Liverpool don’t get many nights like this. Tonight was a walk in the park. For seventy minutes, Huddersfield had set foot into the Liverpool penalty area only once. They couldn’t believe their luck, a notoriously shaky defence was given a night off as Liverpool disposed of a hapless Huddersfield Town.
Huddersfield played a back five, but their efforts to contain Liverpool’s deadly attack proved fruitless. It only worked to their detriment. Depoitre and Mounie were the only ones who was allowed into Liverpool’s half – but even they were stranded in a sea of red. Huddersfield’s midfield three were far too conservative and offered little to their two strikers and it was the same story for the wing backs. If you are going to get men behind the ball, and play a back five, then at least be effective on the counter-attack. But Liverpool were too strong, fit, and energetic for the beleaguered Terriers.
Early on, you thought Huddersfield may cause Liverpool problems after a long ball forward caught Gomez out of position and sent Lowe off down the left wing. He produced a low-driven cross towards the edge of the penalty area where Depoitre was waiting and he fired the ball low, but Karius made a strong save. It was lazy defending by Liverpool but thankfully for them, they were not called into question again.
The Liverpool defence played a very high line, but they were allowed to because no Huddersfield player bothered putting them under pressure. They invited the pressure onto themselves and were inevitably punished when a cleared header fell towards Emre Can. He stood watched and waited for the ball to drop before firing it towards the bottom left corner. Lossl was slow to react and in retrospect could have saved it. But that is not to understate the quality of the goal as Can could so easily have ballooned it over the bar.
Andrew Robertson had an enjoyable night after getting the better of Hadergjonaj on several occasions. He played the ball towards Mane who held up the ball waiting for support. Jorgensen foolishly followed him, leaving a huge gap behind him for an attacker to run into. That attacker was Firmino. He saw the gap and dashed towards goal before slotting a shot past Lossl from the tighest of angles. The Huddersfield goalkeeper who was guarding his near post should not have been beaten.
In the second half, Huddersfield changed their tactics, this time attempting to close Liverpool down. But with the formation the same, Liverpool’s command on the game only increased. Can, with a goal to his name, played a deep cross to Mane who was unmarked but Lossl made a diving save. Not long later, they did the same again. A deep Can cross to the unmarked Mane, but again he missed the target. Huddersfield didn’t learn. For Liverpool, this game was the closest thing to a training session.
Lossl had a game to forget after being partly responsible for both of Liverpool’s goals. His night nearly got worse after a miscommunication between he and Kongolo left Salah with an open goal, but thankfully he missed the target from a tight angle, albeit at close range.
Liverpool got their third after Billing clumsily barged Can over in the penalty area. Salah slotted the penalty down the middle as the goalkeeper dived to his left. The goal for Salah meant that he has now scored as many goals as the entire Huddersfield team.
With just ten minutes to spare, and three goals down, David Wagner – the Huddersfield manager – decided to bring on two wingers, van La Parra and Tom Ince. It was a belated substitution to say the least. The team was in desperate need of pace and invention. The subs did provide a late spark but it was far too late. It was their seventh game without a win, and are now just one point from the relegation zone. Decisions not to bring on Ince and van La Parra earlier may well come back to bite them at the end of the season, even though this was a game which they were not expected to win
Subs used: Quaner 5, Van La Parra 6, Ince 6
Subs used: Wijnaldum 6, Chamberlain 6, Solanke
Xplode’s Man of the Match – Emre Can