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Premier League 2020-21 Preview: Liverpool vs Sheffield United

Fresh from picking up a crucial away win against the hosts AFC Ajax in the Champions League 2020-21 Group D Match, Liverpool Fc are set to play their Premier League Match at home against Sheffield United Fc.

Date: 24 October 2020 (Saturday) ; Time: 8:00 p.m (BST) kick-off ; Venue: Anfield, England.

The defending English Champions Liverpool Fc (The Reds) will head into the match with some of their key players sidelined for an indeterminate period.

Despite being winless this season, Sheffield United Fc (The Blades) has always been a plucky side to beat for the Reds. Dean Henderson had been a brilliant Goalkeeper last season for the Blades and the young Englishman racked up several Clean Sheets for the Blades. After joining the Blades first on a Season-Long Loan Deal for the 2018-19 Season, Dean Henderson helped the Blades secure their Premier League promotion.

However, the young Goalkeeper returned back to his parent club Manchester United Fc following the completion of his Season-Long Loan Deal Last Season and since then, the Blades lacked their usual defensive solidity.

The Blades bought Rhian Brewster from the Reds during the last Summer Transfer window to spruce up their attack and bring more goal scoring options. The youngster himself will be keen to make his mark at his former club.

Both sides have their reasons to chase for a positive result. The Blades knows even getting a draw against the hosts Reds will kick-start their season. Yet, it’s easier said than done as the Reds are unbeaten at home for more than 60+ matches spaning over 2+ years.

For the Reds though, they need to pick up another Home Win in their quest to win back-to-back Premier League Titles.

The Spaniard Goalkeeper Adrián is expected to continue with the Goalkeeping Duties until Alisson Becker fully recovers from his Shoulder Injury.

In the absence of Virgil Van Dijk, Fabinho will be again expected to be lined up alongside with Joe Gomez in the heart of the defence.

 

Reds Team Injuries and Suspensions: The mounting injuries to key players within a short period of time has become hugely problematic for Jürgen Klopp. The German Coach is forced to dig deep searching for solutions internally.

Despite returning back for the training, Alisson Becker will not be rushed into the side as he continues to recover from his shoulder injury.

As a precaution, Joël Matip was pulled out before the AFC Ajax match due to a tight Leg muscle issue and will be further medically reassessed.

After sustaining injury during the Everton match, Virgil Van Dijk will be expected to undergo surgery on his injured knee and as such, he will be ruled out for an indeterminate period.

The Reds themselves would not specify on how long the influential Dutchman will miss but everyone connected with the Club will hope for his speedy recovery.

Thiago Alcântara will be another player expected not to be considered for the Team Selection. The Reds Medical Team will likely give the Spaniard more time to recover from his Leg injury.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is still expected to be ruled out with Knee injury.

On a positive note, Naby Keïta seems to have recovered from COVID-19 and there is a possibility of the young Guinean being included in the Starting XI.

 

Verdict: Without the dependable Van Dijk, the Reds are forced to enter into the unknown of having to rely on other Defenders in the squad.

Chris Wilder’s men will surely have a crack at beating a depleted home side. Still, the Reds are known for their resilience and they have sufficient quality on the bench to call upon but they lack a reliable Fourth Centre Back as a Cover.

After selling Dejan Lovren to FC Zenit Saint Petersburg, the Reds took their chances by not buying a reliable Centre Back as a Cover. Joe Gomez has been one of the many Reds players that greatly improved when Alisson stood as the Goalkeeper but apart from the last match against AFC Ajax, Gomez’s performances had been a tad inconsistent.

Joël Matip can be a vital player for the Reds, if he is able to maintain his fitness and remain injury free. Unfortunately, the Cameroonian has been prone to injuries.

So only time will tell whether the reluctance to buy a Centre Back during the last Summer Transfer Window might come back to haunt Klopp and Fenway Sports Group (FSG).

 

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