Liverpool vs Sheffield United betting tips: Premier League preview & predictions

Liverpool vs Sheffield United prediction: Liverpool 2-0 Sheffield United

World champions Liverpool welcome Sheffield United to Anfield for their first match of 2020.

This is the first match between the sides at Anfield since February 2007 when Sheffield United were last in the Premier League. It finished 4-0 to Liverpool which included a brace of penalties for Robbie Fowler.

This match also marks the second time the sides have started a new year facing each other. The previous New Year’s Day encounter saw Liverpool come back from an early Brian Deane strike to win 2-1. Ray Houghton and Dean Saunders were the goal scorers for Liverpool back in 1992 for Graeme Souness’ Reds.

Sheffield United come into the match as the Premier League’s surprise package of the 2019/20 season. They are currently eighth in the table and in the hunt for European qualification. A feat made all the more impressive considering they were the 4/6 favourite for relegation this season back in July.

Liverpool, on the other hand, are the dominant force in football at the moment. The current European and World champions are already thirteen points clear at the top of the Premier League with a game in hand.

The feeling is starting to grow that it really might be their year.

Liverpool vs Sheffield United: Who will win?

DOHA, QATAR – DECEMBER 18: Roberto Firmino of Liverpool FC celebrates scoring during FIFA Club World Cup Semi-Final match between Monterrey and Liverpool FC at Education City Stadium on December 18, 2019 in Doha, Qatar. (Photo by MB Media/Getty Images)

The Reds have won each of their last seventeen home matches in the Premier League. They are huge 2/9 favourites to extend this to eighteen wins on Thursday.

Six of Sheffield United’s ten away matches this season have ended in stalemate. Odds of 21/4 are available if you believe the sides will cancel each other out.

Sheffield United have won two of their last three Premier League matches on their travels. Can they defy the 10/1 odds by adding Anfield to the list of away grounds they have conquered this season?

Liverpool vs Sheffield United: Who will score?

Sadio Mané’s winning goal at the weekend put him ahead of Salah as Liverpool’s top scorer this season, with ten league goals. It also ended a run of five games without a goal for Mané in all competitions. He is 10/3 to follow up with the first goal of the game once more on Thursday. Or 5/6 to score at any time during the game.

Mohamed Salah was in fine scoring form for Liverpool prior to their trip to Qatar for the Club World Cup. However, he has since gone four games without a goal for Liverpool, in all competitions. Despite this, Salah is the favourite to get on the score-sheet here at 4/6. Or you can back the Egyptian King to score the first goal of the match at 11/4.

Lys Mousset is Sheffield United’s top scorer this season, with five league goals. As you can see above, his goals per ninety minutes played is a match for any of Liverpool’s Ballon d’Or nominated forwards this season.

Mousset looked a threat against Manchester City on the counter at the weekend. He had the ball in the net, only for VAR to rule it out for a marginal offside. This sees him as the favourite to grab a goal for the Blades at 15/4. Or 12/1 for the Frenchman to score the game’s opening goal.

Liverpool vs Sheffield United: Match preview

When these two sides met earlier in the season at Bramall Lane, the narrative of the lucky Reds snatching all three points was all you would hear from pundits.

While there was a lot of luck surrounding their goal, with Dean Henderson spilling a simple shot into his goal, the actual result was a fair reflection of the match based on the value of chances the two teams created.

Liverpool created three big chances in the match to one for the Blades, with Mané and Salah (x2) failing to convert the chances that came their way. They were also good value in terms of the expected goals models, with Liverpool leading 1.97 to 1.19 for Sheffield United.

So, while it’s true that Dean Henderson would be expected to make that save 99/100 if the match was replayed, you also have to consider the probability that Liverpool miss all three of their big chances in a match if you replay the match one hundred times.

Liverpool come into this match in even better shape than when they first faced Sheffield United. Alisson has returned from injury to replace Adrián in goal. This has seen an immediate improvement in their defensive record, with Liverpool keeping a clean sheet in each of their last four league matches.

Liverpool vs Sheffield United: A look at the visitors

However, the same is also true of Sheffield United. Chris Wilder has largely picked a settled side this season, with nine of eleven players having started at least 85% of their matches.

The only area he has rotated this season has been in attack, with David McGoldrick being the first choice with fourteen starts. Callum Robinson (9), Lys Mousset (8), Oliver McBurnie (8) and Billy Sharp (1) rotating the role of lead striker.

This settled side has improved as the season progresses, as the players improve their team chemistry and adaptation to the increased pace and intensity of the Premier League.

As you can see in the graph above, three of their last four performances are among their best attacking performances this season. While at the other end of the pitch, each of their last six matches would be included in their top-ten defensive performances this season.

Liverpool team news vs Sheffield United

DOHA, QATAR – DECEMBER 21: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain of Liverpool walks in the field after the FIFA Club World Cup Final match between Liverpool FC and CR Flamengo at Khalifa International Stadium on December 21, 2019 in Doha, Qatar. (Photo by Marcio Machado/Eurasia Sport Images/Getty Images)

Liverpool have had the busiest fixture list of any Premier League side this season, which is starting to show in their treatment room. They could be without as many as seven players for their first match of 2020, which is as many as any other Premier League team.

Joel Matip (Knee), Xherdan Shaqiri (Thigh), Dejan Lovren (Thigh), Rhian Brewster (Ankle), Nathaniel Clyne (Knee) and Fabinho (Ankle) remain ruled out for the Reds.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain suffered an ankle ligament injury in the final of the Club World Cup against Flamengo. He is expected to be out for at least a month.

Jurgen Klopp looks likely to reshuffle his pack here with player freshness in mind. Therefore, Divock Origi, Naby Keita and James Milner will all be hoping for a recall to the starting XI.

Predicted Liverpool team vs Sheffield United

Predicted Liverpool team vs Sheffield United

Predicted Liverpool team vs Sheffield United

Sheffield United team news vs Liverpool

SHEFFIELD, ENGLAND – DECEMBER 26: John Lundstram of Sheffield United during the Premier League match between Sheffield United and Watford FC at Bramall Lane on December 26, 2019 in Sheffield, United Kingdom. (Photo by James Williamson – AMA/Getty Images)

Simon Moore is the only player ruled out for Sheffield United. It is a credit to their fitness team to see them come out of the busy festive period with the fewest injuries in the league.

John Lundstram turned his ankle prior to the defeat at Manchester City. He will be assessed prior to kick-off and given every opportunity to be involved for the Blades’ first match of 2020.

Muhamed Besic will continue to deputise for Lundstram should he fail the late fitness test.

David McGoldrick was rested against Manchester City in favour of Callum Robinson. McGoldrick will be hopeful of regaining his place here for the trip to Anfield.

Predicted Sheffield United team vs Liverpool

Predicted Sheffield United team vs Liverpool

Predicted Sheffield United team vs Liverpool

The latest tweets from Liverpool pre-Sheffield United

The latest tweets from Sheffield United pre-Liverpool

All odds mentioned in this article are correct at the time of publishing and are subject to change.

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