A wretched international break filled with injuries is over. For the Liverpool players, it’s time to get back on the road, as they get ready to travel to Huddersfield for the late kick-off on Saturday.
Huddersfield are winless in the Premier League, having only managed three draws from their eight games, and against a Liverpool side that hasn’t conceded in the league at Anfield since February, there could be few bigger tests for David Wagner’s side.
For the Reds, injuries or niggles to Virgil van Dijk, Sadio Mane, Mo Salah and Naby Keita have soured the international break, but it is expected that most, if not all, of them will be fit for this game. “Jurgen loves his smokescreens,” said David Wagner, as he expected to face a full-strength Liverpool. If Wagner is right about the smokescreens, there will be sighs of relief heaved in Liverpool fandom.
Here are the key individual duels to look forward to from the game.MO SALAH v CHRIS LÖWE
Whatever anyone says about Salahs season so far, one unanimously accepted truth is that Salah has got to be doing better. He hasn’t exactly been poor in most games he’s played, but he’s not reached the heights that everyone knows he can. Even without comparing him against his own high standards, there is room for improvement.
On Saturday evening, he will be up against Löwe, who has played for Klopp during his time at Dortmund. The German has already shown multiple times during Huddersfield’s time in the Premier League that he can be susceptible to raw pace, and the ‘King of Egypt’ has got plenty of that to burn.
Salah has been getting into goal-scoring positions for the most part of this season. It is his zen-like composure from the back-end of last season that has deserted him. The underlying attacking numbers are still strong for Salah, so there isn’t cause for panic just yet. There’s cause for displeasure about his performance thus far, but not for panic. Like the rest of the attacking part of the side, Salah has not hit the heights we know he is capable of.
Even apart from Löwe, none of the other Huddersfield defenders are particularly blessed in terms of pace, so it could be a good afternoon for him. Whoever starts on the left wing for Wagner will have to help Löwe, and double up against Salah. Who that man will be could be a very interesting point to ponder for the Terriers.VIRGIL VAN DIJK v LAURENT DEPOITRE
Over the course of the international break, much conjecture has revolved around the health of Liverpool’s Dutch colossus. He had to be dropped out of the Dutch squad for their friendly against Belgium on Tuesday, but coach Ronald Koeman’s comments during the week were a little bit alarming. Koeman said that Van Dijk had been taking injections for weeks to enable him to play with two broken ribs.
He will be back on Sunday, though, if indications are to be believed, and for Depoitre, it will be the toughest test he faces in the league. Nobody gets any change out of Van Dijk in aerial duels, but that is Depoitre’s biggest strength. He’s not the quickest across the tough, he can’t beat his man with a piece of skill on the ball. So he has to rely on his strength and ability in the air to get the better of defenders.
He’s not going to get anything out of trying to out-muscle Van Dijk or beat him in the air. He would even be better served to try and attack through the Liverpool right, against either Joe Gomez or Dejan Lovren.
Van Dijk, though, will have to contend with his own body first. If the Dutchman is anywhere close to his fittest, Depoitre should be a cakewalk for him to deal with.ROBERTO FIRMINO v MATIAS JORGENSEN
“Roberto Firmino, world class. Everyday,” thundered Jurgen Klopp sometime last season. That has not been true in this campaign though, as the Brazilian has misfired more often than he has been influential in proceedings for the Reds.
It has been a weird start to the season from an attacking perspective, even though Liverpool have seven wins from 11 games so far. Firmino’s anonymity in some of those games could easily be tagged as the reason why Klopp’s men weren’t as big an attacking force as they’d have liked to be.
The unit that is the front three needs to start clicking, but they have been off the boil individually as well. Firmino’s decision-making has been shoddy, at best and he has taken far too much time on the ball before releasing it, by which team he has made things difficult for himself.
Firmino also needs more from the midfielders, in terms of getting closer to him. Gini Wijnaldum or Naby Keita need to start grabbing games by the scruff of the neck, and dragging teams into their own final third, so that in the congestion, Firmino’s intelligence can add value.
