Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool have gone level with Manchester City at the top of the table after a grinding performance against Huddersfield which gave the Red’s all three points.
A much-changed Liverpool side saw Adam Lallana, Daniel Sturridge, Dejan Lovren and Xherdan Shaqiri replace the likes of Sadio Mane, Georginio Wijnaldum, Roberto Firmino and Trent Alexander-Arnold in the starting XI. After Guardiola’s side demolished Burnley during the afternoon Liverpool needed a win to keep the pressure up and after picking up three points, they are only behind City due to their superior goal difference of +23 in comparison to Liverpool’s +13.
The opening possessions of the fixture in Huddersfield saw very few chances for either side. Despite being so used to Liverpool flying straight out of the traps, this was not exactly the case at the John Smith Stadium with the majority of the play being in the middle of the park. The Red’s looked lacklustre, with the very much changed front three struggling to latch onto any chances and seeming to lack the searing pace of Mane and the creativity of Firmino. As for Huddersfield, they certainly did not look short of confidence and drove forwards when they had the chances while soaking up any and all of the Liverpool pressure.
Yet despite the opening possessions, it was Liverpool who opened the deadlock with Mo Salah ending his personal mini-goal drought on the 24th minute. A defence splitting pass from Joe Gomez into Xherdan Shaqiri who on the turn played a perfectly weighted through-ball to Mo Salah allowed the Egyptian to poke the ball into the far corner with his weaker foot, past the onlooking Lossl to make it 1-0 to the Red’s. The goal meant Salah has reached 50 Premier League goals.
Although Liverpool were 1-0 up, Huddersfield continued to counter and on the 31st minute a long-ranged effort from Jonathan Hogg had Alisson beaten. The Brazilian had the post to thank on this opportunity yet it could have been so different. The effort from Hogg without doubt deserved to find the back of the net after a sweet first touch which allowed him to beat his man and hit the effort with expert precision.
Right before half time, Huddersfield had the ball in the net through Alex Pritchard but the flag was up for offside. The linesman on the far side made the important call in raising his flag immediately, despite Pritchard putting his effort into the back of the net.
At half time, the Terriers hadn’t looked like a team lacking confidence at all; full of attacking prowess as they pressed Liverpool and arguably the better side in the first 45 minutes. A forced change for Liverpool was made at the half as their captain Jordan Henderson couldn’t continue the second half with Georginio Wijnaldum his replacement.
The first 20 minutes of the second half was exactly the same as the first. Huddersfield attempted to rally their troops and get stuck into the game but to no avail. It was the 63rd minute though when the Egyptian, Salah, had his chance to finish the game after being played through again for Liverpool only to awkwardly drag his shot wide. That was the chance to wrap this one up for the Red’s as they failed to create anything else prior to this.
The 69th minute saw Jurgen Klopp make another enforced change, Adam Lallana replaced by Fabinho with the skilful English midfielder being replaced due to cramp. Fabinho taking up the role of the deepest midfielder of the Liverpool central three. David Wagner made two changes also, with Billing and Hadergjonaj being replaced by Mounie and Mbenza. Huddersfield seemed to switch formation at this point to what looked like a 3-4-3.
The home side needed something and fast, in order to not equal the Premier League record for zero goals scored at home with the the record currently siting at five home games. Roberto Firmino replaced James Milner on the 76th minute as Liverpool tried to grab a goal and end the nerves of the traveling fans and the manager himself. But the former couldn’t manage this as Liverpool wasted a number of opportunities to put the game to bed.
The Red’s weathered the Huddersfield storm for the final five minutes with the only option for the home side being to pump the ball into Liverpool’s box. Although they struggled to get out of their half, Liverpool persisted and finished the game with all three points.
Huddersfield set for Premier League relegation?
The Terriers have only managed four goals so far in the Premier League with two of those coming from long throw-ins. 21 shots on target for Huddersfield in this entire campaign is a dire stat and something which must need work on. Only Crystal Palace and Huddersfield have both failed to score at home this season and again in order to stay in the league this season they have to pick up points at home.
Man of the Match: Mo Salah
A moment of brilliance won the game for Liverpool but more importantly the Egyptian looked like his old self today with lots of forward runs and causing the opposition a lot of trouble.
Next Up: Huddersfield are away to Watford next week who come off the back of a 0-2 away win at Wolves. Liverpool have midweek action in the Champions League against Red Star Belgrade and then welcome Cardiff to Anfield on Saturday.