* Sheffield United V Liverpool at "Bramley Lane" [Wed 6th Dec] Match Day Thread *


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Sheffield United v Liverpool. Premier League. KO 19:30 hrs

Its probably not one of those games we might usually pay much attention - other than to guess at how many Liverpool balls end up in the Blades goal. But it has a little bit of extra spice tonight. The "Messiah" has returned to right all wrongs and stop the Blades from getting relegated before the end of this year. At the moment, they are on course for a disastrous season back in the Prem. The players they have are whats left of a useful outfit which saw them promoted last season. You cant blame average players for trying to compete in the big boys league, but they remain "average". With the current owner still claiming he wants to sell the club - the same owner Wilder had a go at before departing the Bramall Lane outfit the first time - little has really changed. United got rid of players who could have at least competed in the Premiership, but Wilder praised Heckingbottom as the best man for the job. Perhaps not the most amicable of Managers, Heckingbottom was left holding a poison Chalice. Now Wilder has returned: "you`ve got me at my best".
We watch attentively to see whether his "best" is as good enough as he thinks it is.


Averaging almost 2.8 goals against per game, with a dreadful return of just eleven scored in the league - they are currently certs to head back into the Championship come May.

Firmly anchored to the foot of the Prem, with just one win [2-1 v Wolves], two draws [Everton 2-2 / Brighton 1-1] and eleven defeats.
Some of those defeats have been record-setters and frankly embarrassing:

Sheffield United 0 - 8 Newcastle [24th September]
The Toon literally took them apart earlier in the season: 3-0 up at half time, Blades collapsed and conceded a further five in thirty one minutes!
Eight from ten Barcodes outfield players scored that day!

Arsenal 5 - 0 Sheffield United [28th October]
Against Arsenal Nketiah scored a hat-trick, with the gunners adding two more in the 88th and 90+6 minutes.

Burnley 5 - 0 Sheffield United [2nd December]
That Burnley win was only the Clarets second this season and the Blades McBurnie was sent off in the second half.

Very few smiles or 🏹 for Cameron Archer so far this season.

Its going to be one hell of a baptism of fire.
For players who must mentally and physically be on their knees - picking them up with 24 hours on the clock and instilling confidence enough to steal a point - is almost impossible. Being walloped every game and booed by their fickle fans, those footballers must feel gutted. No athlete expects to be thumped week in, week out. But hey! Dafter things have happened!
Returning manager Chris Wilder is tasked with a challenging first game back - Liverpool under the lights at Bramall Lane.

"We're under no illusions that it's an incredible first game to be in charge. I've said to the players to treat it as an FA Cup third round tie, what would their approach be? They'd be looking forward to it, wanting to be amongst it and prove a point by getting a big result from a big performance. And we'll need a huge performance. We need to get that right and if we do we can be competitive."

Speaking of his opposite number, the Blades boss added that he has great respect for Jürgen Klopp, who he described as an 'absolutely world-class manager' - and that Liverpool are a 'world-class team'.

But having watched from a distance this season, he feels that giving the Bramall Lane faithful something to shout about is key. "For the majority of the home games this season the supporters have got behind the players, the games have been close at times, and the effect can turn losses into draws, and draws into wins."

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Liverpool will not underestimate the challenge facing them when they travel to Sheffield United on Wednesday evening, Ryan Gravenberch has insisted.

The Reds take on the Premier League’s current bottom club at Bramall Lane in a 7.30pm GMT kick-off, with the hosts under new management following the reappointment of former boss Chris Wilder.

Liverpool will be aiming to build on Sunday’s dramatic 4-3 victory over Fulham at Anfield, a result that cemented outright second in the standings.
Nevertheless, Gravenberch is unequivocal in his message before the game: Jürgen Klopp’s side are readying themselves for a stern test.
“I think every game in the Premier League is difficult,” the midfielder told Premier League Productions. “We go there on Wednesday and we don’t underestimate them.

“I think we’ve done very well [so far]. We are now second in the league and we just go game by game and I think we’ve done very well.
“[The Fulham result] says a lot. I think also when you play at Anfield, the atmosphere with the fans and everything, that gave us a boost.
“Now we are second and so we are doing well, but we have a long way to go.”


Gravenberch figured for 83 minutes during the contest with Fulham last time out – his 15th appearance for Liverpool since signing from Bayern Munich on the September transfer deadline day.

Asked about his start to life at Anfield, the 21-year-old said: “I am happy with it. Of course, I can improve and do better but I think the start I made is OK.

“[I want to] just be important for the team.
“I played a lot at Ajax, so I had the confidence there as well. [Now] with Jürgen Klopp, he gave me good confidence and I am just enjoying being on the pitch again.
“I think all do well. Of course, if you come here it is a little bit difficult but I think every midfield player has shown we want to give everything and we want to adapt quickly. I think if you have seen us playing, we’re doing it OK!”

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Danny Hall from the Sheffield Star writes:
[Published 5th December]

How Sheffield United will approach "incredible" Liverpool challenge after Chris Wilder return

Bottom club Sheffield United face title-chasing Liverpool in Chris Wilder's first game back in charge

Sheffield United will treat tomorrow night's clash at home to Liverpool like an FA Cup tie, Chris Wilder has suggested, as the Blades boss prepares to make what will be an emotional return to the Bramall Lane dugout. United are bottom of the table going into the meeting with Jurgen Klopp's Reds, who are second in the league and just two points behind leaders Arsenal.

