DISAPPOINTED SHEFFIELD United manager Chris Wilder was critical of his side's efforts in a meek 2-0 loss at Liverpool - and felt that the Blades failed to lay a glove on the runaway Premier League leaders.
Wilder saw his side suffer a second successive league loss for the first time since August 2018 and while the Blades chief was conscious of what his side were facing in a Liverpool side who had not sampled a league defeat in almost exactly a calendar year, he was still dismayed by his side's display, which he felt was a tired one.
An error from George Baldock helped gift an early opener for Mo Salah and Sadio Mane made the game safe with a second goal on 64 minutes in the 2-0 success.
Wilder said: "From our point of view, I was disappointed really. I did not think we laid a glove on them.
"I think the scoreline flattered us. I know Dean got a lot of criticism for his unfortunate mistake at our place, but I thought he was the difference between it not being three, four or five.
"Obviously, when you come here, you have got to try and get a foothold in the game and we could not have got off to a worse start in terms of George (Baldock) slipping and they took full advantage. It gave them a big lift and it was comfortable for Liverpool.
"You could see why they are world and European champions and they look like they are going to be Premier League winners as well. People talk to me about academies and technical stuff and rotation, but the basic stuff they had to tonight - win headers, races and drop on second balls and run and play forward and back and defend as a team - they did it miles better than us.
"They were more aggressive and physical than us. It was not like us.
"The two parts of comfort I can take is that our supporters were absolutely magnificent in their backing of our players. We never gave them anything to shout out.
"The second bit is that is has taken 21 games for a team to really roll us over like Liverpool did."
On the decision to have a light training session ahead of the game in Stanley Park, Wilder added: "I am not a fan of players laying in their beds until four o'clock in the afternoon and suddenly getting themselves up. We always do that on away trips.
"I thought it might give them a little bit of inspiration, even though Stanley Park was not in the best of nick. There was not a lot of 'popper-scoopers' and black bags about!
Meanwhile, Liverpool chief Jurgen Klopp professed his delight at his own side's performance on a night when they moved 13 points clear at the top in what is increasingly looking like a title coronation.
Despite his side extending their unbeaten league sequence past a whole calendar year, Klopp - full of respect for his opposite number Wilder and the Blades in his programme notes - was more pleased in the way in which his team stopped the visitors from playing.
Klopp, who spoke of the Blades' 'amazing story' and the fact that he feels there are several more chapters to write in their journey, said: "I saw a really good football game and we played in exactly the way you have to play against Sheffield United.
"I don't think there were a lot of games like this against them in 2019. That was the biggest and best thing that the boys did. They did not let them get anything in the game."