For Jorgensen, the task on Saturday is simple. Stay close to Firmino, and don’t allow him to turn with the ball in dangerous areas. If Firmino is doing that, that’s a sign that Liverpool are playing really well.Thefootballfaithful.com Below Article
Liverpool will check on the fitness of several players ahead of Saturday's Premier League clash with Huddersfield Town.
Naby Keita is not expected to be involved at John Smith’s Stadium with Jürgen Klopp ‘pretty sure’ the midfielder is unavailable due to a hamstring strain picked up on international duty.
Sadio Mane underwent successful surgery on a hand injury earlier this week and there have been fitness concerns over James Milner, Mohamed Salah and Virgil van Dijk.
Asked for the latest update at his pre-match press conference on Friday, Klopp said: “We had a session yesterday and a few of the boys trained, so we’ll have to see how they’ve reacted after that.”
On the rib injury that had previously troubled Van Dijk, who played only the first of Netherlands’ two matches during the international break, the manager commented: “It settled pretty quickly.
“Football players have to play very often with some kind of pain, that’s how it is. What it is exactly is not too important. It’s all good. He has no problems with that anymore.”
Fabinho is ‘close’ to his first Premier League start for the club according to Klopp, who has been boosted by the availability of Adam Lallana again.
“Training looks tremendous,” the boss told Liverpoolfc.com of Lallana.
“We still want to be careful – not too careful but, of course, careful [so] that we reach the point where we don’t have to think about it anymore. But he is 100 per cent back.”
Huddersfield will definitely be without Tommy Smith (groin), Terence Kongolo (hamstring) and Danny Williams (knee), manager David Wagner confirmed at his pre-match press conference.
Elsewhere, Isaac Mbenza’s knee issue will be assessed, while Wagner will make a late decision on whether to include the returning Ramadan Sobhi in his squad after six weeks out.
The Terriers boss expects Philip Billing to be available for the game in Yorkshire, however, revealing ‘all the signs are positive’.
The match marks the third competitive meeting in English football between close friends Klopp and Wagner, with the Reds having won both fixtures last season 3-0.
“It’s a great game, it’s a game I really look forward to, it’s a game when the fixtures came out I had an eye on,” said the latter.
“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 clubs in the world.”
Last time out
Burnley v Huddersfield Town, October 6: Lossl, Lowe, Zanka, Schindler, Durm, Billing, Hogg, Mooy, Van La Parra, Pritchard, Depoitre.
Liverpool v Manchester City, October 7: Alisson, Gomez, Van Dijk, Lovren, Robertson, Henderson, Wijnaldum, Milner, Mane, Salah, Firmino.
We round up the latest Liverpool news and transfer rumours on Friday, on the eve of the Reds’ Premier League clash with Huddersfield Town.
Jurgen Klopp comes up against his close friend David Wagner on Saturday evening, with the latter’s Huddersfield side tipped for relegation this season.
Klopp is not taking Liverpool’s opponents for granted, however, describing the fixture to LiverpoolFC.com as a potential “trap” for his team:
“I watch them more because I want to see how David is doing.
“It’s a typical football thing—I heard a few people talking about Huddersfield: ‘Not good enough here, not good enough there, they have to score more.’
“They play proper football, they are difficult to catch. They play different systems. So far it was unlucky. This game is a trap, a 100 percent trap.”
In many ways, this is the Reds’ ‘easiest’ game for a while, following a tough run before the international break, but underestimating the Terriers would be a grave error.Sturridge “Feeling Great” Ahead of Upcoming Run
Daniel Sturridge has made a pleasing start to the season, scoring four goals and looking fitter than he has in a long time.
Speaking to LiverpoolFC.com, the striker says he feels “amazing” ahead of another busy run of fixtures, during which time he is expected to earn his fair share of playing time:
“I’m feeling great [and am] looking forward to contributing to the team.
“I’m feeling amazing so I can’t really complain, I can have no complaints. I’m just excited for the next month coming up and hopefully we can get some good results in that month.
