Ben Morgan looks into Saturdays 3-0 Victory over Huddersfield, with some of the positives and negatives from the encounter, which even include some positives from the back!
As mentioned in the previous reviews and reports I have written, when writing them it has seemed like déjà vu, but Saturday was a refreshing display from the Reds. The first half lacked a real spark going forward, with Mo Salah missing a penalty, but on the other hand, the team we comfortable in possession and never let Huddersfield threaten Simon Mignolet in goal. There were goals from Daniel Sturridge, Roberto Firmino and a brilliant strike from Gini Wijnaldum So let’s start with the positives from the game, which saw Jurgen Klopp get one over his best friend David Wagner.
It is nice to be able to write an article and list the positives, rather than just speak about one. Maybe that suggests the improved performance from the team. Many will say it was expected that Liverpool should be beating Huddersfield – which is true, but after Huddersfield win against Manchester United, and a less than creative first half performance, it was the manner of which the Reds turned the game around in the second half, and got back to their near best. It started from the back, Dejan Lovren withdrew from the starting line-up after injuring himself in the warm up, so Ragnar Klavan deputised for him, and both he and Matip were assured in their play and provided a good base for Liverpool to play on. Joe Gomez continued to impress at right back, showing his strength and ability on the ball in a number of occasions. He looks a real talent, and his hard work in pre-season getting himself back to full match fitness, denying loan moves to other clubs, and choosing to stay and fight for his place looks to be paying off. A clean sheet then, a massive positive, and could be a real confidence boost for the Reds. Going forward, Sturridge provided a timely reminder of his performance and ability. The England International has been hampered with injuries for the past few seasons, but produced a brilliant finish on Saturday, brilliantly steering the ball over Jonas Lossl, to give the Reds the lead. It was his 100th career club goal, and his 62nd for the reds, in 130 appearances. He will be hoping to build on this now, and with some of the current injuries, maybe this is his chance to really show Jurgen Klopp that he warrants a place in his side. Another positive is in the form of one of the clubs senior players, James Milner. Milner was at the centre of the record breaking Maribor success, and his tireless display alongside Henderson and Wijnaldum provided the Reds with a constant outlet. He produced a brilliant cross from a corner which fell to Firmino to head in, and made more key passes than anyone on the pitch. It was a performance that is almost typical of James Milner, who really has provided to be a fantastic bit of business, getting him on a free. Gini Wijnaldum rounding of the win with a fantastic strike, take a few touches before firing into the roof of the net, fans will be hoping to see more of that from the Dutch International.
This is normally the section where I would talk about the defence, but not this week. It is hard to pick negatives from a 3-0 win, but, the main negative is the lack of leaders it seems we have in the team. In the first half we needed someone to grab the game by the scruff of its neck and take it to Huddersfield. There were far too many side wards and backwards passes from Klopp’s men, as they looked to control the game and nullify Huddersfield. More is needed from captain Jordan Henderson, the captain is a very good passer of the ball, but he will be the first to admit he needs to chip in as well. Klopp needs to establish a penalty taker also. With James Milner on the pitch, often so consistent from the spot, it was strange to see Mo Salah who stepped up and took the penalty. Klopp should be keeping faith with those who have proved they are able to deal with the pressure from the 12 yard spot.
What the Manager thought:
Jurgen Klopp was in a very enthusiastic mood, asked what he thought of Sturridge’s opening goal he said: “I don’t think the first gal was lucky because we forced it. We were in the right positions and played the right pass”. He then went on to saying: “The second goal, usually when you hear Liverpool and a goal from a set-piece it’s the other way round, but today we scored one. Third goal, fantastic, it was nice play from Wijnaldum, so there a lot of good things today, especially the reaction in the second half, which was outstanding. The boys really deserved that. We needed it and now we have it”.
What next for Liverpool?
Next for Liverpool is a home game against Maribor, in the Champions League, tomorrow night. The Reds beat tomorrow night’s visitors 7-0 in the reverse fixtures, and will be hoping for another big win and clean sheet tomorrow. If the Reds win, then they will give themselves a fantastic chance of getting out of the group stages and through to the Knockout stages.
The fans will be expecting a win from the side, and will be hoping that Saturdays win, can prove to be the catalyst for the side going forward.