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‘A star is born’ but who starts vs. Man United? – Last word on Liverpool 3-1 Sheff United

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Liverpool weren’t at their brilliant best in their 3-1 victory at home to Sheffield United, but it was impossible not to love another majestic Alexis Mac Allister contribution.

The Merseysiders had to battle more than many expected at Anfield on Thursday, but they got the three points to return to the top of the Premier League.

It was Mac Allister’s outrageous strike in front of the Kop that was the moment of the night, with Darwin Nunez and Cody Gakpo also finding the net.

After the dust had settled, This Is Anfield pair Henry Jackson (@HenryJackson87) and Sam Millne (@sam_millne) took a look back at Liverpool’s win, discussing Mac Allister’s goal and looking ahead to Man United on Sunday.

 

What did you make of that then? Happy?

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Thursday, April 4, 2024: Liverpool's Darwin Núñez celebrates after scoring the first goal during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Sheffield United FC at Anfield. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Thursday, April 4, 2024: Liverpool's Darwin Núñez celebrates after scoring the first goal during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Sheffield United FC at Anfield. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

SAM: Very! It wasn’t quite the walkover we all thought it was going to be once Nunez got the first, but it ended comfortably nonetheless.

It almost felt like scoring that first goal put everyone in the ground, including the players, into a lull, thinking it would be a cricket score.

Instead, Liverpool struggled for ideas against 11 men sitting back.

We’ve said that plenty of times this season, though, and Liverpool showed once again that they know how to turn the screw when necessary.

HENRY: Like Sam says, I truly expected it to be a really comfortable night, but within the first minute, that wasn’t the case.

It was worrying how the complacency set in, and it is something that needs to be eradicated in these final eight games.

That’s being a bit negative, though, and the performance was still for large parts, and I rarely doubted that they would get a winner.

Not quite in that manner, though…

 

How about that Mac Allister strike! Just how good is he?

Liverpool's Alexis Mac Allister, left, celebrates with teammates after scoring his side's second goal during the English Premier League soccer match between Liverpool and Sheffield United at the Anfield stadium in Liverpool, England, Thursday, Apr. 4, 2024. (AP Photo/Jon Super)Liverpool's Alexis Mac Allister, left, celebrates with teammates after scoring his side's second goal during the English Premier League soccer match between Liverpool and Sheffield United at the Anfield stadium in Liverpool, England, Thursday, Apr. 4, 2024. (AP Photo/Jon Super)

SAM: There are definite shades of Thiago about Mac Allister, but at the other end of his career.

It feels like we are about to witness one of Liverpool’s greatest midfielders take flight.

Whether he was asked to play as a defensive midfielder or as a No. 8 he was influential, and if he can keep making important contributions, we could be on to a world-class player, both in and out of possession.

HENRY: He is just a dream of a footballer, isn’t he?

Technically elite, tactically savvy, brilliant in the tackle, capable of playing two midfield roles, intelligence by the bucketload and very likeable.

A star truly has been born in these last few months, and if he can avoid serious injury, he can be a true Liverpool midfield great.

I agree with Sam’s Thiago comparison, too – he just makes everything look so easy, and in a classy fashion – and that goal was one of the moments of the season, without question.

Easily Liverpool’s best player at the moment.

 

Did anyone else stand out for you?

SAM: Nunez was far better than against Brighton and his goal was symptomatic of his constant work, making runs and tirelessly chasing down the opposition.

Gakpo also did well, hopefully that kickstarts a second wind for him this season.

It’s got to be said that, despite only playing 20 minutes, Jones definitely staked a claim to start on Sunday.

HENRY: I want to pay a bit of special attention to Robertson.

I have seen some almost writing him off recently – it lazily happens when a player turns 30 – but he was outstanding when he came on.

He brought so much quality and natural width down the left flank – his cross for Gakpo’s goal was perfect – but he is also a born winner who drove Liverpool forward.

What an amazing signing he has been, and there is still plenty left in the tank.

 

Are you confident about beating Man United? What would your XI be?

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - Sunday, March 17, 2024: Liverpool's Cody Gakpo (L) is challenged by Manchester United's Mason Mount during the FA Cup Quarter-Final match between Manchester United FC and Liverpool FC at Old Trafford. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - Sunday, March 17, 2024: Liverpool's Cody Gakpo (L) is challenged by Manchester United's Mason Mount during the FA Cup Quarter-Final match between Manchester United FC and Liverpool FC at Old Trafford. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

SAM: I’m still not confident because we saw what Man United can do three weeks ago.

However, the way they lost to Chelsea on Thursday will leave them demoralised, and should Liverpool score early, we could be looking at a scoreline that gets their Erik ten Hag the sack.

My XI: Kelleher; Gomez, Konate, Van Dijk, Robertson; Endo, Mac Allister, Jones; Salah, Diaz, Nunez.

I’d be happy to see Bradley play, but I think Klopp is managing him.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - Sunday, March 17, 2024: Liverpool players form a pre-match huddle before the FA Cup Quarter-Final match between Manchester United FC and Liverpool FC at Old Trafford. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - Sunday, March 17, 2024: Liverpool players form a pre-match huddle before the FA Cup Quarter-Final match between Manchester United FC and Liverpool FC at Old Trafford. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

HENRY: I’m NEVER confident when we go to Old Trafford – I have PTSD from my childhood seeing United dominate year in, year out.

The FA Cup game summed up how Old Trafford can do funny things to the Reds and I always fear them simply not turning up there.

I do think Liverpool will win, but equally, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if we’re ruing another sloppy performance down the M62 on Sunday night.

In terms of my XI, I like Sam’s thinking with Gomez at right-back – no disrespect at all to Bradley, who has been fantastic – but I don’t think Jones is match-fit enough to start such a big game.

My XI: Kelleher; Gomez, Konate, Van Dijk, Robertson; Endo, Mac Allister, Szoboszlai; Salah, Diaz, Nunez.