Matchweek 31
All times shown are your local time
Thu 4 Apr 2024
Kick Off:
Anfield, Liverpool
Att: 60,055
Ref: Stuart Attwell




Liverpool returned to the top of the Premier League table with a hard-earned 3-1 victory over bottom side Sheffield United, leapfrogging Arsenal to go two points clear at the summit with eight matches left to play.

Alexis Mac Allister’s 20-yard thunderbolt 14 minutes from time helped to secure all three points at Anfield in a Thursday night contest that proved to be much more difficult for the hosts than most had expected.

A Conor Bradley own goal had cancelled out Darwin Nunez’s fortuitous first-half strike before Mac Allister produced a moment of magic for Jurgen Klopp’s side.

Substitute Cody Gakpo then wrapped up a crucial victory with a 90th-minute goal.

How the match unfolded

Liverpool were given a scare after just 31 seconds when Anel Ahmedhodzic flicked on Jack Robinson’s long throw towards the unmarked James McAtee, but the Manchester City loanee shot straight at Caoimhin Kelleher.

The hosts took advantage of their reprieve and took the lead in fortuitous circumstances after 17 minutes. Ivo Grbic’s attempted long kick was charged down by Nunez, who diverted the ball beyond the Blades goalkeeper and into the empty net.

Klopp’s side threatened a second goal before the break. Joe Gomez, Mac Allister and Luis Diaz all fired narrowly wide from long range, while Grbic pushed away Dominik Szoboszlai’s fierce drive before Kelleher kept out Jayden Bogle at the other end.

There was also an element of good fortune as the visitors snatched an equaliser 13 minutes into the second half, with Bradley deflecting Gustavo Hamer’s header through Kelleher’s legs.

Grbic saved Virgil van Dijk’s header while substitute Andrew Robertson fired a Harvey Elliott cross wide as Liverpool looked to regain the lead.

They moved ahead in spectacular fashion as Robertson’s cross ricocheted kindly for Mac Allister, who arrowed a 20-yard rocket into Grbic’s top-left corner.

Mac Allister went close again as his free-kick rattled the crossbar soon after, but it was Gakpo who sealed the points when he drifted into the area unmarked to nod home Robertson's deep cross.

Liverpool controlled large periods of the first half, with five of their players completing more passes than Sheff Utd as a whole. The Reds enjoyed 83.1% possession, the most recorded by any Premier League team in a single match since Opta records began in the 2003/04 season.

Nunez’s good fortune for the opener continued his positive start to 2024. The Uruguay international has now been directly involved in 15 goals in the calendar year across all competitions (10 goals, five assists); more than any other Premier League player.

However, the Reds were made to pay for not extending their advantage when in the ascendancy, as Bradley turned Hamer’s header past Kelleher.

Nevertheless, there was always hope for the side that has scored the most goals in the last 15 minutes this season (26).

Mac Allister’s thumping strike means he has now scored or assisted in eight of his last nine Liverpool starts, while Gakpo’s header put the contest to bed and keeps Liverpool in the driving seat in their title pursuit.

It was always going to be a tough ask for Chris Wilder’s side, as the Blades arrived at Anfield having lost 10 of their 12 previous league visits, with the sole victory during that span coming 30 years ago.

They will have had that sinking feeling again when Grbic’s attempted clearance ricocheted back over his goal line via Nunez. United have made nine errors leading to goals in the Premier League this season, more than any other side.

But they responded well after the break to find the equaliser and while the visitors were unable to hold on for a point as Liverpool simply found another gear when it mattered most, they will take pride from running the leaders so close.

Sheff Utd remain bottom, 10 points behind 17th-placed Nottingham Forest.

Club reports

Liverpool | Sheff Utd

Match officials

Referee: Stuart Attwell. Assistants: James Mainwaring, Richard West. Fourth official: Anthony Taylor. VAR: Chris Kavanagh. Assistant VAR: Mark Scholes.

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Club Reports

Match officials

Referee: Stuart Attwell

Fourth Official: Anthony Taylor

VAR: Chris Kavanagh

Assistant VAR: Mark Scholes

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