The story of Sheffield United's injury woes this season - and how they compare with Liverpool, Leeds United and West Ham United

This Sunday's clash between Sheffield United and Liverpool not only pits last season's champions against this season's bottom club, but also sees two clubs who have been ravaged with injuries do battle at Bramall Lane.

By Danny Hall
Wednesday, 24th February 2021, 12:15 pm

Chris Wilder's Blades have not yet named the same line-up in consecutive games this season, and all but two of the outfield players in their squad have suffered injury or illness issues.

Only two players so far have played every game and one of those, Chris Basham, is likely to miss out this weekend after suffering a hamstring injury in last weekend's defeat at Fulham.

Basham was an ever-present last season, as was Enda Stevens, while George Baldock played every single minute of Premier League action.

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Ollie Norwood started 37 of United's 38 games and John Egan and Dean Henderson only missed two - the latter sitting out against Manchester United, because league rules prevented him facing his parent club.

Last season United used 20 different line-ups across their 38 games, which was the lowest number of changes in the Premier League.

They also named the same side in seven different games - with Henderson, Baldock, Basham, Egan, Stevens and Norwood joined by Jack O'Connell, John Fleck, John Lundstram, David McGoldrick and Lys Mousset.

Sheffield United's John Egan is attended to by medics before being stretchered off at West Ham (Glyn Kirk/Pool via AP)

This season, United have already used 25 different starting XIs in their 25 games and when United step on to the pitch on Sunday evening to face Liverpool, Aaron Ramsdale is likely to become the only ever-present for the home side.

O'Connell has played only twice this season, while United lost John Egan for two months recently before seeing Basham join his fellow first-choice centre-halves in the treatment room.

Baldock and Stevens have had spells out of the team, while Lundstram and Fleck have also missed with either injury, illness or suspension.

Sheffield United's Chris Basham lies injured during the 1-0 defeat at Fulham on Saturday. Photo: Andrew Couldridge/PA Wire.

Sander Berge damaged a hamstring against Manchester United, while Mousset has started only two Premier League games.

Liverpool have had similar woes, with injuries to Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip leading to them fielding a remarkable 18 different centre-half partnerships this season.

And they will be forced to find a new one this weekend, after Jordan Henderson limped off during the Merseyside derby defeat last weekend.

United's injury problems have left Aston Villa as the top flight's most settled side, naming only 12 distinct line-ups in 23 games.

They have started 10 games with Emiliano Martinez, Matty Cash, Ezri Konsa, Tyrone Mings, Matt Targett, John McGinn, Douglas Luiz, Ross Barkley, Jack Grealish, Ollie Watkins and either Trezeguet or Bertrand Traore, the latter pair with five starts each in that line-up.

Leeds and West Ham are closest to matching Villa's consistency but have each used 17 distinct line-ups this season, while the only other clubs to use fewer than 20 are Leicester (18) and Southampton (19).