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Huddersfield 0, Liverpool 2: Reds Slog Their Way to Fourth Straight Win

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Liverpool come out on top in a messy match marred by fouls, injuries and sloppy play.

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Huddersfield 0
Liverpool 2 Grujic 30', Moreno (PEN) 89'

Jürgen Klopp rolled out a mix of young and old in the familiar 4-2-3-1 formation, with Loris Karius protected by a backline of Connor Randall, Lucas Leiva, Dejan Lovren and Alberto Moreno. Kevin Stewart and Marko Grujic made up the double pivot, while Sadio Mané, Ovie Ejaria and Philippe Coutinho supported lone striker Roberto Firmino.

The first fifteen minutes played out like a training exercise, with Huddersfield playing the ball out from the back as red shirts close down incessantly, at times committing six or seven players to an extremely aggressive press. This approach led to a great deal of nearly moments, but failed to produce genuine chances or much in the way of shots on target.

Despite the ramblings of commentator Jason McAteer, Firmino dropping as deep as he did was not random, and not a problem, but rather a part of the plan, and it looked like it on fifteen minutes, as he pulled a defender with him, allowing Mané to burst onto a Grujic through ball beyond the Brazilian. The Senegalese winger cut inside and hooked a left-footed effort wide of the near post, but at least there were clear outlines of a plan. Two minutes later, the pressing should've paid off, as Mané used his greased lightning speed to beat Huddersfield goalkeeper Joel Coleman to a sloppy backpass, but his goal was wrongly disallowed for a foul that didn't take place.

On the other end of the pitch, Joe Lolley stung the palms of Karius from 18 yards, as the German goalkeeper was given his first proper test of pre-season, one he passed with flying colours.

On thirty minutes, the Reds took the lead, and it was big Marko Grujic who scored in his second game for the club. Mané released Firmino down the right after a quick break, and the Brazilian chipped the ball to the edge of the box. Grujic first touch wasn't great, but his left-footed swing at the ball provided just enough power and curve to evade the goalkeeper and drive home at the near post. Two minutes later, another quick break saw Coutinho and Firmino combine to release Mané. Again his pace allowed him to get the better of Coleman, as the goalkeeper brought him down in the box. A clear red card that was merely awaraded a yellow because pre-season. Coutinho stepped up, and made it 0 for 2 in pre-season penalty conversions, following Danny Ings' tame effort last week.

There was time for one more Liverpool counter before the break, this time from Randall, as he broke up a play and burst down the right side. His cutback for Mané was followed by some fancy footwork, before the former Southampton man put his shot wide, identical to the one he missed earlier in the half.

Liverpool made six changes after the interval, bringing on Ben Woodburn, Lazar Markovic, Andre Wisdom, Danny Ings, Ryan Kent and Trent Alexander-Arnold, switching to a fairly flat 4-4-2 formation. With the exception of tackles becoming increasingly chippy and a terrific Alexander-Arnold cross being punched away by Coleman just ahead of Ings, nothing much happened before the hour mark, at which point Lucas pulled up with a hamstring injury. Three matches - or twelve days, if you will - into pre-season. Having used all six of their outfield substitutes, Klopp and his assistants decided to bring on 18-year old goalkeeper Shamal George to play striker, while Wooburn dropped into central midfield.

Unsurprisingly, this didn't improve the quality of what was already becoming a bit of a feisty slog. George was correctly called offside and Kyle Dempsey drilled a 25-yard shot inches wide of Karius' far post, and that was about it, right up until Kent decided to absolutely torch his man and get brought down in the box. While fans shouted for George to take the penalty, Alberto Moreno stepped up and rolled it into the corner, to a chorus of boos from the stands.

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While it started fast and furious, and the Reds should've been three up by half time, the second half of this match was clearly marked by players with heavy legs having done a lot of work recently. Sloppy passing, late challenges and misunderstandings were the order of the final forty-five. A hamstring injury this early in the year is also an alarm bell, and something Klopp and new fitness man Andreas Kornmayer need to make notice of.

Beyond that, Mané looks absolutely lethal and a great foil for the playmakers around him, Marko Grujic is probably getting people Emre Can-type hyped with his mature play and physical presence, and Loris Karius' saves are as pretty as his Instagram pictures. A full week of traveling and training now awaits before Liverpool kick off their US tour against Chelsea in Pasadena next Wednesday.