The statistics behind Sheffield United's rivalry with Liverpool
The Star’s Sheffield United writer James Shield analyses some of the facts and figures behind the club’s rivalry with Liverpool, as Chris Wilder’s side prepare for their trip to Anfield.
Head to Head: This will be the 133rd meeting between these two clubs, a rivalry dating back to the October 6th, 1894, when they played out a 2-2 draw at Anfield. That was also the scoreline during the return fixture at Bramall Lane, two months later. Of the 131 games they have contested since then, Sheffield United have recorded 41 wins compared to 60 for Liverpool. The last of United’s victories over their rivals from the North-West came in January 2003, when they triumphed 2-1 in the first leg of their Worthington Cup semi-final. Liverpool progressed, however, courtesy of a 2-0 win at home in the return leg during a bad tempered match which ended with United’s then manager Neil Warnock being restrained following the final whistle. He claimed Stephane Henchoz had spat at his feet. Gerard Houllier, Warnock’s opposite number, insisted the Swiss had been aiming at the ground rather than his counterpart. Phil Jagielka, now back at United following over a decade at Everton, took part in both of those matches.
The Last Time Out: United were on course to become the first team to take points off Jurgen Klopp’s side this term when they played host to Liverpool in September. Despite selecting all of their star names, including Virgil van Dijk, Mohammed Salah and Sadio Mane, the visitors failed to find a way past Chris Wilder’s defence and Dean Henderson in particular until the goalkeeper, on loan from Manchester United, allowed Georginio Wijnaldum’s 70th minute shot to squirm through his grasp. Even then, Wilder’s newly promoted team should have claimed a draw but substitute Leon Clarke, making his Premier League debut, missed a good chance during the closing stages. Earlier, Oli McBurnie had gone close to opening the scoring but Adrian saved. “If it’s 0-0, we can not moan and we would not,” Klopp admitted afterwards. “I am not bothered about pride,” Wilder countered. “I’m only bothered about the result. Liverpool had an off-day and we missed an opportunity.”
Since Then: United have won five and drawn six of their 13 games since, keeping five clean sheets in the process. Liverpool have recorded 16 wins and four draws during the same period, which has also seen them crowned world club champions following an extra time victory over Flamengo.
The Key Men: Klopp has confirmed he plans to rotate his squad over the New Year period, with 16-year-old Harvey Elliott one of those players he has placed on stand-by. The youngster started his career with Fulham before joining Liverpool during the close season. Born in Chertsey, he made his debut for the Londoners aged only 15 during an EFL Cup tie against Millwall. Capped by England at youth level, Elliott later became the youngest ever player to take part in a Premier League game, beating the record set by another Fulham player Matthew Briggs. He now represents Danish club HB Koge, after drifting into non-league football. United midfielder John Fleck was named man of the match when Klopp’s men appeared at Bramall Lane earlier this term and will have to deliver a repeat performance to prevent Liverpool from establishing a foothold in the game.