5 talking points from Sheffield United 0-2 Liverpool

Here are five talking points after Liverpool beat Sheffield United 2-0 in the Premier League on Wednesday evening.

Not just the forwards

Liverpool picked up where they left off in at least one way - they relied on players other than their forwards to break Sheffield United down. The win over Fulham was notable for midfielders doing the damage, here it was the defence.

Trent Alexander-Arnold put in a delivery for Virgil van Dijk to finish. With that, the Reds had their breakthrough on a day when the forwards initially struggled to get into the game.

It's certainly a major strength to have. The Reds might have the best attack in the country right now but even when they're struggling a little, others can pick up the slack. That's something Liverpool haven't always had under Jurgen Klopp.

Van Dijk at his best

It wasn't just the goal that stood out for Virgil van Dijk. Liverpool's captain firmly looks back to his best; this game was a fine example.

The data has been suggesting he's there but just watching Van Dijk lets you see the confidence and composure he lacked last season. One first-half moment saw him stop a 2-on-1 attack on his own - reminiscent of him at his peak pre-injury.

Liverpool are unquestionably a far superior side with Van Dijk dominating in defence. He remains the world's best when everything clicks together and there's no one else quite like him.

Salah's wait continues

Mo Salah went into this game on 199 goals for Liverpool and he went off around the hour mark still on 199 goals. In truth, he didn't really come particularly close to scoring.

It means Salah hasn't actually scored from open play in four games, or since the international break. That's his longest spell without an open-play goal this season, but that's mainly just a sign of how good his start to the campaign was.

No real reason to worry after this one, though. Sheffield United packed the defence and made it very difficult for any of Liverpool's forwards to get chances.

Number 200 will be along soon enough.

Hard-fought win

This is the kind of result Liverpool weren't getting last season. 2-0 away to a team that defended very well and troubled the forwards. But the defence managed to really limit what the Blades did going forward - even after some defensive errors.

Then up-stepped other players to take the spotlight as the forwards struggled. It's what you need from a team hoping to challenge for top honours this season.

All in all, not the best performance but one that reflects very well ont he Reds.

Rotation is working

Jurgen Klopp continues to make use of his entire squad and did so again here. Kostas Tsimikas got a full rest, the midfield was rotated, as were the forwards. Only a couple of players have played back-to-back full 90s over the last week.

It stands Liverpool in good stead against Crystal Palace. The vast majority of the team should be fresh, or fresh enough, while keeping pressure on the top spots.

All is going well right now.

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