Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk scored a first-half volley to put his side on course for a 2-0 Premier League victory over Sheffield United on Wednesday, handing new Blades boss Chris Wilder a losing start on his return to the club. The Liverpool captain volleyed home his first goal of the season in the 37th minute as the home side's soft-centered defence left him completely unmarked from a corner to deftly side-foot the ball into the net.
Blades keeper Wes Foderingham pulled off two superb second-half saves to deny Mohamed Salah and Darwin Nunez, but he was finally beaten again deep into second-half stoppage time as Dominik Szoboszlai rifled the ball home.
The win lifts second-placed Liverpool to 34 points, two behind leaders Arsenal, while Wilder faces an uphill battle after taking over Sheffield United on Tuesday as they remain rooted to the bottom of the table on five points after 15 games. Read the game back below with our dedicated match blog.
Sheffield United vs Liverpool latest updates
GOAL! Szoboszlai wraps it up
GOAL! Van Dijk volleys home the opener
21:37 , Alex Young
98min: That's your lot! Liverpool made hard work of it but they won't care.
21:28 , Alex Young
95min: That wraps it up! Szoboszlai fires home inside the area after fine work by Nunez to win the ball and find his team-mate in space.
21:23 , Alex Young
91min: Six minutes added on.
21:20 , Alex Young
87min: Shouts for a United penalty as Norwood takes a tumble but the referee and VAR are not interested.
21:18 , Alex Young
86min: Gravenberch is on for Gakpo.
21:18 , Alex Young
85min: We are approaching now-or-never territory for Sheffield United just as Nunez races down the other end of the pitch before being tackled on the edge of the area.
21:14 , Alex Young
82min: He floats it in, but nothing doing.
21:14 , Alex Young
81min: Liverpool win a free kick around 30 yards out. Alexander-Arnold fancies this...
21:10 , Alex Young
78min: Chance! Nunez breaks the offside trap after being slipped in by Gakpo, but is denied by Foderingham.
Should have scored.
21:05 , Alex Young
72min: Liverpool are trying to overcomplicate things. Gakpo tries to find Elliott when going alone would have been the better option.
21:01 , Alex Young
67min: Salah makes way! Nunez is on. Elliott replaces Diaz.
20:56 , Alex Young
64min: Nunez and Elliott are warming up.
20:51 , Alex Young
59min: Jones replaces Mac Allister.
20:50 , Alex Young
58min: Mac Alliser's night may be over as he hits the deck again.
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56min: Corner comes to nothing.
20:48 , Alex Young
55min: First real chance of the second half as Salah stings Foderingham's palms.
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53min: The tame restart continues. Liverpool enjoying playing the ball around their defence for the past couple of minutes.
20:42 , Alex Young
49min: A slower start to the second half compared to the first. Liverpool again bossing possession.
20:39 , Alex Young
46min: Back underway. No changes.
20:37 , Alex Young
Almost time for the second half.
20:32 , Alex Young
I will say that Liverpool have no impressed too much, with Van Dijk's goal the only time they truly looked like scoring.
Set-pieces seem to be their best chance of adding to their tally.
20:28 , Alex Young
The hosts look more organised but the Reds have been able to hold them at arm's length.Van Dijk's goal is the difference.
20:22 , Alex Young
52min: That's it for the first half.
20:16 , Alex Young
45min: Salah darts into the area for the first real time, but the ball from Endo is a yard behind him so has to check his run and his shot then lacks power.
Six minutes added on.
20:11 , Alex Young
40min: Almost a second for Van Dijk as again meets an Alexander-Arnold corner but this time heads over.
20:08 , Alex Young
37min: That was easy! Alexander-Arnold sends in the corner and Van Dijk is in acres inside the area to volley home!
20:06 , Alex Young
33min: Oof, a really tough tackle from Endo which has Wilder screaming on the touchline. Nothing given, and he's quite lucky there.
20:00 , Alex Young
29min: Sheffield United have lost a bit of their drive over the last five minutes or so. Liverpool controlling matters.
19:54 , Alex Young
24min: Konate forces Foderingham into a smart save to his left after Salah heads Alexander-Arnold's cross back across goal.
19:53 , Alex Young
22min: The hosts are well drilled as Liverpool try to stretch their defence across the park to open up gaps. It's not working yet.
19:49 , Alex Young
18min: Archer has to make up his mind! The former has plenty of space to glide into the area but delays way too long and Van Dijk is able to stick in boot as McAtee screams for the ball.
19:48 , Alex Young
17min: Liverpool with an extended period of possession, trying to slow the game down as the hosts are amped.
19:43 , Alex Young
13min: Second comes to nothing... and Sheffield United break over the halfway line after a mistake from Gomez, MacAtee is fed into the area but Kelleher stands tall to deny him.
Big, big chance.
19:42 , Alex Young
12min: First corner causes a small panic and Liverpool win another.
19:41 , Alex Young
11min: Salah is in the mood. He's just had a pop from the edge of the area, which deflects behind.
19:41 , Alex Young
10min: Chance! Diaz does very well down the left flank and floats a very inviting cross for Salah, who opts to volley first time inside the area and almost clears the stadium.
19:39 , Alex Young
8min: Alexander-Arnold fancies this free kick, he floats it in but Souza clears.
19:38 , Alex Young
7min: Mac Allister is back on his feet. Getting booed by the home fans for his troubles.
