Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp claims he knew earning a victory against Sheffield United would be no straightforward task, despite the struggles Chris Wilder’s side have endured so far this season.
The Blades were last season’s surprise package and pushed the reigning Premier League champions all the way in both the games they played against Klopp’s runaway winners.
Wilder’s men have failed to register a win so far this term, but fancied their chances of causing an upset in what was Liverpool’s first full league match without Virgil van Dijk, who is almost certain to miss the rest of the campaign with the knee injury he suffered against Everton last weekend.
Sander Berge stroked the visitors ahead from the penalty spot in the 13th minute after Fabinho, deputising at the heart of Liverpool’s defence alongside Joe Gomez in the absence of Van Dijk, was penalised for a foul on Oli McBurnie.
The Scotland international missed a golden chance to double United’s advantage soon after and it proved to be a costly miss. Roberto Firmino squared the contest four minutes before the interval and summer signing Diogo Jota won the game with a powerful header just past the hour mark.
Klopp, however, admitted his new-look defence struggled to cope with the physical threat offered by McBurnie and was forced into tweaking his tactics in an attempt to reduce his influence.
‘I’m not surprised at all, you always have to work hard against Sheffield United. It’s hard to take for Chris Wilder,’ said Klopp.
‘We struggled with McBurnie in the first half but we changed our positioning and won the second balls. We were dominating at 2-1 and had some really good football but then they came back.
‘They never give up, I respect that so much. They go and go and go. Chris is doing a wonderful job.’