View from Anfield: Can Sheffield United spring a surprise this weekend against European champions Liverpool at Bramall Lane - and do Reds believe Blades can survive in the Premier League?

Sheffield United will hope to spring a surprise this weekend when Liverpool, the reigning European champions, visit Bramall Lane on Saturday lunchtime.

Thursday, 26th September 2019, 3:11 pm
Updated Thursday, 26th September 2019, 4:11 pm
Liverpool fans hold up a banner as Jurgen Klopp walks on the pitch after the Carabao Cup Third Round match between Milton Keynes Dons and Liverpool FC at Stadium MK (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

To get the view from the opposition camp we asked Henry Jackson, of This Is Anfield, for the lowdown on Jurgen Klopp’s men – and how the Reds view the Blades.

How do you rate Liverpool's start to the season?

In terms of the Premier League, it really couldn't have been much better, considering the 100 percent start.

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Liverpool look so in control of almost every game they play, with world class players littered all over the pitch, and they have done brilliantly in the absence of Alisson, who is the best goalkeeper in the world in my opinion.

Jurgen Klopp has built a winning mentality that is now priceless, with the Reds winning games they simply wouldn't have done in the past.

To have a five-point lead over Manchester City is a wonderful position to be in - they actually have more points than them since the start of last season - and it's fully merited.

Can they win the title after all this time?

I'm a Liverpool fan, so it's fair to say predicting a Premier League title win can make you look foolish!

This season really does feel different, though, and when you hear so many neutrals tipping them to win it, you find yourself getting more excited.

I personally think City still have the edge, and are marginally the better side, but current signs suggest Liverpool are the team to beat,

What will be your side's main threats?

I could try and be a bit edgy and go with someone else, but it's obvious that Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino are the greatest threat to Sheffield United on Saturday.

They are the best attacking unit in world football, and if one or even two don't find their best form, the other will put on a show.

Firmino has been the star man so far this season, followed by Mane, so Blades supporters should be worried about Salah producing a masterclass this weekend.

Full-back pair Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson are also outstanding - how didn't they make it into the FIFPro World XI on Monday? - and so much of the Reds' attacking play comes through them.

They can run riot if they aren't dealt with properly.

What are United's threats?

Call it arrogance, but Liverpool are in a position where they don't fear anyone now, even City.

That being said, there is a feeling that this game is an awkward one - Saturday lunchtime on the telly, Sheffield United raising their game and Bramall Lane bouncing.

I've been really impressed from what I've seen of the Blades, particularly the manner in which Chris Wilder has not gone into his shell and changed his system in the Premier League, like so many managers.

I'd be lying if I said I was scared of a specific individual - Billy Sharp seems to like a big goal - but United are clearly very well-drilled and will work their socks off all afternoon.

It won't be easy at all.

Can the Blades survive in this division?

Before the season started, the Blades were my favourites for the drop, but that may have been me simply looking at the odds and lazily agreeing with them.

On current evidence, however, I see no reason why they can't stay up - there are certainly three worse teams than them in the division.

Because of the football they play, and the fearless nature of it, I hope they remain in the top flight (even though my dad is a Sheffield Wednesday fan).

Key battles

How United's back-three handles Liverpool's attacking trio will be vital, with Salah, Mane and Firmino capable of ripping even Europe's best defenders apart on their day.

The Reds' midfield is the most underrated aspect of the team, but Fabinho, Jordan Henderson and Gini Wijnaldum are a combative unit who are rarely outperformed by the opposition.

The Blades need to try and change that, or Liverpool will dictate proceedings all afternoon.

Dealing with Alexander-Arnold and Robertson is also vital - with three at the back for United, the pair could really thrive given more space out wide.

Prediction

I think Liverpool will win, but I also expect to have sweaty palms when the final whistle blows. Despite the 100 percent record, the Reds haven't always looked convincing at the back so far this season and I fancy United to score.

Sheffield United 1-3 Liverpool.