On Saturday, a Huddersfield victory would leapfrog David Wagner’s side past Liverpool in the standings and could drop the Reds into the bottom half of the table after ten games. For Liverpool, by any measure, it’s been a dispiriting, disappointing start to the season.
Wagner, though, who is a long-time friend of Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp, doesn’t entirely understand some of the criticisms the club and manager he will be facing on the weekend have been facing given the generally high level of their performances this year.
"I can understand the criticism for the lack of points, but I don't understand the criticism for the performances,” Wagner told Sport Bild. “I don't have a clue what the folks expect. How they create chances, how they defend—you couldn't play the game much better.
“Seriously, they play outstanding football with a lot of possession, pace, and countless high-class chances. Only their shot conversion and the defending of set pieces is not outstanding. Still, the team is top class. They’re a lot of fun and we hope we can minimise that fun."
For a while, perhaps, it would have been easy to nod along. Liverpool have generally played well despite dropping too many points this season. Yet at some point the dropped points become hard to look past, and for many that point came in the embarrassing defeat to Tottenham.
That loss very much wasn’t a good performance, and it stood as a sign of the apparent gulf in class between Liverpool as a top four aspirant this season and the clubs who must now be considered favourites to end up there—a list that does not look to include the Reds.
It was a loss that shifted the narrative from a good Liverpool side struggling to find form and get back into the top four race to a Liverpool side that, even were they to find form, look unequipped for the top four race. Still, perhaps, there is some small hope.
Hope that last week’s loss was a blip, an aberration. But any slim, slight hope that there is for this season won’t survive much longer—it won’t survive many more dropped points. Which will be bad news on Saturday, either for Wagner or for Klopp.