Liverpool got themselves back to winning ways in the Premier League with a 2-0 victory over Sheffield United at Bramall Lane on Sunday night.
Homegrown youngster Curtis Jones and a Kean Bryan own goal ended the Reds’ run of four successive league defeats and simultaneously heaped more misery on Chris Wilder’s rock-bottom side.
Klopp’s side moved to within two points of the top four – West Ham currently sit fourth – with their win in Yorkshire, thanks to two second half goals.
Without goalkeeper Alisson Becker on compassionate grounds following the death of his father Jose in Brazil, it was all pretty much routine for the reigning champions.
But for United, it was another miserable night in a season to forget, where they struggled to make any real dent on the visitors’ latest makeshift defence, succumbing to their 21st defeat in 26 games, and leaving them 15 points from safety.
Here are five talking points from the encounter…
1. More like it!
It’s a very small step admittedly, but this was Liverpool ending their miserable run with a pretty solid display and a routine win.
There were no fireworks and they weren’t anywhere near their scintillating best.
But they did what was required at Bramall Lane, to put an end to their run of four straight defeats and serve notice that they are still in the battle for Champions League places.
It also takes them within a point of Chelsea, currently fifth, whom they meet this week.
2. Joyful Jones
If there is one bright spot for the Reds during this difficult 2020-21 season, then the rise of homegrown midfielder Jones from bit-part player to bona-fide first-teamer is very much it.
Klopp loves his ability to ghost by opponents, to play the clever final pass and his eye for goal.
He excelled here, adding drive and thrust from midfield and scoring the first goal that helped take them to an ultimately comfortable victory.
Surprisingly it was only his first league goal of the season. But make no mistake, he’s had a fine individual season and is going to have a major future at Anfield.
3. Another new defensive partnership
Without Ben Davies and with Jordan Henderson injured, it was another new central defensive duo for Liverpool at the back.
And Nat Phillips and Ozan Kabak did what was required.
OK, they weren’t up against much and there were a couple of minor hiccups across the 90-plus minutes.
But overall, in Klopp’s system where they have to be brave and push high, both did reasonably well.
Chelsea and the movement of Timo Werner will be a much different test on Thursday night.
But here, they deserve credit.
4. Blunt Blades have no way back
So 11 points in 25 games becomes 11 points in 26 games for Chris Wilder’s men.
Amid no shortage of effort but a complete lack of goals and a widespread shortage of inspiration, the blunt Blades are heading back to the Championship.
The only question now what position they’ll end the campaign in terms of worst-ever Premier League seasons.
They’re currently level with Derby’s 2007-08 miserable 11 point total, so they’ll not be the worst thankfully.
Not that that’ll be much consolation for the Yorkshire club’s manager nor his players.
5. 7000, just done it!
Remember when Ian Wright broke Arsenal ’s goal-scoring record, stripped off his shirt and revealed a ‘Just Done It’ Nike vest? Great times the late 90s.
Anyway, perhaps the Reds could get their kit manufacturers to invest in some kind of repeat after becoming only the second club to reach the total of 7000 goals in the history of the English top flight.
Then again, not sure they’ll particularly want to celebrate said milestone given that the first side to reach that particular figure was Merseyside rivals Everton.
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