Chris Wilder opens up on Sheffield United's approach to Liverpool test amid old foe Jurgen Klopp verdict

Sheffield United facing incredibly tough test of halting Liverpool's title charge at packed Anfield
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Chris Wilder has challenged his Sheffield United players to "rise to the occasion" of facing title-chasing Liverpool on their home turf as they look to deal a big blow to Jurgen Klopp's hopes of a fairytale Anfield farewell. The talismanic German boss is leaving Liverpool in the summer and his side are in pole position to send him on his way with another Premier League table.

But United are also desperate for points for their own ambitions of staying in the division, although few from outside will give them much chance of picking up anything against Klopp's relentless Reds. Klopp's men are unbeaten in 11 and moved two points clear of second-placed Arsenal at the weekend in what is shaping up to be one of the tightest title races in some years.

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United, who face Chelsea at home on Sunday after Thursday's trip to Anfield, have scored five goals in their last two games but two injury-time goals denied them three points on both occasions, against Bournemouth and Fulham. Their stretched defence will face another severe test against Liverpool's formidable front line and at his pre-match press conference Wilder was asked how to stop a side like the Reds.

"Good question!" he admitted. "Not a lot of teams can do it so we’ve got to be the best that we can be. We’ve got to be resolute and we’ve got to defend well, have good distances between back and front. We have to be aggressive and competitive and we can’t just give them the ball back straight away, because if we do then they can they can punish any team. We've got to be brave in and out of possession, we’ve got to have a structure to stop them or give them problems.

"We understand we’re going to have to have a big night, a huge night to get a big result, and we need a big performance from everybody. But messages to the players are you're playing at Anfield, at the end of the season ... they’re going for the title in front of 60-odd thousand at a cathedral of a ground, that’s known worldwide ... so go rise to the occasion. Go and show what you can do and go and show what we can do as a team, and make it as difficult as possible.

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"But we understand that we’re going to be under pressure, we understand that going to have the majority of possession and that we’re going to have to produce a really top, top performance. And if we produce a top, top performance, then who knows what happens? The game ain’t done and dusted before."

Wilder and Klopp have famously clashed before, during United's last stay in the Premier League, but there is also a mutual admiration between the pair and Wilder paid tribute to his opposite number ahead of his summer departure from a club he has helped transform. "His record speaks for itself and at a historic club. The history of the football club, from Shankly through to Paisley and onto Dalglish was one of repetitive titles.

"For them now to be competing at the top of the division and winning what they're winning is great but also the feel of the whole football club, what he's done in the community and working in the area. I know the area really well, my dad’s a Scouser and I spent many a summer holiday about 10 minutes from Anfield. So I know how they love their football and he’s definitely one of their own.

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"His impact on that football club has been absolutely incredible and he’ll be fighting for everything that's going between now and the end of the season. He'll definitely want to finish on a high and they’re in a great position on a lot of fronts."

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