and allow them to remain in the cup. The last thing any of Liverpool's opponents need is for them to be released to focus their resources even more on the Premier League.
Liverpool started the game slowly. By the recent standards of the two bond hunters anyway. A journalist, who arrived late after a mess at the gate, was told he would have missed five goals had it been Manchester City-Watford last week. This was a completely different date. These blades are made of steel.
In the early exchanges, Wilder's team did their best and in the middle of the match forged the first decent chance. John Fleck, the best player in the game, passed the ball to Callum Robinson on the right side of the Liverpool area and Robinson kicked Adrian hard but far from the far post.
The Blades continued to threaten the league leader Liverpool in the air throughout the match, from start to finish.
First-half best chance fell for Sadio Mane after a long kick over team-mate Virgil van Dijk
The striker was individual with the goalkeeper, but cut his shot from afar and scored for a goal kick
Gradually, Liverpool began to become more threatening, especially at halftime, especially when any mistake by Sheffield United gave them the opportunity. The home side defended superbly most of the time, but when Enda Stevens stopped for a split second in his own area, Mohamed Salah jumped quickly and made an instant left-footed shot wide.
Ten minutes before the break Liverpool should have gone ahead. Virgil van Dijk, newly named the world's best player in honor of Lionel Messi, threw a simple ball over the defense but was so perfectly thoughtful and focused that he left Sadio Mane with a clear run on goal. The stadium tensed in anticipation, but Mane cut it terribly high with only Henderson to win.
Mane missed another golden chance in the break blow. This time, Fleck let a Stevens ball run under his foot into his own area, and Salah broke at the speed of light. He pushed the ball to Roberto Firmino on the edge of the box and Firmino passed it straight to Mane. Once again, Mane had only Henderson to win, but once again failed to put Liverpool ahead. This time his shot was fired from the base of the pole and was cut off.
Energized by the arrival of substitute Lys Mousset early in the second half, Sheffield United started more strongly and Adrian had to turn right to give Fleck a kick, which leaped awkwardly around him around the post.
Moments earlier, Mohamed Salah tried to open his body and choose the farthest corner of Sheffield's goal.
The house's faithful continued to make Bramall Lane a cauldron of noise for 90 minutes plus downtime
Jurgen Klopp cut an animated figure off the touchline and continued shouting commands to his players.
Salah was hurt after his arm was supported by Sheffield United's Enda Stevens
Mane attempted an acrobatic effort in the early stages of the contest, but failed to make a clean contact.
A match between Virgil van Dijk and Ollie McBurnie began as soon as the referee whistled.
Fleck should have put his team ahead minutes later. They worked the ball superb in midfield with a touch of passes that gave the midfielder, nephew of former Chelsea striker Norwich Robert, room to move. He kicked Fabinho with a clever turn that seemed to leave him with only Adrian to hit, but as he fired, Andy Robertson's flying form appeared on the left stage to block the ball, which shot into the goal.
Wilder's team soon regretted their debauchery. A few minutes later, Liverpool substitute Divock Origi's cross was only halfway through. A defensive looped header sent the ball to the edge of the area and Wijnaldum kicked hard and firmly towards the volley goal.
It was a good attempt but it went straight to Henderson but the goalkeeper allowed him to squirm and he rolled agonizing slowly down the line. Henderson made some kind of reparation when Salah scored the goal 13 minutes later.
Henderson got up as high as he could, and when Salah tried to pass the ball past him instead of touching Firmino, Henderson stretched one foot and deflected the ball over the bar.
With five minutes left, a fairy tale almost materialized. When Stevens made a pass from the left, substitute Leon Clarke, who made his Premier League debut at 34, was ahead of his marker and hit the ball six yards away. He made a good connection but couldn't control it and she flew over the bar.
The rain was gone, the sun was shining. Liverpool's endless summer continues.
England coach Gareth Southgate was watching from the Bramall Lane bleachers early Saturday
. (tagsToTranslate) dailymail (t) sport (t) football (t) sheffield-utd (t) league premier (t) jurgen-klopp (t) liverpool