At times Wijnaldum flies under the radar, with his work in the middle of the park typically not on the flashy side but there is no questioning he is ever reliable.
While his time at Anfield may be coming to an end with his deal not extended beyond the current season, the No. 5 will continue to be key throughout 2020/21.
And here we test how well you know his career to date.11 questions on our No. 5 – can you get them all right? Want more quizzes? Try these!
Liverpool are expected to welcome Alisson back between the sticks against West Ham, with Brazil’s selection committee revealing the Reds hope to see him play three games before the November internationals.
The No. 1 has been out of action for Liverpool’s last three games having picked up a shoulder injury during training prior to the trip to Aston Villa earlier in the month.
But on Friday he was selected for the Brazil national team for their upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Venezuela and Uruguay.
A timeline of up to six weeks had been speculated before Jurgen Klopp revealed he had made “big steps” and a return against Man City in the final game before the international break was tipped for his comeback.
However, when discussing Brazil’s squad selection, it was revealed that Liverpool’s medical department deemed Alisson “would probably be available” for the Reds on October 31, in time to play three games.
“And on October 15 he was back for training sessions. Brazil’s chief medical officer was in contact with Liverpool’s medical department, [they] gave us a heads up by saying that Alisson would probably be available Klopp, to Liverpool’s technical staff on October 31.
“He would have three games before joining the Brazil team.”
It would mean Alisson would miss Saturday’s meeting against Sheffield United and the Champions League clash against Midtjylland on Tuesday, but would then be available for West Ham, Atalanta and the showdown at Man City.
Andy Robertson is in line to make his 100th Premier League appearance for Liverpool this evening.
Should he appear against Sheffield United at Anfield tonight, the left-back would become the 49th player to reach the landmark for the club in the Premier League era.
Alongside Mohamed Salah, Robertson has played every minute of top-flight football for the Reds this season.
Check out other pre-match stats, courtesy of club statistician Ged Rea, below…
Liverpool have won the last three league meetings home and away with Sheffield United, scoring seven goals without reply.
The Reds need three goals to record 10,000 in their history in all competitions. The first was scored by Jock Smith in an 8-0 home Lancashire League win over Higher Walton in September 1892.
Jürgen Klopp's side are closing in on another club record. They are 61 league games unbeaten at Anfield (50 wins, 11 draws), two behind the club's best of 63 between 1978 and 1981.
A total of 26 goals have been scored in Liverpool's five league fixtures this season.
Salah's goal at Everton last weekend saw him become the 17th player to score 100 goals for the club. Next in his sights on the all-time list is John Barnes' 108.
Klopp's men have dropped only six points out of the last 123 available at home in the league, winning 38 and drawing three of 41 matches.
No Liverpool substitute has ever scored against Sheffield United.
Sheffield United defender Jack Robinson remains Liverpool's youngest-ever league player. He was 16 years and 250 days old when he came on as a substitute in the final game of the 2009-10 season at Hull City.
The 20-year-old sought pastures at the end of the summer transfer window, opting for a permanent departure rather than a second successive loan spell.
Brewster joined Liverpool back in 2015 as a 15-year-old and went on to make a total of four senior appearances, with an untimely ankle injury setting him back from making an earlier impact.
A natural finisher with flair, Brewster would become the Blades’ record signing in a deal worth up to £23.5 million as he searched for regular first-team football, which was not available at Liverpool in the short-term.
And while his future now lies elsewhere and he will be plotting the Reds’ downfall at Anfield, he has reflected fondly on his time at the club and the lasting lesson of work ethic and being a professional at all times.
Boxes Milner ticks all those boxes and was name-checked by the striker when reflecting on the legacy he hopes to one day leave.
“Not one person slacks off and I’ll always remember that. Even if I feel I want to,” Brewster told the Daily Mail.
“For example James Milner. He’s in his 30s and still going strong. That’s for a reason. Because he is always in the gym, eating right, doing everything he can to be the best. That’s one thing that I’ll 100 percent take from Liverpool and James Milner.
“I would 100 percent take that [longevity] and look what he is doing in his 30s and why can’t I do that?
“The standards, they set the bar very high and that’s something I will never forget and hopefully people looking at me, when I’m older they will hopefully feel the same way.”
As for his quick return to his former home, Brewster admitted it will be “weird” but it will provide the ideal opportunity to say his final farewells after the swift nature of his departure.
“It’s going to be a bit weird,” Brewster continued. “But it will be a nice moment, just to see everybody. I didn’t get to say goodbye because it [the transfer] happened so quick.”
