Talking Points: Liverpool 5 Huddersfield Town 0

Braces from Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane helped Liverpool go to town on Huddersfield in an impressive 5-0 thrashing of the Terriers at Anfield on Friday night. Naby Keita gave the Reds the lead after just 15 seconds, and the win once again sees Jürgen Klopp’s side go back to the top of the Premier League ahead of Manchester City’s next fixture.

Keita’s form continues to grow…

After every game now I seem to be mentioning how well Keita played and how much he is improving, but his performance against Huddersfield was definitely his best in a Liverpool shirt so far. Despite his very early and well-taken goal, it wasn’t actually the attacking side of Keita’s game that saw his best moments. The goal was still great to see, and the midfielder now has three in his last five starts in all competitions, but it was the defensive side of his game that was most pleasing. Against Southampton Keita played well but there were a few moments where he wasn’t positionally aware enough of his surroundings. But in recent weeks his defensive ability has improved leaps and bounds, and without being racist, you could have easily thought you were watching N’Golo Kante on Friday night. Keita was everywhere and a massive thorn in Huddersfield’s side whenever they tried to launch attacks. Four tackles and six recoveries highlighted Keita’s ability to win the ball back, with his most important interception stopping Steve Mounie as he beared down on Liverpool’s goal. Keita again shows why all Klopp’s signings need to be given a whole season before reaching conclusions as most, including Keita, soon find their feet and start producing the goods. Dread it, run from it, Keita arrives.

Fullbacks create havoc and goals but will one miss out on Wednesday?…

Andy Robertson equalling the PL record for most assists by a defender in a single season pretty much epitomises how vital him and Trent Alexander-Arnold are to Liverpool’s system. The pair picked up clean sheets and assists, Robertson two and Trent one, in the match and as many teams have found this season, keeping the duo quiet is no easy task. The deliveries for all of the three assists were inch-perfect, but that is the standard Liverpool fans have come to expect from them this campaign. Defensively though was where their performances were different, with Robertson solid as usual but Alexander-Arnold, as he has been a couple of times recently, was shaky in moments. This factor begs the question of whether Trent will start against Barcelona on Wednesday, as although he is key to the Reds’ attacking play, being away in the first-leg and an overlapping Jordi Alba on that side may lead to Klopp taking a more conservative approach. This would see either James Milner or Joe Gomez play at right-back, a decision which most fans would see the sense in.

Important minutes for fringe players and a returning favourite…

It was expected that Klopp might opt to rest a couple of his players ahead of the trip to Spain, though one change to his starting line-up was forced due to Roberto Firmino picking up a slight strain. Daniel Sturridge took his place, while Dejan Lovren came in for Joel Matip. Lovren getting minutes make sense as despite Matip’s fabulous form, if he were suddenly to become unavailable then Liverpool would need a replacement with recent minutes in their legs. Lovren played fairly well again with some important tackles at certain stages. Sturridge wasn’t quite at the races though, and was too often guilty of slowing down and wasting attacks – perhaps the knowledge that it was likely his last start for Liverpool being on his mind. Klopp’s first two substitutions saw the forgotten Xherdan Shaqiri enter proceedings and the eagerly-anticipated return of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. The Ox received and fantastic reception when he came on and was very nearly celebrating what Klopp said would have been their “goal of the season” when he burst into the penalty area and cut inside before incorrectly deciding to aim for the near-post rather than the far corner. He looked sharp though and has not lost any of the buzz he generates when he gets on the ball.

Salah and Mane need no PFA recognition, they are world class…

This week saw the PFA team of the year named, with Mane featuring in the attack but Salah nowhere to be seen. The Egyptian’s sensational debut season for the Reds has led to him receiving completely underserved criticism this term, and has actually made him a severely underrated player. While Salah’s snub from the TOTY might hurt, it certainly won’t phase him and clearly didn’t as he and his partner in crime Mane both grabbed braces. Mane’s heading ability actually seems to be one of his best attributes and it proved so as he headed in both of his goals and nearly a third but for the post. Salah meanwhile set up Keita for his goal before delicately chipping Jonas Lossl and tapping home Robertson’s cross late on. The goals put Salah in first and Mane in second in the race for the Golden Boot, and both will hope to add to their tallies in the last two league fixtures. Aside from their goal involvements, Huddersfield simply couldn’t live with Mane and Salah’s pace, running and movement. Eden Hazard, Heung-Min Son, Raheem Sterling. Meh, we’ll stick with our African speedsters thanks.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this:
Skip to toolbar