Jurgen Klopp's team start new debate as Unbearables becoming Unbeatables
Liverpool verdict - Jurgen Klopp's team start new debate as Unbearables becoming Unbeatables
Can Liverpool become Invincibles? Serious talk might begin soon, writes Paul Gorst after Liverpool beat Sheffield United 2-0
By Paul Gorst Liverpool FC correspondent
22:29, 2 JAN 2020
Another game, another Liverpool win; three more important points on the road to league title No.19.
The Unbearables are becoming the Unbeatables.
It's now 51 games without loss at home in the top flight for Jurgen Klopp and his men dating back to April 23, 2017 and by the time they travel to Tottenham on January 11, it will be 373 days since their last reverse of any kind in the Premier League.
It's 19 victories from the 20 games played this season with October's 1-1 draw with Manchester United looking more and more like an anomaly the deeper this season goes.
This latest win over Sheffield United made it 32 and five draws from their last 37 games following on from that sole defeat at Manchester City some 364 days ago. Avoid a reverse at Spurs and Klopp's men will have gone the equivalent of an entire campaign without loss.
Just who, if anyone, will stop them? Klopp will bristle at the mere suggestion but the longer this virtually impeccable season continues in such a vein, the 'I' world will creep further and further into the conversation.
Can the Reds become the Invincibles? It's a long way off yet, but serious talk might begin soon enough.
These, quite simply, are halcyon days for Liverpool supporters.
Days that must be cherished and savoured while they are here and now. Days that will surely be reminisced on as fondly as any other period in the club's history - should they land the Holy Grail in May.
That's the achievement that must be ticked off before Klopp's men can be spoken about alongside the legendary sides of Bill Shankly, Bob Paisley and Kenny Dalglish.
Bloody single-mindedness must now be adopted by Liverpool's players. They have no-one else to concern themselves with, domestically. This ultimately routine 2-0 triumph over Chris Wilder's muscular and mobile outfit took them, once more, 13 points clear of Leicester with a game to spare at West Ham to come later this month. Hold their nerve and they will be crowned champions of England for a 19th time on May 17 at St James' Park.
The Blades arrived looking to record just their second win at Anfield in the Premier League era, but they never really looked like adding to that 1994 victory once the runaway leaders got into their stride early on.
The Liverpool machine has now won all 12 of their home league games against newly-promoted sides in the four years Klopp has been at the helm, scoring 35 goals and conceding just four in the process.
The hosts' first arrived inside four minutes when Andy Robertson got in behind George Baldock after a wonderful pass over the top from Virgil van Dijk.
The Scotland captain squared it to Mohamed Salah who made no mistake from close range.
The Blades thought they had levelled up shortly after when John Lundstram fired past Alisson Becker at the Kop end, but the replay showed the Liverpool-born midfielder to be in an offside position when the ball was played.
No VAR lines were needed on that occasion, thankfully.
Salah almost doubled his tally for the night when he met Jordan Henderson's well-weighted cross with a first-time effort on his right foot but Dean Henderson flung himself to it and tipped it over the bar.
It was Henderson's mistake that settled the game in Liverpool's favour at Bramall Lane back in September, but this performance showed just why he is so highly rated in Sheffield and beyond.
The on-loan Manchester United goalkeeper denied Salah again after a wonderful sweeping counter-attack involving Sadio Mane and Trent Alexander-Arnold.
After the break Roberto Firmino went close to ending his Anfield duck for the first season with a whipped effort from the edge of the box.
The ball whistled just past Henderson's left-hand post.
The second eventually came on 65 minutes when Salah and Mane dovetailed to devastating effect.
Mane was left with an empty net to tap into after Henderson had denied the first effort with an excellent save.
It was harsh on the Blades goalkeeper but a gleeful Kop lapped it up as Wilder sent on Oliver McBurnie and Billy Sharp on to change things up top.
Mane should have played Firmino in for 3-0 but opted to shoot from a tight angle after superb play with Robertson moments after Salah had forced the overworked Henderson into another smart stop.
On a night when energy levels could have dipped after a particularly busy five weeks of elite-level football, the performance of captain Henderson was an inspiration to the rest of his team-mates.
The Liverpool skipper patrolled and passed his way through the midfield gears. It's on nights like these where the Reds chief underlines his enduring importance to the world and European champions.
Standards simply were not allowed to slip with Henderson barking and cajoling throughout his excellent display.
Likewise for James Milner who stepped into the fray late on after an injury to Naby Keita.
It would be a landmark evening for Harvey Elliott as he came on for his Premier League debut at Anfield with a standing ovation reserved for Salah in the final few seconds.
The only negative from the evening's work was the sight of Keita withdrawing from the starting lineup at the 11th hour with a groin problem.
It's rotten luck for the Reds star and with so few available to Klopp at present, an enforced absence for the in-form Guinean will be a huge setback.
So job done for Klopp and his players, they have come through an 11-game stretch across 33 days with their Champions League ambitions in tact, the Club World Cup trophy and a 13-point Premier League advantage.
Not a bad few weeks of work, is it? Seven clean sheets in that run have reaffirmed Liverpool as the meanest backline around.
Take out the Academy side's 5-0 loss at Aston Villa and the Reds have shipped just four goals in those 10 games.
Klopp has masterfully balanced his ever decreasing numbers to keep his side ahead of the pack in virtually every competition.
His Carabao Cup hopes have fallen by the wayside but that will be viewed as collateral damage in this New Year that promises so much.
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