Liverpool-Sheffield United Preview

Jurgen Klopp acknowledges Liverpool already face a "big challenge" simply to qualify for the Champions League with their Premier League title defence in tatters.

The Reds play Sheffield United on Sunday and enter the weekend sixth, 19 points behind leaders Manchester City and also five shy of fourth-placed West Ham.

Injuries have proved a huge hindrance to the champions this term, but they will continue to battle for a top-four finish.

"It is a big challenge, big challenge, of course," Klopp said. "That's how it is.

"You only have to look at the points; it's not too far off but already it's a distance. So that's all clear.

"We don't have to talk too much about that, the only thing we have to do is to try to win as many games as possible.

"That's what we do - and then we will see at the end of the season. But, of course, it's a challenge."

A trip to basement side Sheffield United might be deemed a kinder fixture, but Klopp is prepared for another test.

"They will fight with all they have, we will fight with all we have," he said.

"It's not important if it's dangerous or difficult or the best moment, it's the only game we have this weekend and that's the way we want to go into it."

The Blades are facing relegation, but Chris Wilder said: "Whatever season, whatever division, a big end to the season is better than a not so big.

"There's always something to play for, an obligation to everybody. They're professional footballers."

Sheffield United - Billy Sharp

Sharp, 35, (three) and David McGoldrick, 33, (five) have accounted for over half of Sheffield United's division-low 15 league goals this season. But two of Sharp's strikes have come from the penalty spot and Liverpool have conceded eight spot-kicks in the top flight this term, their joint-most in a single Premier League campaign (also eight in 2010-11).

Liverpool - Ozan Kabak

Jordan Henderson's injury has further turned up the heat on new man Kabak. Now a certainty to start at centre-back, he has already made an error leading to a goal three games into his Liverpool career having gone without one in his two years in Germany. The Reds' season rests on Kabak regaining his composure.

- Sheffield United lost 1-0 to Liverpool at Bramall Lane last season, last losing consecutive home top-flight meetings with the Reds back in September 1921.

- Liverpool have won their past four Premier League games against Sheffield United, although those wins have been spread over the 2006-07, 2019-20 and 2020-21 seasons.

- Sheffield United have lost 20 of their 25 Premier League games this season (W3 D2), the fewest number of games a team has taken to reach 20 defeats in a single campaign in English top-flight history.

- Liverpool have lost six of their past nine Premier League games (W2 D1), as many as they had in their previous 100 in the competition (W75 D19). The Reds have lost four consecutive Premier League games, last losing five in a row in the top flight in August and September 1953.

- Liverpool have conceded 34 goals in their 25 Premier League games this season, one more than they did in the whole of their 2019-20 title winning season.

Updated February 26, 2021

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