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Liverpool

Reds survive scare against bottom-dwellers before Mac Allister stunner keeps title bid on track

As the clock inside a nervy Anfield ticked towards the final 10 minutes, two Spaniards in north London and Manchester would have been pacing up and down their living rooms growing in confidence for the upset of the season.

Liverpool were far from their best and rock-bottom Sheffield United had answers for every question thrown their way. Shots were rushed and going wayward, Jurgen Klopp was patrolling his technical area with arms flailing and the Kop was extremely agitated.

The Reds had led early on but only via a slice of luck as an attempted long ball from goalkeeper Ivo Grbic deflected in off Darwin Nunez’s backside, then a stoic Sheffield United side pulled level in the second half and were heading for a famous point.

Dreams of ending the Klopp era with a 20th English league title were threatening to be tossed and blown. But then came the magic moment from the man of the moment on Merseyside, player of 2024 for Liverpool and perhaps even the Premier League: Alexis Mac Allister.

Everything the Argentine touches turns to gold, with this the sixth straight game in which the World Cup winner has scored a goal or come up with a match-winning assist. None of those previous moments were as rip roaring as this, though.

‘I would rather you all use your eyes and say what you see,’ said Klopp when asked about Mac Allister. ‘It’s obvious he’s a super important and wonderful player. I’m just really happy for Liverpool that we got him. I met his father after the game and I said, “Gracias”.’

It was a piledriver of a strike that had shades of, dare it be said, prime Steven Gerrard, the way he cleanly struck the ball and nearly cut a hole in the net with sheer power. And within a blink of the eye, angst suddenly turned to cacophonic euphoria.

Whether it will be as significant as that ‘Gerrard, you beauty, what a hit son’ strike against Olympiacos in 2004 remains to be seen.

But like Vincent Kompany’s strike against Leicester in 2019, it could be one that tips the title in his team’s favour.

That might sound daft given the fact there are still 24 points to play for but it felt like a potentially decisive moment in this thrilling three-team title race, with Liverpool on the verge of ceding pole position and giving Mikel Arteta and Pep Guardiola a significant boost.

Klopp’s side were dominant and racked up a plethora of chances but left the door ajar in what some fans had arrogantly predicted – to the manager’s annoyance – would be a guaranteed win and chance to boost the goal difference.

SOURCE – Player of the year candidate Alexis Mac Allister’s piledriver was reminiscent of Vincent Kompany’s title-deciding rocket, writes LEWIS STEELE as Liverpool leave it late to beat Sheffield United 3-1 | Daily Mail Online