Salah, Firmino and Mane 5/10 as lucky Liverpool limp past Sheffield United
Liverpool continued their perfect start to the Premier League season with a 1-0 win over Sheffield United in a fascinating encounter at Bramall Lane.
The visitors were made to work extremely hard by the Blades, who showed plenty of Sheffield steel in a near-faultless performance and can count themselves fortuitous to leave with the points.
While there are still plenty of football to be played, this was a one of those days that felt like it could have a big impact on the league's final standings come May.
Liverpool were made to be patient and but kept plugging away and ultimately found a way to win, even if it required some generous goalkeeping.
Liverpool's frightening front three were left desperately searching for scraps to feed off in a game where they had to fight for every yard and opportunity.
So often praised for their attacking brilliance, the visitors were forced to endure a tough afternoon that was epitomised by over-hit passes and wrong decision making in vital moments.
On another afternoon Jurgen Klopp may have had to settle for a point, and their opponents would have been excellent value for it.
Manager rating out of 10
6 -- Jurgen Klopp named an unchanged XI to the side that saw off a late fightback to win at Chelsea but after a frustrating first-half the Liverpool boss looked to mix things up after the break and switched to three at the back with full-backs Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson given more freedom to get forward.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
DF Trent Alexander-Arnold, 4 -- A tough afternoon for the youngster. Caught out by a couple of long balls over the top into the path Ollie McBurnie. Found almost every attempted cross charged down by a red shirt.
DF Joel Matip, 6 -- Another one given a tough afternoon. Rescued Liverpool with a vital header away from danger with Oliver McBurnie lurking at the back post. Looked to break into midfield more in the second half but found opportunities to do so limited.
DF Virgil van Dijk, 7 -- Comfortably Liverpool's man of the match. Picked out Mane with a 40-yard ball over the top and yet again put in a mammoth display at the back.
DF Andrew Robertson, 6 -- Threw himself at the ball as John Lundstram looked to unleash a piledriver at Adrian's goal, but was sloppy in his attacking play. Produced a ridiculous block to deny fellow Scot John Fleck in a huge moment in the second half.
MF Georginio Wijnaldum, 6 -- Struggled to carve out opportunities for Liverpool's attacking trio against incredibly disciplined opposition, but produced the match-winning moment when his well-taken volley squirmed through the legs of Henderson.
MF Fabinho, 5 - Had a busy afternoon in both sides' halves. Sold completely the wrong-way by Fleck, but equally produced some brilliant defensive moments under pressure.
MF Jordan Henderson, 5 -- Given a vital role in a first half where Liverpool were forced to fight for every scrap but didn't produce a standout display. Replaced by Origi in the 64th minute.
FW Mohamed Salah, 5 -- Frustrating probably best sums up his afternoon. Thwarted by Henderson with a poor effort following a rare defensive error and his decision making was not great.
FW Roberto Firmino, 5 -- Had to work hard for every inch of space in a game where chances were hard to come by. Played the ball into the path of Mane for what should have been the games' opener but didn't threaten as often as expected. Replaced by Milner the 87th minute.
FW Sadio Mane, 5 -- Horribly wasteful on one of those rare occasions when his side couldn't afford to be. Sliced a golden opportunity horribly wide after Van Dijk's sensational pass and thumped the post from 6 yards. Replaced by Oxlade-Chamberlain in the 94th minute.
MF Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, NR -- Replaced Mane in the dying seconds but didn't have time to make an impact.
MF James Milner, NR -- Replaced Roberto Firmino in the 87th minute as Liverpool looked to see the game out.