[unable to retrieve full-text content]Visit our Match Centre now for extended build-up, live updates and commentary, reaction and much more as Liverpool face Sheffield United in the Premier League.
Liverpool will miss Virgil van Dijk but must remain resolutely focused on their objectives for the season, Jordan Henderson has stated.
Van Dijk will miss a Premier League game for the first time since January 2018 when Sheffield United visit Anfield tonight due to the knee injury he sustained during last weekend’s Merseyside derby.
But, while acknowledging the huge blow of being without the No.4, Henderson insists the rest of Jürgen Klopp’s squad will strive to prosper despite his absence.
“As was said most of last week, he’s the best defender in the world. Of course he is. I think I’d go further and say he’s in the running for the best player in the world, regardless of position,” the captain writes of Van Dijk, in his notes for the official matchday programme.
“But it’s his presence and personality that will leave a hole on matchdays and in the training sessions. As important as the fans think he is, to us as teammates it’s even more so.
“It was typical of Virgil that after digesting the news, one of the first messages he sent to us – all of us – was upbeat and inspirational. The exact content will of course remain private, but there wasn’t one word in there feeling sorry for himself. It was all about looking ahead and making sure he comes back better and stronger.
“Likewise when he came to Melwood on Tuesday he just radiated positivity. That’s the big man. And it’s on us to take his lead and only think about the positive impact we can all have from this moment on.
“Any team on the planet would miss Virgil, that’s just common sense. But in the spirit of not making an issue bigger than it needs to be, we can’t do anything about that for a while. What we can do is focus on being better ourselves.
“I look at the players we have who can play that position and I wouldn’t swap them for anyone else. Joe Gomez, Joel Matip and Fabinho are international-quality players who have produced for us as a team time and time again.
“Nat Phillips is nearly back to full fitness and has the making to be a very good centre-half. Rhys Williams has impressed me so much with his attitude and his mentality. Billy Koumetio and Sepp van den Berg likewise. All learning in the best environment there is.
“Are any of them Virgil van Dijk? No... but they don’t need to be. They just need to be themselves and give everything they have for this club, be it in training or when called upon in games. And the rest of us have to be there to help.
“Virgil will back with us in no time at all, I’m sure. Because he is such an extraordinary professional I know he will come back not just as good but better. He’s the sort of character who will use the time out to learn and develop. But while we wait for him we don’t stop.”
Jürgen Klopp has described his personal and professional admiration for Rhian Brewster ahead of Liverpool's meeting with Sheffield United.
Brewster swapped Anfield for Bramall Lane during the transfer window and, in his notes for tonight’s matchday programme, Klopp detailed his feelings about the striker.
“The games we had against them [Sheffield United] last season were as tough as any we faced, be it in domestic competition or European football. Both games could have gone either way. Anything less than our best and I know we will have problems today. But we won’t allow that to happen. We will be ready,” the boss writes.
“There is one change to Sheffield United that certainly makes them more dangerous. And that is the arrival of Rhian Brewster. Our guy, our man - this will always be the case in our hearts. But now on the pitch he is Sheffield United. And anyone who knows Rhian will be aware that sentiment will be firmly left outside of Anfield when he arrives today.
“It would not be possible for me to understate my love, respect and admiration for Rhi. Such a special guy on and off the pitch. I’m not going to lie, agreeing to that transfer was really hard.
“He is a natural-born goalscorer. It’s in his DNA. He is a coach’s dream as he is so eager to learn but also a beacon of positive energy. He had some really hard moments with us, but throughout he never once lost belief and he was always someone who would light up a room, even when he experienced really tough times.
“We miss him but we are delighted that he has found a fantastic home at Sheffield United. Hopefully he has an off-night this evening and then when we travel to Sheffield. But for the other games we all support him and wish him success.”
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp admits this season will be the most challenging of his career with the effects of Covid-19 playing havoc with the schedule.
A delayed start to the season, a knock-on effect of the previous campaign’s three-month hiatus as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, means fixtures come thicker and faster than in previous years.
He has already felt the effects with Joel Matip, Naby Keita and Thiago Alcantara missing the midweek Champions League win over Ajax as a precaution because of knocks they received last weekend and Jordan Henderson limited to just 45 minutes in that game on medical advice.
“It will become more challenging. It is already,” said the Reds boss when asked if this was the most testing season he had faced.
“Life is more challenging than what I ever experienced before and with football it is no different.
“We need help from everybody just to bring the boys through it. We’ve had a lot of discussions with that (medical) department.
