Liverpool: Attritional Reds Overcome Huddersfield
An improved second half showing sees Liverpool record a comfortable 3-0 home victory...
Liverpool responded to last weekend's horror show at Tottenham Hotspur with a much-needed three points against Huddersfield Town at Anfield on Saturday afternoon.
It was a far from vintage performance however as Kop boss Jürgen Klopp got the better of former Mainz and Borussia Dortmund colleague, and the best man at his wedding, David Wagner.
His opposite number, fresh from orchestrating a victory over Manchester United last time out, surprisingly employed negative tactics throughout the contest and it contributed to a poor first half spectacle devoid of action and tempo.
The one moment of note saw Liverpool gifted a penalty when Terriers defender Tommy Smith tugged the shirt of Roberto Firmino three minutes from the interval.
However, in keeping with the abject nature of their general play, Mohamed Salah struck the spot-kick straight at Jonas Lössl before captain Jordan Henderson's follow-up clipped the post.
Liverpool, without Philippe Coutinho due to an adductor problem and forced into a late change when Dejan Lovren was hurt in the warm-up, improved markedly after the restart and never looked back once Daniel Sturridge had capitalised on a poor headed clearance to notch his 100th club goal in the 50th minute.
Firmino doubled the hosts' advantage eight minutes later, heading home a James Milner corner, before Georginio Wijnaldum rounded out the scoring by firing into the roof of the net 15 minutes from time.
Speaking at the final whistle, Klopp declared the afternoon 'a job well done' despite acknowledging his side were below par in certain aspects of their play.
"It was not fluent," analysed the German. "We had too many players behind the ball, it was clear we wanted to give them no opportunity for counter-attack and stuff like this, but you don't need seven players behind the ball to protect the counter-attack. That's how it looked a little bit in the first half, so it was not too difficult to fix at half-time.
"We [worked on] it during the week already; the positioning where we have to be so it's more difficult for any opponent to defend it. You could see immediately in the second half really, we had more players between the decisive lines and so it was more difficult for Huddersfield to defend.
"The first goal was of course Smith with the header, but we forced the situation with the pass and the positioning of Roberto and Daniel. The second one after a set piece felt like Christmas and all the other nice events together because we scored after a set piece! We had a lot of good set pieces today. Then the third one was nice play.
"We had more chances, but it's a big relief to be honest because the pressure was there. There is no doubt about that. I could hear that people didn't like the first half too much, I know it's hard work but in the end probably nobody remembers the first half because the second half was really much better. It helped a lot today - three goals, three points, clean sheet, very, very important."
Victory lifts Liverpool to 6th in the Premier League standings, for the time being at least, three points behind fourth-placed Chelsea.
Klopp's men are next in action on Wednesday night when the welcome Maribor to Anfield in the Champions League.
So that's what both us and Klopp thought about the game, how about you? Let us know your views below...
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