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Liverpool defeat Sheffield United, spoil Wilder's return

Virgil van Dijk Liverpool Virgil van Dijk - The Canadian Press

SHEFFIELD, England (AP) — Liverpool spoiled Chris Wilder’s return to the Bramall Lane dugout by beating Sheffield United 2-0 thanks to goals by Virgil van Dijk and Dominik Szoboszlai to move back to within two points of leader Arsenal in the Premier League on Wednesday.

Wilder was afforded a rapturous welcome by the home fans ahead of the first match of his second spell in charge of Sheffield United, having been hired on Tuesday as the replacement for Paul Heckingbottom.

And despite having barely a day to prepare for one of the toughest matches of the season, Wilder saw his new team trouble Liverpool while also keeping it quite tight at the back — four days after an abysmal display in a 5-0 loss at Burnley that spelled the end for Heckingbottom.

Liverpool needed a goal from an unlikely source to break the hosts' resistance, with Van Dijk finding space in the area at a corner to steer home a volley from a cross from the right by Trent Alexander-Arnold in the 37th minute.

Szoboszlai added the second goal in second-half stoppage time, controlling a cross from substitute Darwin Núñez and slamming a rising shot into the net.

Liverpool restored the two-point deficit to Arsenal that had been extended to five on Tuesday by the leaders’ 4-3 win at Luton.

Sheffield United stayed in last place on five points from 15 games, four points from safety.


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