Liverpool reignited their top four hopes by ending their losing streak with a vital 2-0 victory at rock-bottom Sheffield United.
The visitors dominated the first half but couldn’t find a way past an inspired Aaron Ramsdale, who produced a string a top-class saves to deny Roberto Firmino, Curtis Jones, Mo Salah, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Gini Wijnaldum.
However, the Merseysiders finally broke the deadlock within three minutes of the restart when Jones drilled home following good work by Alexander-Arnold on the right.
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Liverpool then made sure of the points just past the hour when Roberto Firmino’s strike was deflected into his own net by Kean Bryan.
The result sees Liverpool remain sixth but move within two points of West Ham in fourth spot. Sheffield United continue to lie adrift at the bottom and are 15 points off 17th-placed Newcastle with just 12 games to go.
Liverpool will now hope to end their poor Anfield run when they entertain fifth-placed Chelsea in a crunch battle for the Champions League berths on Thursday. Sheffield United host Aston Villa on Wednesday.
Jurgen Klopp celebrates Liverpool's win
Image credit: Getty Images
Liverpool stop the rot as a big March looms before them. It’s fair to say Liverpool needed that after four consecutive league defeats. The title race is well beyond them as a consequence of their poor form, but results this weekend mean they are right back in the mix for the top four with a crunch month ahead of them. They will have to solve their current Anfield woes to make it happen, but this will be a much-needed tonic and the ideal preparation for the showdown with Chelsea. After the Blues the champions host struggling Fulham before the second leg of their Champions League last 16 clash with RB Leipzig. They then travel to Wolves on March 15 and will have a better idea of where their season is heading by the end of that contest.
As for Sheffield United, the great escape is all-but beyond them after a fourth straight loss. Chris Wilder and his team will continue to fight but it's hard to see them picking up the number of wins needed to at least give them a fighting chance in the battle for survival.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Curtis Jones (Liverpool). The 20-year-old looked to make things happen in the final third from the off and showed real composure in netting the all-important opener. He could have capped a fine showing with a couple more goals but for the impressive Ramsdale and is now firmly established as a midfielder Klopp can rely on.
Sheffield United: Ramsdale 8, Ampadu 6, Jagielka 6, Bryan 6, Baldock 6, Norwood 7, Lundstram 6, Fleck 6, Stevens 6, McBurnie 7, McGoldrick 6. Subs: Osborn 6, Burke 6.
Liverpool: Adrian 7, Alexander-Arnold 8, Phillips 6, Kabak 6, Robertson 7, Wijnaldum 7, Thiago 6, Jones 8, Salah 7, Firmino 7, Mane 7. Subs: Milner 6, Keita n/a.
10’ – LIVERPOOL CHANCE! Aaron Ramsdale produces a stunning stop to keep out Firmino's low strike after the Brazilian had raced clear following a fortunate ricochet.
36 – SHEFF UTD CHANCE! The Blades think they have scored - but the flag saves Liverpool! McBurnie makes his run in-behind a fraction too early, but Kabak panics as he looks to get back on the left side of the box and ends up flicking the ball into his own net. It’s a horror show, but it is also offside and Kabak sighs with relief!
39’ – LIVERPOOL CHANCE! Ramsdale is at it again! This time he denies Wijnaldum. Liverpool are wondering how they aren't ahead here. Ramsdale has already thwarted Firmino, Jones, Salah and Alexander Arnold.
48’ - GOAL! Sheff Utd 0-1 Liverpool(Jones): Jones coolly fires into the far corner from 13 yards out after Alexander Arnold's wonderful run and cross was diverted into his path.
58’ – SHEFF UTD CHANCE! McBurnie puts his hands to his face after flashing a header wide from Norwood's delicious right-wing cross.
65’ - GOAL! Sheff Utd 0-2 Liverpool(Bryan og): Firmino exchanges passes with Jones and Mane before tip-toeing into space in the area and firing a deflected shot beyond Ramsdale. It looks like it’ll go down as Kean Bryan own goal.
- Ramsdale made five saves in the first half against Liverpool - the most he's ever made in the first half of a Premier League game.
- Aged 20 years and 29 days, Curtis Jones is the youngest Liverpool player to score away from Anfield in the Premier League since Raheem Sterling against Burnley in December 2014 (20y 18d).
- Liverpool's second goal was their 7,000th in top-flight league football - the Reds are only the second side to reach that landmark in England's top tier (also Everton, 7,108).
- Sheffield United suffered their 21st Premier League defeat of the season, with the Blades the first side since Newport County in the fourth tier in 1970-71 to lose as many as 21 of their first 26 matches in an English Football League season.
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