Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp thinks the performances of Sheffield United this season have been better than the results suggest.
Ahead of their trip to Anfield on Saturday, the Blades have just one point from their opening five Premier League games.
Yet having been impressed with Chris Wilder and his side last season, Klopp knows the table doesn’t tell the full story.
“The performances of Sheffield United have not been bad and Wilder knows that,” the German said in his pre-match press conference, as quoted by The Liverpool Echo.
“They’ve had a full week to prepare with strength in set-pieces, so we are focused on this and not what is going on in the Premier League.”
As Klopp says, unlike his team United have had a full week to get ready for the game against the Champions. The Reds, meanwhile, were in the Champions League action on Wednesday night. They Ajax 1-0 in Amsterdam.
Does Klopp have a point about Sheffield United?
While results have been poor, there is a similar theme emerging with the Blades from last season.
They had the fourth best defence, but were the fourth lowest scorers in 2019/20. This time around, they have scored just twice – the fewest in the division. But only two teams have conceded fewer than them, despite the fact they are 19th.
Both 1-0 defeats to Aston Villa and Leeds United could legitimately have gone the other way. Their first half display against Fulham at the weekend was dominant. Although they struggled after the break and a 1-1 draw was probably fair.
United have also been affected by injuries to key players. Jack O’Connell is set to miss the entire campaign after having knee surgery and is missed as an overlapping centre-back.
Last term’s top scorer, Lys Mousset, is yet to play in 2020/21 due to a foot injury. John Fleck is also currently sidelined.
So Klopp does have a point, but the 53-year-old was never going to underestimate Wilder in any case. Liverpool will be prepared and anything other than another defeat should be considered a good result.