Sheffield United: Blades were brilliant but small details decide Liverpool clash

John Fleck was in superb form against Liverpool: Simon Bellis/SportimageJohn Fleck was in superb form against Liverpool: Simon Bellis/Sportimage
John Fleck was in superb form against Liverpool: Simon Bellis/Sportimage
An hour after the final whistle, Chris Wilder and Jurgen Klopp were still pouring over the details of this Premier League fixture deep inside the bowels of Bramall Lane.

Beers were being drunk. The visitors' manager, named FIFA coach of the year earlier in the week, was clutching a bottle of champagne presented to him by Sheffield United to mark his achievement.

Although they differed slightly in their reading of the game - Klopp crediting the opposition with stifling Liverpool's creativity rather than accepting Wilder's suggestion they had simply been "below par" - both agreed that United deserved at least a point. Not the big fat nothing they instead finished clutching following Dean Henderson's second-half error.

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"When these unbelievable sides have off days, we have to capitalise," Wilder said. "We didn't. If we'd have shown a little more quality in both boxes, then I think we'd be talking about beating the European champions."

Henderson's slip - allowing Georginio Wijnaldum's second-half shot to squirm through his legs - ultimately decided the outcome of a contest which saw Liverpool dominate possession but United, with a couple of notable exceptions, create the better chances. But there were other defining moments too, including John Fleck's failure to beat Adrian and a late miss from Leon Clarke following Wijnaldum's slice of fortune. Fleck should have capped an otherwise superb individual display by converting from inside the area but saw Andy Robertson take the sting out of his shot. Clarke, making his Premier League debut, sliced over the bar during the closing stages after meeting Enda Stevens' cross.

Although Sadio Mane hit the woodwork for Liverpool having earlier failed to hit the target when it seemed easier to score, Klopp's men struggled to translate possession into clear cut opportunities thanks to United's tactical discipline.

But Wilder, who also saw Oli McBurnie go close with a header after the break, refused to take any comfort from the fact his players had caused the Champions League winners and early leaders plenty of problems.

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"Frustration is not a big enough word," Wilder said. "I don't want to use missed opportunities and frustration. We totally deserved something. That was the Liverpool team, other than the goalkeeper, who turned out in the Champions League final. The crowd gave our boys some extra legs and energy."

"We're not here to be a good side or get good opinions," he added. "We are here for points. We are here to achieve and that's what we want to do. We had a glorious opportunity to put a marker down."

Sheffield United: Henderson, O'Connell, Egan, Basham, Stevens, Baldock, Norwood (Clarke 76), Fleck, Lundstram, McBurnie, Robinson (Mousset 60). Not used: Moore, L Freeman, Jagielka, Osborn, Besic.

Liverpool: Adrian, Fabinho, van Dijk, Wijnaldum, Robertson, Henderson (Origi 63), Matip, Alexander-Arnold, Firmino (Milner 87), Mane (Oxlade-Chamberlain 90), Salah. Not used: Kelleher, Lovren, Gomez, Lallana.

Referee: Anthony Taylor (Cheshire).

Attendance: 31,774.