Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder urges his players not to be "starry-eyed" against Liverpool

SHEFFIELD UNITED manager Chris Wilder has called on his side not to be 'starry-eyed' by the arrival of Champions League holders Liverpool - while professing his deep respect for the Merseysiders and manager Jurgen Klopp.

Chris Wilder
Chris Wilder

The table-topping Reds are chasing their 16th successive league victory when they visit Bramall Lane on Saturday lunch-time and despite acknowledging the extent of the challenge ahead for his Blades side, Wilder insists his side are not there to 'swap shirts.'

Wilder said: "Playing the European champions at home is always going to be one of those fixtures which you look at when you are back in Premier League.

"It is the visit of the best team in Europe at 'beautiful downtown Bramall Lane.' We have to try and find a way of causing them problems and make it as uncomfortable for them as possible.

"Of course, everyone will have it down as an away win. We have got to make sure we look at small ways of hurting them and being competitive in our approach.

"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, any chance of signing this?. We are here in this game on a level playing field in terms of this fixture.

"Of course, there are enormous gaps between both clubs at the moment and it is one we are trying to make a little bit closer.

"But my players don't get the results they have achieved over the past three years without wanting to win.

"They want to get stuck into opposition and put individual performances on and we definitely as a staff and a group of players want to make it as competitive as possible.

"I don't want Liverpool to come into our back yard and say: 'thanks very much, it is the easiest three points of the season.'

"If they do get the win, which everyone expects them to, we must have an 'over-our-dead-bodies' mentality and put up as much resistance as possible and try and cause them a few problems the other way."

On pitting his wits with Jurgen Klopp, Wilder added: "There's all sorts of different aspects regarding successful managers and I love his connection with his players and the genuine affection between him and players and vice-versa. Even players that are not involved heavily.

"The connection with the supporters is also there to be seen. Liverpool supporters are possibly the most knowledgeable in country in terms of the players they have seen and teams they have supported.

"I love his (Klopp's) personality and the connection between players and management staff is huge and that goes into fanbase as well. It is a really connected football club which will go from strength to strength."

Striker David McGoldrick remains 'very, very doubtful' for the game, according to Wilder.