“Whatever the manager feels is best for the team [is best]. Whoever’s the right players to play, [we] will push ourselves to the limit.
“We’ve got a great squad so you’ve just got to be ready to give your all, give your everything, to push yourself to the limit.”
Sturridge will be pushing for a start at the John Smith’s Stadium this weekend, although much could rest on whether or not Sadio Mane misses out through injury.Liverpool Back in for Chilwell?
Before Liverpool signed Andy Robertson in the summer of 2017, Ben Chilwell was the man Klopp was tracking as his potential new first-choice left-back.
With Alberto Moreno set to leave at the end of the season a new left-back may be required, even though youngster Adam Lewis could be drafted into the first-team squad.
The biggest stumbling block over a move for Chilwell is whether he is happy possibly playing second fiddle to Robertson, considering his current standing in the game.
Rotation could ensure that both are used fairly regularly, but Chilwell will believe he should be starting matches every week now.
According to the Telegraph, 21-year-old is in fact set to sign an improved deal with Leicester.Markovic’s Attitude Praised by Critchley
Lazar Markovic‘s Liverpool career has been one of huge disappointment, having failed to come close to reaching his potential.
The Serb is currently training with the Reds’ U23s and boss Neil Critchley has lauded his attitude, saying he hopes he will eventually progress in his career.
“Lazar has been training with us for a while now and I’ve got to say he’s been brilliant to work with,” Critchley told the Liverpool Echo.
“We’ve enjoyed having him around and he’s been great with the young lads.
“He’s humble, he listens to what’s asked of him and he’s been professional. He gets on well with the other players. He played as a centre-forward against Arsenal and on the right wing against West Brom.
“We don’t know how long he will be with us. Eventually, I’m sure his career will go on a different path but while he’s here we want everyone to benefit.”
Markovic failed to secure a deadline-day move to Anderlecht in the summer, but will be available again in January after having been left out of Klopp’s Premier League squad.Kent Discusses “Recreating” Himself at Rangers
Few Rangers players have caught the eye more than Ryan Kent this season, with the youngster thriving under Steven Gerrard at Ibrox.
In an interview with the Herald, Kent spoke about going up a gear as a footballer and moving on from disappointing spells at Freiburg and Bristol City last season:
“I think, more than anything, I have got a point to prove to myself.
“I will always be my No. 1 critic. For me, this season is all about finding myself again and recreating myself as a footballer.
“After last years’ disappointment, it has been a great start to the season for myself, and the club as well.”
Kent has scored twice so far in 2018/19, but it his all-round impact that has caught the eye, with the 21-year-old a key attacking presence as Rangers look to thrive in both the Scottish Premiership and the Europa League.
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has again voiced his opposition to the Nations League, arguing there is no room for it in the calendar.
The Reds boss likened the new competition to world heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua fighting week after week, or watching opera every night instead of savouring it every couple of months.
However, the German admitted he may as well complain to his coffee machine as no one wanted to hear his views.
“It’s too much in that competition: ‘Proper games, real opponents, it is better than having any friendlies’,” he said.
“That’s all good but you don’t want to see Joshua fighting every second night, it’s not possible. This week he fights in Leeds, next week he fights in Manchester and no-one asked for it.
“Only in football everyone seems to be interested in now having only big competitions where you can get promoted or relegated.
“Do we want to have opera every night or every two months? I like competition, of course, but at one point someone has to step back and think ‘OK, wait, wait, wait. They are players who play’.
“If they don’t perform I am angry, so how can we make sure they perform? That’s all I wanted to say.
“The Nations League itself is a good idea—do it in another sport because in football there is no space for it.
“I realise already I could have told my coffee machine because no-one is really interested but it is still my opinion.
“We only have highlights now, ‘highlight, highlight, highlight’. Where is the rest? When can we have normal things?”
International football, although not the Nations League, saw three of his players return home injured.
Of the three, Guinea international Keita—who was carried off the artificial pitch in Rwanda on the back of a team-mate on Tuesday—is the only one who will definitely miss the trip to Huddersfield.
