'It's exceptional': Liverpool plunges Blades into an undefeated year

Liverpool, January 3 (AFP) Jurgen Klopp praised Liverpool for outstanding after they did it for a whole calendar year without a Premier League defeat, as the runaway leaders beat Sheffield United 2-0 on Thursday.

Klopp's team moved 13 points ahead of second-placed Leicester thanks to goals from Egyptian striker Mohamed Salah and Senegal Sadio Mane's end in Anfield.

Liverpool's number 19 victory in 20 league games this season completed an incredible 12 months for a team at the top of its powers.

The Reds have not lost in 37 league games since the defeat at Manchester City on January 3, 2019 and it seems certain that they will win the English title for the first time since 1990.

With a game in hand to further strengthen its advantage, it would take a surprising collapse to deprive Liverpool of its holy grail.

He says many positive things. I don't have enough words for it, it's exceptional, said Klopp.

I am very happy and proud of the boys. We should not take these things for granted. Winners of their last 18 local league matches, Liverpool have been undefeated in 51 top-level games at Anfield since April 2017.

As if it was no longer difficult enough to beat Liverpool, lately they are proving to be more impregnable than ever.

This was their fifth consecutive first-level clean sheet, the first time they had achieved it since 2007, and they completed more passes than any other team in a match in the Premier League era.

The way we controlled Sheffield United was exceptional. In possession, we were incredible, we were calm but also animated. The goals we scored were exceptional, Klopp said.

It is obviously good (to be undefeated for a year), but the goal was not to extend this, but to win the game.

We do not think about the year (undefeated). We have seasonal resolutions, not New Year's resolutions!

After the 2019 gold saw Liverpool be crowned European and world club champion, the next goal is to end the Manchester City's two-year spell as champions after losing it just last season.

With an eye on domestic happiness, the new year began just when the previous one ended, with Liverpool setting standards of excellence that rival everything achieved by the impressive City team.

The immortality of the Premier League is within walking distance as the Klopp men are already halfway to an undefeated league season that would replicate the incredible feat of the Arsenal Invincible 2003-04.

Liverpool had not even started when they suffered what could have been a distraction blow when Naby Keita was replaced by James Milner after being injured in the warm-up.

But the Reds are too polished to lose focus and were ahead in four minutes.

- Reddened by success -

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His victory at Bramall Lane in September came thanks to an error by United goalkeeper Dean Henderson and once again Liverpool benefited from an error by Blades.

When Virgil van Dijk played a long pass to Andrew Robertson, it should have been easy for George Baldock.

But Baldock lost his balance and fell, allowing Robertson to advance and cross Salah, who stood in front of Jack O'Connell to achieve a short-range clinical final for his 14th goal of the season.

Before his first visit to Anfield for 13 years, the sensible side of Chris Wilder made the unusual decision to train alongside the public in Stanley Park in the shadow of the famous stadium.

The session was interrupted when a dog decided to use one of the training cones as a toilet.

That promising omen proved to be adequate, as the hopes of visitors of a surprising result vanished.

Liverpool's ability to pressure any opponent to submit and take the coup de grace with his deadly front three has made them virtually impossible to play in the last 18 months. United were the last victims when Mane closed the points in the 64th minute. Running towards Robertson's pass, Mane broke into the area and took Salah's return pass before firing happily at the net's ceiling after his initial shot. It was saved. (AFP) APA APA

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