Liverpool demonstrated how they’ll win the Premier League title with their 1-0 win over Sheffield United.
On the whole, it was probably the Reds’ worst league performance so far. They stuttered, rarely looking fluid, and simply couldn’t finish.
Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah both had golden chances that you couldn’t really imagine them missing. Mane’s first – after a phenomenal long ball from Virgil van Dijk – looked a simple lob but he completely sliced it.
His second should have been a tap-in but it cracked back off the post. Then Salah, who effectively treats one-on-ones as goals, uncharacteristically missed.
But despite an inability to score goals, Liverpool beat Sheffield and remain on top in the title race.
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The decisive goal was a complete fluke as Gini Wijnaldum’s effort was bundled into his own net by Dean Henderson – hardy the way to win a title.
But their defence allowed them a freebie. Instead of blowing the Blades away, they kept them at bay until the inevitable happened.
It’s something that simply wouldn’t have happened at a pre-Van Dijk Liverpool. They’d have conceded at least one as the forwards struggled, and then probably a second as they chased a goal. They certainly wouldn’t take home three points.
A solid defence gives them a platform for wins like this, though. It’s something the Reds haven’t had for a very, very long time and it may well deliver the title.