19:36 , Alex Young
5min: Mac Allister is down and appears in some pain after a sloppy attempted tackle from Hamer. VAR will be looking at this.
19:33 , Alex Young
2min: Early free kick for Sheffield United but Robinson can't get a head on the end of it and the chance goes begging.
19:31 , Alex Young
1min: Here we go!
19:27 , Alex Young
Here come the teams.
19:23 , Alex Young
Not long to go now.
Jurgen Klopp has beaten Chris Wilder every time their two teams have met.Do Sheffield United have any chance tonight of a shock result?
Klopp on Wilder
19:11 , Alex Young
"We have to focus on ourselves, I don't think he will change too much in such a short period.
"I remember how they played under Chris before. We can bin our analysis! I was sitting in the office yesterday when someone said it could happen. Our late winner was very important. If you do that every week you'll likely win the league.
"But we missed a few opportunities to do that. I don't think for a second now where we could end up. We have to be where we are now until April, if we are still there then we could talk. No chance we think ahead of the next game. Focus on Sheffield United."
18:56 , Alex Young
Kick-off is fast approaching.
18:45 , Alex Young
Chris Wilder has come in and made five changes for his first Sheffield United lineup.
Jayden Bogle, Vini Souza, James McAtee, Andre Brooks and William Osula all come in with Oli McBurnie suspended, George Baldock injured and John Fleck, Luke Thomas and Oliver Norwood dropped.
It's four changes for Liverpool.
Ibrahima Konate coming in for the injured Joel Matip. Cody Gakpo and Joe Gomez come in for Darwin Nunez and Konstantinos Tsimikas and Wataru Endo gets the nod ahead of Ryan Gravenberch.
Teams in full
18:34 , Alex Young
Sheffield United XI: Foderingham, Bogle, Ahmedhodzic, Trusty, Robinson, Brooks, McAtee, Vinicius Souza, Hamer, Osula, Archer
Subs: Adam Davies, Lowe, Fleck, Traore, Thomas, Norwood, Ben Slimane, Larouci, Seriki
Liverpool XI: Kelleher, Alexander-Arnold, Konate, van Dijk, Gomez, Szoboszlai, Endo, Mac Allister, Salah, Gakpo, Diaz
Subs: Nunez, Adrian, Jones, Elliott, Tsimikas, Gravenberch, Marcelo, Quansah, Bradley
Sheffield United XI
18:31 , Alex Young
Here's how the hosts look.
— Sheffield United (@SheffieldUnited) December 6, 2023
18:31 , Alex Young
Nunez is rested!
18:26 , Alex Young
Team news is imminent.
Chris Wilder on Liverpool
18:09 , Alex Young
"It has always been us, Sheffield United against the world. We’re not a club that dominates or lords it over others. I like that. We can take advantage.
"Bramall Lane is a special place. I’ve told the players that to play Liverpool in front of a packed house under the lights is like an FA Cup third round tie. How should you approach it? Give it everything, we’ve got nothing to lose.
"If you sit on the ropes for four or five rounds then someone is going to land on you. You’ve got to swing some punches as well. We have to be brave, in and out of possession."
18:00 , Alex Young
The calm before the storm. Kick-off is in 90 minutes.
17:46 , Alex Young
Here's how the bookies see tonight going. Looks like they agree with us.
Sheffield United win: 11/1
Liverpool win: 1/8
Odds via Betfair.
17:33 , Alex Young
It would be foolish to predict anything other than a win for the visitors in this one. Blades fans may well just be hoping it doesn't get ugly.
Chris Wilder will have to wait for that new manager bounce.
Liverpool to win, 3-0.
Liverpool team news
17:24 , Alex Young
A number of rotations are available to Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp tonight
The major team news before this evening's game is the absence of Joel Matip, who has been ruled out for several months with a knee injury.
Ibrahima Konate will come into defence at centre-back and could be joined by Joe Gomez at left-back should Konstantinos Tsimikas get a rest.
Curtis Jones could be afforded a start but faces a tall order breaking up the midfield partnership of Dominik Szoboszlai and Alexis Mac Allister.
Cody Gakpo is also pushing for an outing, which would see Darwin Nunez get a rest up front.
Mohamed Salah is rarely rested - and will be chasing his 200th Liverpool goal - and Luis Diaz should continue in the front three with Diogo Jota out injured.
Sheffield United team news
17:14 , Alex Young
Oli McBurnie is suspended for the Blades after an ill-advised red card in the hammering at Burnley so he is unavailable to Chris Wilder.
George Baldock was substituted with a suspected hamstring injury early in the first half of that game, meaning he is set to join Chris Basham, John Egan, Tom Davies and more in missing this one.
Where to watch Sheffield United vs Liverpool
17:06 , Alex Young
TV channel: In the UK, tonight's match will be televised live on Amazon Prime Video.
Live stream: Fans can also catch the game live online via the Amazon Prime Video app and website.
16:59 , Alex Young
Welcome to the Standard's LIVE coverage of the Premier League clash between Sheffield United and Liverpool at Bramall Lane.
Chris Wilder is back in the Blades dugout following the sacking of Paul Heckingbottom and is hoping he inspires a new manager bounce to help his team off the bottom of the table.
Liverpool have other ideas, of course, but will be wary of a fired-up home side in front of their own fans. The Reds are winless in four against promoted teams - will that run end or extend tonight?