“If the doc comes to me and says ‘this boy cannot play’ I cannot say ‘yes he can’. I have to wait until the last minute, pretty much, to make my decisions.
“I have no problem that we have to play again and I will not moan about anything but, with this schedule thing, we have to make sure that the teams who play midweek don’t play 12.30 on Saturday.
“If you play Tuesday in the Champions League, for example, then 12.30 Saturday is fine. If you play Wednesday then Saturday 12.30 is ‘Oh my God!’
“We need to have the time to rest. I know people don’t want to hear it and they go back to all the other things they say about professional football players.
“But it’s like Formula One. Everyone can drive a car but it is difficult to drive at 300mph in a pretty close area and then you hope that your brakes work.
“That is pretty much what professional football is – all on (the) highest speed, with highest intensity. And, for that, you have to have the best brakes available.”
There was however some respite on offer on Friday as Liverpool’s Premier League clash with rivals Manchester City at the Etihad was selected for television coverage and moved back a day to the afternoon of Sunday, November 8.
Jurgen Klopp has praised Marcus Rashford’s campaign to end child food poverty, while also hitting out at the lack of leadership from the UK government.
Rashford this week saw his campaign for extended school meals defeated by the Conservative Party, but the response to that has seen independent businesses across the country step in to ensure the poorest children can eat food.
The Man United striker has used his Twitter account and the hashtag #ENDCHILDFOODPOVERTY to raise mobilise the public, with hundreds of companies coming to support – despite the hospitality business in the UK suffering already due to the pandemic and lockdowns.
“What Marcus started is absolutely incredible, it’s so nice,” praised Klopp on Friday.
“With all the rivalry between the two clubs, in these moments, as footballers, as human beings, we’re always united.
“It’s nice to show in a time when a lot of people who are really in charge of something don’t show any sign of proper leadership, that the boy, who has grown up in difficult circumstances, blessed with a sensational talent, never forgot his roots and where he came from.
“That he has to do it is a bit of a shame but it’s wonderful as well. I hope his mother is really proud of him, I don’t know him, but I am.
“That he plays for United makes it tricky but it’s really an absolutely wonderful thing. I’m sure he doesn’t want the praise, but it’s nice, that’s how it is. He’s a role model.
“It just shows football can do wonders in [these] moments. The subject is really serious, that’s why everybody puts rivalry aside and thinks about the most important things in life. I’m really pleased people show solidarity in these moments.”
On Friday morning, Liverpool City Council announced that they will provide 20,000 meal vouchers for children this half-term after the Tory government blocked the move nationally.
* If you are looking to make a donation to help the city of Liverpool, This Is Anfield have provided a small list of those working to help those in need:
Jürgen Klopp discussed the specific fitness challenges of the 2020-21 season, a potential defensive partnership between Joe Gomez and Joel Matip, and his pride in Marcus Rashford on Friday.
During the second part of his pre-Sheffield United press conference, the Liverpool manager talked in depth about the unique demands the current campaign has and will place on footballers.
Klopp also assessed the prospect of Gomez and Matip combining at the back in the absence of Virgil van Dijk, and explained his admiration for the social campaigns being led by Manchester United striker Marcus Rashford.
Read a full transcript below.
On liaising with the club’s medical department regarding player fitness and availability…
Let me say it like this, professional football on the level we play it is a little bit like Formula One in comparison to driving a normal car. Most of the issues the boys have during the week, none of you would probably even mention because you don’t make a sprint in the next moment or up to 50 sprints in the next one-and-a-half hours. For us, it is constantly that we have to judge what is normal in that moment, what the boys feel, or what the physiotherapists feel touching their muscles. Is it a bit too much? Do we have to be careful? Or where can we just ignore it and all these kind of things. That is really challenging, to be honest. We have lot of discussions in that department – with the medical department – always. The sports science in comparison to the time I studied it or even earlier – the ‘90s, late ‘90s and stuff like this – nobody knew a lot about recovery and how long you need, it was just fit or injured and in between there was pretty much nothing. Now, with the number of games we play and with the schedule…
Look, I said it before the Everton game, a massive challenge for us is when the boys play on Wednesday night. If they played in Liverpool on Wednesday night and then Saturday at 12.30, the difference between Saturday 12.30 and Saturday eight o’clock like we do now is massive, it’s massive these few hours. The body needs a specific amount of time to recover and nobody can decrease that or make it quicker. You can do it obviously with some things, but you cannot do it in 20 hours. We always have this problem around the Christmas period when nobody is interested in listening about Boxing Day and then two days later play again and all these kind of things. It is a challenge. We deal with human beings; we ask for a lot but we cannot perform wonders or miracles, it is just not possible. But they have to go again and nobody cares about when they played the last time and that’s just the situation. The medical department and the coaches are obviously very often in conversations about that and it is difficult to judge that. I would say most of the time we are probably right, all of us we find the right solutions, but sometimes we have no idea what really will happen and pray or hope for the perfect outcome. That’s why it makes it so tricky in these times, but it is for all the teams who are involved in international football, it’s all the same. But we don’t play them all of the time, we play teams who played last Saturday or last Sunday the last time, so that makes a massive difference. Probably people think that is fair enough because one team has more players or better players or whatever and the other team has more time to train. That’s the situation, since yesterday that’s the situation.