Defender Virgil van Dijk’s rib problem, which he had before playing for Holland, will not keep him out, however.
“We’re pretty sure that Naby will not be available. With all the rest, we have to see how it develops,” added Klopp, who said he had no issue with the pitch or the method of Keita’s departure from it.
“I don’t think it is a problem to carry someone on your back; there is a very famous picture from 1974 when a Brazilian player got carried off in the World Cup in Germany. I will not forget that picture because it was nice.
“Do I think it is fair to play the same game on different surfaces? I say yes. It rains, it snows, whatever, it is absolutely OK, but artificial surfaces are not a surface for football.
“I don’t think the injury had anything to do with that. I didn’t even see it, I only saw the situation when he went off and I didn’t look at the grass in that moment.
“In general with African teams, we should make sure each thing we can do to make sure everyone gets the right treatment at the moment they need it.”
Midfielder Adam Lallana is set to return to the squad for the first time since September 1 after fully recovering from a groin problem.
“Hopefully no one forgot how good he was before his little injury. He is a proper option again,” said Klopp.
“He will play first-team football for Liverpool again and that is the best news. When it will start we will see.”
Last Updated: 19/10/18 3:35pmNaby Keita will not feature for Liverpool at the John Smith's Stadium
Naby Keita will not feature for Liverpool as Jurgen Klopp faces close friend David Wagner's Huddersfield in the Premier League on Saturday.
The Guinea midfielder was taken off in the first half of his country's trip to Rwanda in the Africa Nations Cup qualifier on Tuesday and Klopp confirmed he had picked up a hamstring injury.
The Reds manager is also backing Wagner to succeed at Huddersfield despite their poor start to the season, and called another potential survival of relegation a 'third miracle'.
"This year it's a stronger side and stronger football. I speak to Dave [Wagner] most weekends and I think the club is brilliant," Klopp said.1:56 A preview of this weekend's Premier League games, including Chelsea v Manchester United at Stamford Bridge and Leicester's trip to Arsenal A preview of this weekend's Premier League games, including Chelsea v Manchester United at Stamford Bridge and Leicester's trip to Arsenal
"There is no reason to be worried about Dave's situation at Huddersfield. This year if he stays in the league he has a hat-trick of miracles."
Wagner also called Saturday's game "special", but said his side are focused on the challenge at hand against a Liverpool team who are unbeaten in the Premier League.
"It's a game I always look forward to," he said. "It's a special game, for me and this football club. We play Liverpool, one of the biggest clubs in the Premier League at our stadium. We will invest everything and we aim to deliver something extraordinary.Jurgen Klopp and David Wagner are firm friends, having coached together in Germany
"We are focused and we will try to prepare the team as well as we can. All together we have to show the passion and desire to be ready for this challenge."Team news
Elsewhere for Liverpool, Mohamed Salah (hamstring) and Sadio Mane (broken thumb) are still in contention despite arriving back at Melwood with fitness issues.
Virgil van Dijk will continue to play with a rib problem, James Milner could feature despite a hamstring injury sustained just before the international break while Adam Lallana is set to feature in the squad for the first time since September 1.Virgil van Dijk will be monitored ahead of the game
Philip Billing is hoping to prove his fitness in time for Huddersfield after sustaining an ankle injury while on international duty with Denmark U21s, but has returned to full training and will be monitored.
Isaac Mbenza (knee) will also be assessed, while club captain Tommy Smith (groin), Terence Kongolo (hamstring) and Danny Williams (knee) are out.Opta stats
Huddersfield lost both Premier League meetings 3-0 against Liverpool last season, in what were their first league meetings with the Reds since the 1971-72 campaign.
Liverpool are unbeaten in 12 matches in all competitions against Huddersfield (W9 D3 L0) and haven't conceded a single goal in any of their last seven against the Terriers.2:59 Highlights from Liverpool's goalless draw against Manchester City in the Premier League Highlights from Liverpool's goalless draw against Manchester City in the Premier League
Huddersfield have failed to score in any of their four Premier League home games this season - only Everton in 1998-99 have failed to score in any of their first five at home at the start of a Premier League campaign.
