27 October 2017

Liverpool v Huddersfield 10.28.17

10am ET, live in the US on CNBC

Last four head-to-head:
2-0 Liverpool (a; FA Cup) 12.12.99
1-0 Liverpool (a) 02.12.72
2-0 Liverpool (h) 10.23.71
0-0 (a) 12.19.70

Last three matches:
Liverpool: 1-4 Tottenham (a); 7-0 Maribor (a); 0-0 United (h)
Huddersfield: 2-1 United (h); 0-2 Swansea (a); 0-4 Tottenham (h)

Goalscorers (league):
Liverpool: Salah 5; Mané 3; Coutinho, Firmino 2; Henderson, Sturridge 1
Huddersfield: Depoitre, Mooy, Mounie 2

Referee: Kevin Friend (LFC History) (WhoScored)

Guess at a line-up:
Trent A-A Gomez Matip Moreno
Wijnaldum Henderson Can
Salah Firmino Alex O-C

So, how mad is everyone going to be when the Liverpool XI isn't that much different to last weekend's?

Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe Klopp blows everything up. But we've rarely since this manager reactionary.

Coutinho is probably out with an adductor injury, which means that either Firmino will play on the left with Sturridge central or Oxlade-Chamberlain makes his first Liverpool league start. Lovren almost certainly should be taken out of the firing line, which means either Gomez or Klavan at center-back; if it's Gomez, that means both Gomez and Alexander-Arnold start, and Klopp's been reticent to do that, rotating both in Clyne's absence. Unless Milner or Can play at right-back.

But maybe Lovren keeps his place; it wouldn't be the most surprising decision we've seen. But Mignolet's probably keeping his place, with Karius to continue as Champions League keeper and Ward out with a back injury. But Henderson's probably keeping his place, rather than Can as the deepest midfielder bracketed by two from Wijnaldum, Milner, and Oxlade-Chamberlain. But we're probably not going to see a complete formation change, whether 4-2-3-1 with Firmino in the hole or three-at-the-back or a midfield diamond.

But Jürgen Klopp – rightly or wrongly – has faith in his methods and his players and will do all he can to make it right within what he believes is the best system with the best available players. And all we can do is hope that he's right.

I admittedly know less about this Huddersfield side than any other in the division. Yes, David Wagner is Klopp's best friend. Yes, there are similarities in playing style. Huddersfield are compact. They're decent at pressing, at stealing the ball, at forcing mistakes – as in both goals against Manchester United last weekend. The first came when Mooy dispossessed Mata and countered. The second came when Lindelof erred on a goal kick and Depoitre took advantage. Both of those goals should make Liverpool nervous. That win over United was, by far, their most impressive performance of the season; only the surprising 3-0 opening day win at Crystal Palace is even in the discussion, a win made to look less impressive by what Palace have done since.

Huddersfield usually play 4-2-3-1, and if it's the same XI as against Manchester United – and I've no reason to suspect otherwise – it'll be Lossi; Smith, Zanka, Schindler, Löwe; Hogg, Williams; Kachunga, Mooy, Ince; Depoitre. Mooy can play deeper in midfield if need be. Maybe Mounie comes back into the side, returning from injury as a substitute against United, but Depoitre's done well in his absence. Kachunga's questionable with a back injury, and if he can't start, it'll probably be Rajiv van la Parra.

Even with all the Klopp v Wagner narratives, once again, it seems less about what the opposition can or will do, and more about what Liverpool does or doesn't.

We've said it too often this season already, and it's not even November. It almost doesn't matter who plays – although that's obviously not entirely true. But we know this squad is capable of better than we've seen for the majority of this season, regardless of injuries, regardless of starting XI. We know they're vastly better than what we saw last Sunday, even (and especially) the most egregious scapegoats.

Response. Needed. Now.

1 comment :

Georger said...

"But Jürgen Klopp – rightly or wrongly – has faith in his methods and his players"