At the other end of the table United are four points from safety but are devoid of belief and confidence after back-to-back defeats in their last two games against relegation rivals Bournemouth and Burnley. United's performances in those games, rather than just their 3-1 and 5-0 defeats, persuaded the United hierarchy to make a change, with Paul Heckingbottom sacked and replaced with one of his predecessors in Wilder.

The 56-year-old returns to Bramall Lane around 1,000 days after he departed in March 2021 and in the meantime has had spells at Middlesbrough and Watford - which have left him believing United are now getting him "at his best" after feeling that "failure and pain" to make him "better". United hope that his return will galvanise both players and supporters, with no-one yet giving up on their hopes of survival.

"It's an incredible challenge," Wilder said of the Liverpool game. "We can treat it as an FA Cup third-round tie. We're playing Liverpool at home, with nothing to lose. Contrary to opinion, I have great respect for Jurgen Klopp and what he's done; he's an absolutely world-class manager and a world-class team. It's not easy but as long as we give the performance right and give the supporters something to shout about, that's the key for me.

"I've been looking from a distance but for the majority of the home games, the supporters have made that shirt light for the players and really got behind them. And they've been close at times; everyone knows that. It's amazing when you speak to people about the Covid season, when supporters weren't in Bramall Lane.

"I think that affected us more than any other club in the division. I would say that because it's my club and I know the difference they make and for me, they were turning losses into draws and draws into wins. Not single handedly, because there were 30,000 of them! And hopefully we can give them something to shout about again, in the forthcoming games."

Top Scorers - Blades

Oliver McBurnie
2 goals + 1 assist

Cameron Archer
2 goals

Gustavo Hamer
2 goals

Jayden Bogle
1 goal

Oliver Norwood
1 goal
Top Scorers - Liverpool


Mohamed Salah
13 goals + 6 assists

Diogo Jota
8 goals

Darwin Nunez
7 goals + 5 assists

Cody Gakpo
6 goals + 1 assist

Luis Diaz
5 goals
Team News:

Chris Wilder will take charge of the first game of his second spell as Sheffield United manager, having replaced Paul Heckingbottom.

Oli McBurnie is suspended following his red card against Burnley, while George Baldock is unlikely to be fit after being forced off at Turf Moor.

Liverpool defender Joel Matip is ruled out by a knee injury.
He joins Alisson, Diogo Jota, Andy Robertson, Thiago Alcantara and Stefan Bajcetic on the sidelines.

[c/o BBC Sport]

If the Blades ship two or more goals tonight, it will be a Premiership record total after the first 15 games!
Jürgen Klopp wants Liverpool to focus solely on themselves ahead of Wednesday night’s visit to take on Sheffield United in the Premier League.
[Edit from press conference v Sheffield Utd]
Liverpool will meet a Blades side under new management after the reappointment of former boss Chris Wilder in the build-up to the contest.

Klopp previewed the fixture by attending a press conference at the AXA Training Centre on Tuesday – read on for a summary of what he had to say…

On Wilder’s return and Sheffield United’s approach to the game...

How can I know that? I obviously remember the way Sheffield United played under Chris Wilder. Overlapping wing-backs, or underlapping wing-backs, stuff like this. That’s one part of it. He probably now has a press conference as well, I’m not sure, training after that, maybe another session tomorrow morning. First thing is we can probably bin our analysis! I was sitting yesterday in the office and somebody told me it might happen... but I watched it anyway. We will see. We have to focus on ourselves. I don’t think he will now change too much. What can he change in that short period?

We don’t have to think too much about it. We really should just prepare for a football game. We play teams with five at the back, 5-3-2 and 5-4-1, quite frequently, to be honest. We have to make sure we give them a proper job to think about. I understand it’s always like that – a new manager coming in and now we start getting confused; we shouldn’t. Actually, we can play in different ways and as much I am happy for Chris that he’s back in a job there at his club, if he thinks about us then it must be, ‘Oh my God, they come from everywhere.’ That’s pretty much the thing, but the game will be played tomorrow, not today in the press conference.


On whether Sheffield United will be more dangerous than perceived, because of their need for points…
Yeah, of course, that’s how it is. Last week they would have said the same, because it was then matchday [14]. It’s the same, yes. I understand that. There will be a lot of passion now, Chris Wilder in the dugout and I’m pretty sure a great reception for him, all these kind of things. But in the end we have to play a football game, that’s it. Will the atmosphere be great? Yes, as long as we let it happen.

The only way you can calm down an atmosphere is always with your own football, otherwise you play [and it’s] just coming from everywhere pretty much. So we have to play a really good game, but that’s fair. Imagine we wouldn’t have to play a good game to win against Sheffield United – it’s the Premier League, it’s not possible. They will be really going for it, I’m 100 per cent sure. And we will as well, I’m 100 per cent sure about that. That’s the only thing I can have real influence in, the rest we will see. But the better we play, the more difficult it will be for Sheffield, and that’s the job we have to do.

Not sure who I want to win or lose this game, cannot stand Sheff Utd and detest Wilder.... I detest Liverpool and cannot stand Klopp... :rolleyes: