Liverpool got back to winning ways in the Premier League with a 2-0 victory against Sheffield United on Sunday night.
After a first half in which Jürgen Klopp’s men were persistently kept at bay by the saves of Aaron Ramsdale, Curtis Jones thrashed in a 48th-minute finish from Trent Alexander-Arnold’s cross to break the deadlock.
And the three points were bagged at Bramall Lane when Roberto Firmino’s nimble footwork in the box and resulting shot deflected off Kean Bryan and found the net.
Here are five talking points from the trip to Yorkshire…
Three points, two goals, clean sheet
It was a satisfying outing in all aspects as Liverpool ended an uncharacteristic run of four consecutive defeats in the top flight.
Jones punctuated a Man of the Match performance with a clinical dispatch that translated the visitors’ dominance into something tangible on the scoresheet early in the second half.
Alexander-Arnold’s drive and determination down the right created it, the full-back keeping the ball in on the touchline – confirmed by a VAR review – and his delivery falling to Jones.
Then Firmino earned his own fortune with exquisite close control to dribble through the Blades defence and fire in a shot that sailed past Ramsdale when it struck Bryan.
And the win was underpinned by a first clean sheet in the Premier League since January 17, one achieved by yet another different defensive combination.
Adrian came in between the posts, while Ozan Kabak and Nathaniel Phillips joined forces in the middle of the backline to largely nullify the hosts.
Both centre-halves contested a dozen aerial duels apiece, with Kabak leading his side’s tallies for tackles (three) and clearances (four) and Phillips for blocks (two).
The perfect weekend
The win at Bramall Lane completed a perfect set of results for Liverpool’s teams over the weekend.
#LFCU18s 2-1 Everton ✅ #LFCU23s 4-0 Arsenal ✅ @LiverpoolFCW 3-0 London Bees ✅ Sheffield United 0-2 #LFC ✅ Good wee… https://t.co/eRE0kUSdfB— LFC (Liverpool FC) 28th Feb 21:39
It began at the Academy on Saturday as a stoppage-time goal gave the U18s a memorable 2-1 victory in the derby with Everton, which was followed by the U23s putting four unanswered strikes past Arsenal in Premier League 2 in Kirkby.
On Sunday afternoon, Liverpool FC Women continued the theme as efforts from Becky Jane, Ceri Holland and Amy Rodgers secured their first win of the calendar year against London Bees at Prenton Park.
The men did not disappoint either, wrapping up a brilliant quartet of successes for the Reds across all levels.
A victorious anniversary
Sunday’s game came exactly 20 years after Klopp’s first match as a manager.
On February 28, 2001 the newly-installed boss of FSV Mainz 05 guided his team to a 1-0 home win over MSV Duisburg in Germany’s second tier.
The rest is history as that result proved just the beginning of a revolutionary period for the club and a hugely successful career in the dugout for Klopp.
Seven years with Mainz were followed by seven at Borussia Dortmund – a spell that included two Bundesliga titles – before he moved to Anfield in October 2015.
Fittingly, the Reds gave the gaffer cause for celebration on his personal anniversary.
“I knew it, not because I knew it – I knew it because I got like 500,000 messages today from Mainz! And former players and all these kind of things,” he said post-match.
“I mentioned it today in the team meeting, let me say it like this. I think it was pretty much the same time even, I think we played at quarter past eight German time, quarter past seven English time.
“It could have been all the same. We won that game only 1-0, tonight 2-0 – so it’s better.”
7,000 top-flight goals
Liverpool’s second of the evening goes into the record books as an own goal after an adjudication by the Premier League’s Goal Accreditation Panel.
A shame for Firmino, of course, but his deflected hit will nevertheless take a place in history as the club’s 7,000th goal in top-flight league football.
The Reds are only the second team to reach that figure in England, with neighbours Everton on 7,108 at the time of writing.
Tight in the table
The win over the Blades, coupled with results elsewhere in the Premier League over the weekend, meant Liverpool reduced their deficit to each of the next four teams above them in the table.
Klopp’s side are now two points behind West Ham United, who currently occupy the last of the four Champions League qualification spots.
Between them are Chelsea, who visit Anfield on Thursday night for a clash bound to have significance in the jostle for positions as the season’s final third begins.
“Very big, very big,” the manager said of the victory. “We needed the points obviously to get kind of in contact with the teams above us, so it was very important.”