Talking Points: Huddersfield 0 Liverpool 1

Mo Salah’s first-half strike was enough to secure all three points in a battling display by Jürgen Klopp’s side. Yet another clean sheet combined with the Egyptian’s goal means the Reds stay unbeaten in the Premier League and level on points with Man City at the top of the table.

Reds capitalise on only moment of quality…

The three points are what matters most, and Liverpool importantly capitalised on the dropped points by Chelsea and Manchester United earlier in the day and keep up the pace with Man City. The Reds have seriously struggled against sides in the relegation zone during Klopp’s reign – this too shrugged aside as they battled and hung on for victory. However, so many of Liverpool’s League games this season have been so similar. The win obtained yes, but thanks to the impressive defence bailing out a sloppy midfield and wasteful attack. Against Huddersfield, the Reds created very little, but thankfully Salah was on hand to turn their only moment of quality in attack into a goal. As he has done so well on many occasions this season, Joe Gomez’s incisive pass from defence and into the midfield allowed Xherdan Shaqiri to slip in Salah who finished tidily. A lovely yet simple move that got the finishing touch it deserved, but where was such play for the rest of the match? It generally is fascinating watching Liverpool hang on for so many wins, as they simply haven’t been able to do it for many years, all while their rivals do and win trophies as a result. The win against Huddersfield is what matters most, but yet again the performance left a lot to be desired.

Some Fans left bemused about Klopp’s defence of choosing…

Some may argue that there is in fact little to be bemused about, as a back four of Gomez, Virgil Van Dijk, Dejan Lovren and Andy Robertson has now kept two clean sheets in a row. It was understandable that Klopp brought Lovren in for Trent Alexander-Arnold against Man City and moved Gomez to right-back, but when the same back four was announced ahead of the Huddersfield match, there were many unhappy supporters. It’s not that Gomez plays badly at right-back (although he does have the occasional lapse in concentration), as he has played very well there for two matches now. But he is clearly best deployed as a centre-back and the Reds do miss the attacking impetus that Alexander-Arnold provides down the right. In defence of Klopp, having Gomez at full-back did help in dealing with Huddersfield’s physicality and threat from set-pieces, and it’s not like Lovren is performing badly either. Liverpool fans are concerned though that Klopp’s first-choice defence doesn’t contain Alexander-Arnold.

Lallana return adds to midfield puzzle…

Most likely due to his exertions with the Netherlands during the international break, Gini Wijnaldum started the game from the bench, with Adam Lallana given his first Liverpool start since the start of the year. Much debate has occurred on social media this week over the Englishman and how much fans think he still has to offer the Reds. With most noting the lack of a midfield runner so far this season, Lallana did well in this aspect as he was willing to carry the ball, while offering his usual level of technical ability, and Cruyff turns of course. However, with Shaqiri a similar player in some aspects, the pair shouldn’t really be used together in future. Lallana’s return adds another option to Klopp’s midfield, and once Keita returns the German will have more than a handful of options he can utilise in the midfield. Fabinho was finally given his Premier League debut, and given his impressive performance when he came on, he will have hopefully given Klopp enough confidence to start him on a regular basis. Fabinho and Wijnaldum could be likely to start against Red Star on Wednesday, and it is anyone’s guess as to what midfield Klopp prefers at the moment.

Is the attack even ‘out of form’ anymore?…

Hopefully the answer to this is still yes, but it is a question we have asked ourselves after every game this season, and we have continually been let down. All the stats about expected goals and assists and the positions Liverpool’s attackers are taking up suggest they can rediscover their form, but it is now worrying that we could be looking at the current poor level as the level for Liverpool’s attack for the rest of the season. Salah took his goal well and was a threat with his pace, but on the ball he was poor and even the likes of Roberto Firmino were indecisive in crucial attacking areas when he came on. It is painful to watch the Reds get into good attacking areas and continue to either not create a good chance or not score it when it does arrive. Salah had a break-away chance midway through the second half, which if he scored, would have killed the game off. He fired wide though and yet again the Reds were left defending a one-goal lead for long periods. Games against Red Star and Cardiff at Anfield over the next week must see Liverpool score at least three goals in each, otherwise things are well and truly looking bleak for the Reds’ attack.

 

 

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