Football Features

“A Liverpool legend in the making” – Five things learned as Klopp’s Reds stop the rot with their first win for a month

By Muhammad Butt

Published: 21:38, 28 February 2021 | Updated: 18:37, 24 November 2022

In a end-to-end night of football, Liverpool beat Sheffield United 0-2 in the Premier League.

The Reds broke their four-game losing streak to win their first Premier League game for almost a month. What did we learn?

1. Curtis Jones is the spark

There’s many things wrong with Liverpool this season. Pretty much everything, actually. Beyond Andrew Robertson and Gini Wijnaldum’s impervious physical health and Mohamed Salah being very good, everything else that can go wrong has.

One of the few things that has been great for Liverpool is Curtis Jones, the curly-haired 20-year-old scouser who has surprised everyone this season and, wearing the same number Steven Gerrard did when he broke through into the first-team, broken through into the first-team.

Tonight was his 11th start of this league season and he showed why he’s so well-liked here. Jones adds drive and goal-threat in a way no other Liverpool midfielder does. Ironically for a kid with Gerrard’s number he plays oddly like Frank Lampard; all intelligent late runs into space and spicy, fearless finishing ability.

Jones looked Liverpool’s most likely route to a goal in the first-half and was proven to be thus early in the second when he calmly rattled home the Reds’ opening goal past the hitherto impassable Aaron Ramsdale. Curtis Jones is here and he is for real; a Liverpool legend in the making. The kid is so determined and talented it probably won’t be long before he’s eyeing up that no. 8 shirt.

2. Ramsdale The Cursed

Aaron Ramsdale played magnificently against Liverpool. Yes he conceded two goals, but he really was brilliant in a way you wouldn’t expect a goalkeeper who has conceded 41 goals and lost 20 games so far this season would be.

The Englishman was flying about his goal, bailing out his team-mates with various limbs blocking Liverpool’s clever shots. One stop from Roberto Firmino almost defied belief. And yet his reward for all this brilliance? To concede two goals, one off a rebound and another from a massive deflection. That’s now 21 defeats and 43 goals conceded. He must feel cursed, and who could blame him?

3. Bobby can’t buy a goal

Roberto Firmino is Liverpool’s joint-second-top goalscorer this season yet he only has 6 goals which should throw into sharp relief just how bad Liverpool are right now. Firmino came into tonight’s match with one goal in his previous 14 matches and he didn’t look like adding to that total tonight with some wayward shooting.

One incident when put through on goal saw Firmino shoot so tamely that Aaron Ramsdale ended up looking like Iker Casillas stopping Arjen Robben in the 2010 World Cup final. It was such an easy chance and it wasn’t Firmino’s only miss.

The Brazilian even found a way to score, dribbling through a maze of players before blattering a shot in off a huge deflection off Kean Bryan, but still not score; as the deflection was ruled to be so big that the strike became a Bryan own goal.

That’s 1 goal in 15 games now for Liverpool’s no. 9. Not good enough.

4. Sheffield United are doomed

It’s heartbreaking for Chris Wilder who has done so wonderfully to bring his own unique style of football to the Premier League, but Sheffield United are doomed. Whatever the reasons, the fact is Sheffield United have completely failed to even remotely compete this season and even when they have actually competed in matches (like tonight) the amount of times that has resulted in anything good can literally be counted on one hand (three wins, two draws).

They’ve got 11 points. They’re six points off West Brom, 12 away from Fulham and a massive 15 points behind Newcastle and Brighton in 16th and 17th. None of their wins have managed to propel them back into success or a winning mode, and so there’s no a way a loss will.

So, yes, it’s heartbreaking to see this early in the season, especially from a side with so much tactical ingenuity, but even if there’s a while to go before mathematical certainty, it’s pretty clear that Sheffield United are going down.

5. Is this the turning point?

Liverpool came into Sheffield tonight off the back of four straight defeats. They have been absolutely miserable of late, and a loss today would have been the first time since the 50’s that they plumbed such depths. But they didn’t lose. In fact, they won.

Not only did they win, but they played well.

Not only did they play well, but they kept a clean sheet.

Basically just everything you’d want from a club that is really, genuinely, truly “going through it” right now. Jurgen Klopp’s men played so well too, dominating the game and creative chances galore only to not take them.

But they did, eventually, turn the corner. The Champions are winners again and it put them just one point behind Chelsea who they will face on Thursday. Win that (and Diogo Jota and Fabinho’s returns to fitness could be perfectly timed for that) and see results go their way and we could be talking about a Liverpool back in the top four by this time next week.

It’s a reach, obviously, but with the way Liverpool have struggled this season, Jurgen Klopp has got to seize the opportunity and make this win the turning point in Liverpool’s season. The moment they rose up as a collective and said “no, we will do better.”