We look ahead to the midweek game at Bramall Lane with our Sheffield United vs Liverpool prediction and preview. Can the Reds keep up with the title-race pace, or can Chris Wilder start his second spell at Sheff Utd with a shock win?
Sheffield United vs Liverpool Stats: The Quick Hits
- The Opta supercomputer predicts a Liverpool win, with them defeating Sheffield United in 69.1% of pre-match simulations, compared to a win for the hosts in just 10.6% of those.
- Sheff Utd have lost their last five Premier League games against Liverpool.
- Liverpool are winless in their last four Premier League away games, though, only managing a draw in each of their last three matches on the road in the competition.
Liverpool will be looking to consolidate their position in the Premier League title race alongside Arsenal and Manchester City when they visit Bramall Lane on Wednesday to face Sheffield United, who dismissed manager Paul Heckingbottom after a 5-0 thrashing against relegation-threatened rivals Burnley.
Former Leeds United boss Heckingbottom guided the Blades back to the English top flight last season but became the Premier League’s first managerial casualty this campaign after a dismal performance at Turf Moor on Saturday.
Heckingbottom suggested United were “let down” by some players as Burnley ran rampant in a 5-0 thrashing in which Oliver McBurnie was dismissed for two bookable offences before half-time. United are bottom of the league table after losing 11 of their opening 14 games and only managing to register a meagre five points.
Sheffield United’s defence has been woeful for large parts, having conceded five or more goals in three different Premier League games this season, also going down 5-0 at Arsenal after Newcastle United’s astonishing 8-0 rout at Bramall Lane on 24 September. They last conceded 5+ goals in more different games across a single league campaign in 1975-76 (four).
Chris Wilder, whose contract wasn’t renewed by Championship side Watford at the end of last season following another underwhelming tenure at Middlesbrough earlier, has returned as manager at his boyhood club with a point to prove after leading the Blades back to the Premier League in 2019. He left in 2021 by mutual consent after a downturn in results.
Wilder will have a thankless transformative task at hand, given United have had fewer shots than any other Premier League side this season (121), while they’ve also faced more attempts (266) and attempts on target (107) than any team.
Aside from the managerial change, Cameron Archer will likely lead the line against Liverpool in the absence of the suspended McBurnie and injured Rhian Brewster, while Chris Basham, George Baldock, John Egan and Tom Davies all remain out.
By contrast, the Reds are just two points behind Premier League leaders Arsenal – and one clear of third-placed Man City – heading into Matchday 15 after Trent Alexander-Arnold proved the last-gasp hero in a frantic 4-3 victory over Fulham on Sunday at Anfield.
Alexander-Arnold crashed in the winner just a minute after Wataru Endo’s fine 87th-minute finish had cancelled out a goal from Bobby De Cordova-Reid, who sent Fulham into a 3-2 lead with just 10 minutes remaining. England full-back-turned-midfielder Alexander-Arnold earlier cannoned a free-kick in off the back of goalkeeper Bernd Leno via the post to open the scoring before Harry Wilson and Kenny Tete levelled things up either side of Alexis Mac Allister’s rocketed strike from long range into the top-right corner.
Liverpool boss Jürgen Klopp will remain without injured first-choice goalkeeper Alisson for Wednesday’s kick-off at Bramall Lane as Caoimhín Kelleher continues to deputise, while Diogo Jota, Joël Matip, Andy Robertson and Thiago Alcântara will still be absent from the lineup.
The visitors will have the Premier League’s second-top scorer Mohamed Salah – who has scored 10 times this season – to call upon up top, as well as Darwin Núñez and Luis Díaz, the latter recently returning to take Jota’s place in Liverpool’s three-man attack that could put United to the sword.
Sheffield United vs Liverpool Head-to-Head
Liverpool will fancy their chances against Sheffield United after enjoying their recent trips to Bramall Lane, where they have won their last two Premier League visits – as many as they had in 11 top-flight games beforehand (D5 L4).
Including visits to Anfield, United have lost their last five Premier League games against Liverpool, having previously gone unbeaten in four top-flight outings before this run (W2 D2).
Liverpool were 2-1 victors at Anfield in October 2020 against Sheffield United – their last season in the competition before this campaign – and 2-0 winners at Bramall Lane in the most recent league clash between these two sides as a Curtis Jones strike and Kean Bryan’s own goal proved the difference in February 2021.
All hope is not lost for Sheff Utd, though, as Liverpool are winless in their last four Premier League away games against promoted sides (D2 L2). They last had a longer such run in the top flight between November 1969 and December 1973 (nine games).
Liverpool’s form away from Anfield may be somewhat of a concern for Klopp, whose side have only lost one of their last 12 Premier League away games (W5 D6) but are winless in their last four such matches (D3 L1) since a September 16 triumph at Wolves.
Klopp’s side have drawn each of their last three away league games – against Manchester City, Luton Town and Brighton and Hove Albion – but have not been held to a draw in four straight Premier League trips since December 2020.
Slow starts have been the issue as Liverpool have conceded the first goal in each of their last six Premier League away games, with Tottenham, Wolves and Newcastle United the other three teams in that run – only once have they had a longer such streak in the competition, doing so in seven in a row between September and December 1993.
United have managed just five points this season but four of those have come at home, defeating Wolves 2-1 thanks to Oliver Norwood’s last-gasp penalty at the start of November and managing a 2-2 draw with Everton back in September.
Opta Power Rankings
The Opta Power Rankings are a global team ranking system that assigns an ability score to over 13,000 domestic football teams on a scale between zero and 100, where zero is the worst-ranked team in the world and 100 is the best team in the world.
Ahead of kick-off this weekend, here is the Opta Power Ranking for both sides.
Sheffield United vs Liverpool Opta Player Ratings
Before kick-off in this match, here are the top five performing players from both teams in the 2023-24 Premier League according to the Opta Player Ratings:
Cameron Archer: 63.1 (out of 100)
Oliver McBurnie: 56.7
Gustavo Hamer: 50.8
James McAtee: 49.9
Vinicius Souza: 47.9
Alisson: 78.0 (out of 100)
Mohamed Salah: 76.4
Dominik Szoboszlai: 76.1
Andy Robertson: 72.6
Virgil van Dijk: 71.2
These Opta Player Ratings also power our set of brand-new, free-to-play gaming experiences, which you can play on Opta Analyst all season long.
Sheffield United vs Liverpool Prediction
Liverpool are predicted as the likely victors at Bramall Lane, winning 69.1% of 10,000 data-powered simulations by the Opta supercomputer, while Sheffield United triumphed in just 10.6% of those scenarios.
A draw may be the best hope for the hosts, with a draw coming in 20.3% of simulations, although Sheffield United are running out of time to start battling relegation.
They are the favourites to finish in the bottom place they currently occupy, with the Opta supercomputer predicting a 20th-placed finish in 60.6% of scenarios – and they go down in 93.7%, which is higher than the chances of Burnley (78.7%), Luton Town (62.8%), Everton (33.2%), Bournemouth (14.5%) and Nottingham Forest (12.3%).
Liverpool’s title chances sit at 15.9%, achieving a top-four finish in 94.9% of simulations. It’s only Manchester City (67.1%) that have a higher chance of winning the Premier League title this season as we head into MD 15, while Liverpool chances are higher than Arsenal (15.5%). Aston Villa (0.6%), Newcastle (0.3%) and Tottenham Hotspur (0.2%) are rank outsiders for glory.