(Reuters) – Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder joked that his side might need to play 11 defenders when they face European champions and Premier League leaders Liverpool on Saturday.
Although United have lost their last two league home games, Wilder has persisted with a back-three this season, which has helped the promoted side avoid defeat on their three away trips.
Liverpool have a perfect record this season with six wins from six and have a five-point lead over second-placed Manchester City at the top of the league.
Juergen Klopp’s side have also been prolific in front of goal, scoring at least two goals in every game.
“It might turn into a back-10, or a back eleven,” a smiling Wilder told a news conference on Thursday.
“They’ve caused better sides than us untold problems in terms of the way they move the ball around the pitch, the way they attack at pace and with quality.
“Hopefully they don’t show as much quality as they have done over the last two or three years that have got them results and success.
“You hope they have an off day and we get amongst them, make it uncomfortable for them and we’ll try to drive the game forward when we have the opportunity to.”
Liverpool have won their last 12 league matches against promoted teams but have never won at Bramall Lane in the Premier League and Wilder said his side must not be intimidated by the European champions.
“I don’t want to look at this game with our players starry eyed and speaking to their players before and saying, ‘Can I swap shirts?’ and ‘Any chance of signing this?’,” Wilder added.
“We’re in this game on a level playing field in terms of a Premier League fixture. Of course, there’s enormous gaps between both clubs at the moment and we’re trying to make that gap a little bit closer.
“Everybody will have it down as an away win because of history and the talent that they’ve got. We’ve got to make sure that we look at small ways that we can hurt them and that’s what we’re going to try to do and be competitive in our approach.”
(Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Toby Davis)