Liverpool vs Huddersfield
| Friday, April 26th |
Premier League | Anfield
8PM BST / 3PM EST
With Manchester United predictably rolling over to their local rivals on Wednesday, Liverpool will need to win yet again to retake first place in the Premier League, and — on paper, at least — tomorrow’s opposition shouldn’t be able to prevent them.
Things weren’t great at Huddersfield under David Wagner this year, but at least the noted Jürgen Klopp buddy was able to accumulate points on occasion. Since replacing the German with Jan Siewert in January, the Terriers have lost 12 of their 13 matches — a spectacular 9-point pace over a full season — conceding four or more goals in a third of them.
Relegation was mathematically assured with six games to go, and there is little evidence the Yorkshire club have neither the ability nor the motivation to put up much of a fight as they wait for their season to come to an end.
On the bright side, Siewert can call on every one of his senior players, with no-one missing through injury or suspension, and January arrival Karlan Grant looks to have been a shrewd purchase, as the 21-year has directly contributed to five of the club’s seven goals under the new manager, scoring four and assisting one.
Projected Liverpool Lineup (4-3-3)
Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Van Dijk, Robertson; Henderson, Keïta, Shaqiri, Origi; Firmino; Mané
If ever there was a game for Jürgen Klopp to rest some key players before the season run-in, this is it. The manager was notably reserved with his fullbacks against Cardiff on Sunday, seemingly attempting to avoid putting too much mileage on the legs of Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andrew Robertson, but odds are the two Team of the Year selectees will be on the pitch tomorrow as well.
Dejan Lovren is reportedly fit again, and could spell Joël Matip, while matchday decisions will be made regarding Fabinho and Adam Lallana, with the midfielders recovering from a concussion and a muscular issue, respectively. Depending on which trio Klopp prefers for the clash with Barcelona next Wednesday, a combination of Naby Keïta, Jordan Henderson, James Milner and Georginio Wijnaldum will feature in midfield.
Mohamed Salah is reportedly fit and ready to go having returned from his awards ceremony in New York on Wednesday, but with the Egyptian rapidly closing in on 4.000 minutes played this season, a surprise start for Divock Origi could be on the cards. Similarly, Xherdan Shaqiri — who assisted the winner when the two sides met back in October — might be in line for his first start since January.
What the Managers Said
Jürgen Klopp: “We are one point behind City, and we knew for a long time that if we win our next two games, the decision will be made on the last matchday, and that’s pretty special. But for that we have to win the next two games - which is difficult enough. First of all we have to play the next one against Huddersfield, and that’s what we are concentrated on now.”
Jan Siewert: “It’s obvious that we won’t have the most possession in this game because Liverpool have a lot of quality. We need to take our chances to break through the lines.”
Referee: Kevin Friend
Assistant referees: Constantine Hatzidakis, Matthew Wilkes
Fourth official: Paul Tierney
Kickoff is set for 8PM GMT/3PM EST tomorrow, and television listings for the match can be found on LiveSoccerTV.
In the meantime, and as always, we’ll be keeping you updated with all the buildup to the game, including team news as it’s released, our live matchday thread, and post-match recaps from The Liverpool Offside staff. If you want to join the discussion, sign up for an SB Nation account to have your say on the action as it happens.