HUDDERSFIELD TOWN VS LIVERPOOL
| Saturday, October 20th |
Premier League | John Smith’s Stadium
4:30 PM GMT / 5:30 PM BST / 12:30 PM EST
If football were played on paper, Liverpool would easily take maximum points from Huddersfield Town on Saturday. The West Yorkshire side currently sit in the relegation zone with three points from eight Premier League matches. Manager David Wagner is in trouble already this season. His Terriers have conceded 17 goals, scoring only four in the process – none of which have happened at their home ground.
But football can be a tricky enterprise. Liverpool still have to turn those negative stats for Huddersfield into a positive outcome for themselves on the pitch. It won’t be easy because it never is. In fact, Jürgen Klopp has struggled to beat teams in the relegation zone while on the road. Liverpool have only won two of their last nine away matches against teams starting the day in the bottom three.
Injuries will play a part for both squads but Wagner will be the more concerned of the two managers. Huddersfield right back Tommy Smith is unavailable, central defender Terence Kongolo is out with a hamstring problem, and midfielder Danny Williams is still working his way back to full fitness. In addition to those three players, Wager will also be sweating the availability of Isaac Mbenza, Ramadan Sobhi and Phil Billing.
Admittedly, I haven’t watched much of Huddersfield Town this season so I’m unfamiliar with what these players bring to Wagner’s side, but at first glance it’s not great having so many key players out at once with Liverpool rolling into town. Huddersfield’s defense will be weaker than normal on Saturday and Liverpool have the fire power and the cunning to make it a very bad day for Terrier fans.
Projected Liverpool Lineup (4-3-3)
Alisson; Clyne, Gomez, Matip, Robertson; Henderson, Wijnaldum, Fabinho; Sturridge, Firmino, Shaqiri
Jürgen Klopp has his own injury headaches coming out of the international break. Naby Keita is likely to be unavailable for a spell due to a hamstring injury. James Milner is out as well with the same issue. Then, looking over the roster, it’s a few question marks that follow.
Mohamed Salah had a thigh thing while on tour with Egypt but may be available. Virgil van Dijk had been playing with broken ribs for weeks and could be rested but Klopp has claimed the issue is in the past. Adam Lallana is said to have moved passed the groin injury that’s kept him out this season and could be used by Klopp. And Sadio Mané just had surgery on a broken thumb. That one doesn’t feel like it should be a question but somehow I’m not convinced that he won’t be on the bench.
Considering the state of Huddersfield Town and with an eye on Wednesday’s Champions League match against Red Star Belgrade, Klopp might decide to rest his players with questionable readiness for this weekend.
I wouldn’t be surprised to see a team sheet with quite a few players from the squad. Nathaniel Clyne could use the minutes and is still a fine player despite his secondary status behind Trent Alexander-Arnold. Joël Matip has looked good when being called on this season. Fabinho, Fabinho, Fabinho. And I expect Klopp will look to get Sturridge into the front three but could also bring Xherdan Shaqiri into the XI.
Liverpool are still unbeaten in the Premier League, level on 20 points with Manchester City and Chelsea. Klopp’s team has only conceded three goals in eight games, compared with Wagner’s seventeen against in the same span. It’s rare that you might suggest a good time for Liverpool to be nursing a few injuries and even rarer to suggest that that time might be directly following an international break, but going up against a struggling side, with their own injury concerns depleting an already dangerously low confidence bar, might just be that time.
What the Managers Had to Say
Jürgen Klopp: “It will not be an easy game, it will be the opposite. If we do our best, and do what we are good in, it will be difficult for Huddersfield. That is clear.”
David Wagner: “It’s a special game for me personally, there’s no doubt about it, but it is for us as a football club! We face Liverpool – one of the biggest club’s in the world!”
Referee: Michael Oliver Assistants: Stuart Burt, Simon Bennett Fourth official: Simon Hooper
Kickoff is set for 4:30 PM GMT/12:30 PM 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.