Photo by John Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images

Five things we learned as Liverpool beat Sheffield United 2-1

Liverpool secured a vital victory against a resilient Sheffield United in what proved to be a battling performance from Jurgen Klopp’s team.

Goals from Roberto Firmino and Diogo Jota saw the Reds overturn a one-goal deficit after they fell behind early on due to yet another contentious VAR decision which saw Sheffield United convert from the penalty spot.

Here is a look at five things we learned from a rewarding night at Anfield…

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND – OCTOBER 24: Jordan Henderson of Liverpool looks on during the Premier League match between Liverpool and Sheffield United at Anfield on October 24, 2020 in Liverpool, England. Sporting stadiums around the UK remain under strict restrictions due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in games being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)

Captain fantastic

Jordan Henderson produced yet another outstanding performance to inspire his team to a crucial win.

What was particularly impressive from Henderson was that his quality showed best while Liverpool were enjoying one of their worst periods of the game.

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The Liverpool skipper produced one of the moments of the match after his perfectly weighted cross led directly to the equaliser which inevitably drove Liverpool on to their fourth league win of the season.

 

He relished in his role in covering ground for his teammates as his drive and determination lead by example from start-to-finish. Once again it was Henderson who set the standard for his teammates to match.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND – OCTOBER 24: Joe Gomez of Liverpool battles for possession with Oliver Burke of Sheffield United during the Premier League match between Liverpool and Sheffield United at Anfield on October 24, 2020 in Liverpool, England. Sporting stadiums around the UK remain under strict restrictions due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in games being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)

Joe GOAT Gomez

Joe Gomez could not have put in two more commanding performances to convince supporters that Liverpool are still a force to be reckoned with defensively.

Klopp has always maintained his trust in the player and his faith was rewarded with one of his most impressive performances to date.

Gomez once again partnered Fabinho, who was the man-of-the-match in Amsterdam. There was no questioning who was the star of the show on Saturday night under the Anfield lights.

The England international certainly took his time to grow into the game and enjoyed a physical aerial battle with Ollie McBurnie in the first-half.

From a statistical outlook, he was even more impressive. Defensively, he made one tackle, two interceptions, eight clearences and won six aerial duels.

On the ball, he was just as influential. He averaged a pass success rate of 92 per cent and completed more passes (86) than any other player in the team. Also, he had a 100 per cent accuracy when it came to long passes completed (12/12).

There certainly will be more big challenges to come, but Liverpool could not have asked for more from Gomez, considering the circumstances.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND – OCTOBER 24: Diogo Jota of Liverpool celebrates with teammate Trent Alexander-Arnold after scoring his team’s second goal during the Premier League match between Liverpool and Sheffield United at Anfield on October 24, 2020 in Liverpool, England. Sporting stadiums around the UK remain under strict restrictions due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in games being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Peter Byrne – Pool/Getty Images)

Jota took his chance

The knocking on the door had become too loud for Klopp to ignore and finally Diogo Jota was given his chance to shine.

It was the Portugal international’s full Premier League debut with the Reds and it was certainly a performance to remember.

Jota, surprisingly started on the right of a 4-2-3-1 system and to begin with, was too often on the periphery, hesitant and too easily ushered down ineffective areas of the pitch.

Slowly but surely, Jota got himself into the game. It took some time, but Liverpool eventually began to flex their muscles with Jota warming to his task down the right.

He was a menace for Chris Wilder to deal with and his work-rate off the ball, bustling down the flank and providing defensive cover for Trent Alexander-Arnold, no doubt endeared him to his new Liverpool team-mates.

He also delivered in front of goal, demonstrating an impressive spring to leap highest at the far post and head home Sadio Mane’s perfectly floated cross from the left midway through the second half.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND – OCTOBER 24: Mohamed Salah of Liverpool celebrates after scoring a goal which is then disallowed following a VAR review during the Premier League match between Liverpool and Sheffield United at Anfield on October 24, 2020 in Liverpool, England. Sporting stadiums around the UK remain under strict restrictions due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in games being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Peter Byrne – Pool/Getty Images)

A game of two halves for Salah

It may not have been a vintage performance from Salah but he continuous to showcase why he is among one of the best forwards in world football.

Even when they are aren’t at their best or are struggling to get a stronghold in the game, the top players just need that odd moment of magic.

Salah typifies this better than any other player as in the first period the Egyptian forward was completely ineffective and struggled to impact the game in any capacity for his team.

By the time the second half began, Salah cut a completely different figure and was a man possessed from an attacking perspective. He constantly looked to get on the ball and wreak havoc from wide positions.

He was unlucky not to get on the scoresheet after he saw a fantastically taken goal chalked off having been dubbed inches offside.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND – OCTOBER 24: Jurgen Klopp, Manager of Liverpool and Jordan Henderson of Liverpool celebrate following their team’s victory in the Premier League match between Liverpool and Sheffield United at Anfield on October 24, 2020 in Liverpool, England. Sporting stadiums around the UK remain under strict restrictions due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in games being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

Three points all that mattered

For the second time this week, the Reds had the resolve and guts to grind out a vital victory. The fact they are so regularly able to do so is no fluke, and such mental resilience is one of the greatest assets that Klopp has installed into the club’s armoury.

It will be needed more than ever in the coming weeks and months especially given the number of injuries we have managed to clock up in recent weeks.

There’s no question that there’s still plenty to come from this Liverpool side who are still moving up the gears in this frankly ridiculous season. They are yet to get anywhere near their best, so the fact they now sit as joint leaders is cause for optimism as life without their irreplaceable Dutchman finally became a reality in the Premier League.

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