This year, with the triple-headers in the international break, it’s really new, that was never before and it was an incredible challenge to play the 12.30 game on Saturday because the South American guys came back from Peru, which is absolutely incredible and for that they played an absolutely exceptional game. That’s why, yes, we have discussions with the medical department and we take their advice and when the Doc comes to me [and says] this player cannot play, I cannot say: ‘Yes he can!’ So I have to wait until the last minute pretty much to make my final decisions in these weeks. I’m used to that and so I still try to find the best solution.
On the prospect of Gomez and Matip forming a defensive partnership and the fact they have never started together before…
The reason for that is because I think Virg played pretty much all the games and one of them was injured. As long as Dejan Lovren was still here and Dejan was in that moment fit [he could play]. I didn’t know they had never played together, I didn’t know that, but they can play together – not a shadow of a doubt. As I said for the Fabinho and Joe pairing, they need to get used to each other and the full-backs need to get used to them. The more stability you have in this line, the better. We never had that really, especially one position was always with a lot of changes. They will fight together, there is no doubt about that. It is football and it didn’t become rocket science overnight. We can help them with information but then they will get tested every three days, that’s the situation.
On whether this is the most challenging season ever for a manager, in terms of handling players’ fitness…
It will become [so]. It is already and will be. Life is more challenging than what I ever experienced in my life, and is with football no different. It’s no different. That’s what we talk about constantly, we try to find solutions and we need help from everybody just to bring the boys through it. I will not moan about anything but in this schedule thing, we just have to make sure that the teams who play midweek don’t play 12.30 on Saturday. For example, if you play Tuesday [in the] Champions League, then 12.30 Saturday is fine. If you play Wednesday then Saturday 12.30 is oh my God. You do it once: ‘OK, come on, let’s do it.’ But you do it twice, three times, stuff like this, that’s the problem. That’s really the problem. We need to have the time to rest them. I know people don’t want to hear that and we can go back to all the other things people say about professional football players, but in the end what I said, it’s like Formula One – everybody can drive a car but it’s difficult to drive 300mph in a pretty close area and then you hope your brakes work. It’s pretty much what professional football is – all on the highest speed, all with the highest intensity. And for that, you need the best breaks you can get; brakes like in a car, and the most time you can get. That’s all. I’m 100 per cent not the only one who thinks like that, I know all the other managers involved in international football see it exactly the same. But, how we know, that doesn’t change a lot usually.
On what he would say about Rashford…
Blown away by news of local businesses stepping up to fill the voucher scheme deficit during the October half term.… https://t.co/k86ElK3f4H— MarcusRashford (Marcus Rashford MBE) 22nd Oct 21:30
Yes, I’m not sure I can find any better words than other and much smarter people than me said about it. But what Marcus started there is absolutely incredible and it’s so nice. With all the rivalry between the clubs and stuff like this, in these moments as footballers – and as human beings – always united. It’s just nice to show in a time when obviously a lot of people who are really in charge of something and don’t show any sign of proper leadership, that a boy grown up in difficult circumstances, blessed with a sensational talent obviously, never forgot his roots and where he is coming from. That he has to do it then is a bit of a shame but is wonderful as well. I hope his mother is really proud of him. I don’t know him but even I am. He plays for United, which makes it really tricky! But it’s really an absolutely wonderful, wonderful thing. Whatever praise he got – and I’m pretty sure he doesn’t want the praise now anymore, it’s nice to do it once – that’s how it is. Now he is in the role and now he is the role model for that and that’s great. And it will not distract him from his football things. But, yeah, absolutely great and happy about it.
On the cities of Liverpool and Manchester uniting…
Yes, that just shows that football can do really wondrous [things] in moments. And it shows as well that the subject is really serious. That’s why everybody puts the rivalry aside and just thinks about more important things in life. How I said, really happy that we can show this solidarity in these moments.