Under Jurgen Klopp, Liverpool have lost five of their nine away Premier League games against teams starting the day in the relegation zone (P9 W2 D2 L5) and won none of their last six (W0 D2 L4) since a 6-0 victory at Aston Villa in February 2016.
Liverpool have lost just one of their last 16 Premier League games (W10 D5) and are unbeaten in their last nine (W7 D2 L0).2:57 Highlights from Burnley's draw against Huddersfield in the Premier League Highlights from Burnley's draw against Huddersfield in the Premier League
Huddersfield have fired in a league-low 20 shots on target in the Premier League this season, while only Man City (16) have faced fewer shots on target than Liverpool (21).
Liverpool's Daniel Sturridge has already hit more goals in nine appearances in all competitions this season (4), than he did in 20 last term for Liverpool and West Brom combined (3).Merson's predictions
There are a few injury problems for Liverpool to deal with heading to Huddersfield. Jurgen Klopp gets his side playing at such a high tempo and they play pretty much the same team every week so they are always likely to pick up injuries.
They have and it seems they have all come at the same time. However, I still think they'll have too much for Huddersfield. If you are going to have injuries this is the perfect game to have them. You don't want to be playing Manchester United or Chelsea away with an injury crisis.
Liverpool will be too strong for Huddersfield. I just don't see David Wagner's side scoring and that's their problem.
PAUL PREDICTS: 0-3 (7/1 with Sky Bet)Play Super 6
Predict 6 correct scores for your chance to win Jeff's £1 million.
Last Updated: 19/10/18 3:56pmA late decision will be made on the fitness of Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane
Jurgen Klopp says Liverpool are waiting on the fitness of Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane ahead of Saturday's clash with Huddersfield.
The attacking duo were expected to be doubts for the trip to west Yorkshire, but resumed first-team training this week.
"We had yesterday's session and a few of the boys trained, we'll have to see how they react," said Klopp.
"The only thing we are pretty sure is that Naby [Keita] will not be available with all the rest, we have to see how it develops, that's it pretty much."
One player who looks ready to resume domestic action for Liverpool is Virgil van Dijk, who Klopp confirmed is in good condition.
The £75million defender missed the Netherlands' friendly with Belgium, leading manager Ronald Koeman to suggest he had been playing with broken ribs.0:55 Jurgen Klopp has confirmed defender Virgil van Dijk has 'no problems' Jurgen Klopp has confirmed defender Virgil van Dijk has 'no problems'
Klopp would not be drawn on the issue, but acknowledged his star defender had "major problems" he has had to play through.
"You saw when he went off, everybody saw when he went off [against Southampton] that Virgil would not leave pitch without any major problems.
"It's settled pretty quickly but that's how it is. Football players have to play very often with some kind of pain. But it's not too important.
"It's all good, he has no problems with that any more."Win Jeff's £1MIL
Predict 6 correct scores for your chance to win Jeff's £1 million.
The Reds ended their difficult run of seven games in 23 days with a hard-fought 0-0 draw with Man City, with Riyad Mahrez’s late penalty miss a big let-off.
After heading off for the October international break, Klopp’s squad returned with a host of fitness concerns, not least a hamstring injury for Naby Keita.
But the disparity between league leaders City and relegation candidates Huddersfield highlights a difference in challenge for Liverpool, as they aim for a return to winning ways.
Speaking at Melwood on Friday afternoon, however, Klopp insisted the Terriers should not be considered an easy target.
“They had more possession against Tottenham, maybe people aren’t interested in that but that’s a big step,” he told reporters.
“They stayed in the league last year and this year it’s the strongest side and best football they’ve played so far.
“I speak with Dave a lot, the atmosphere in the club is still brilliant, we need to be ready for a really tough game.
“They defend in different systems, play football and so far they struggle scoring goals, but that’s so far. We have to at least think it’s possible that will change.
“We had yesterday and today and tomorrow we need to be ready, that’s the job.”
“We had yesterday’s session, where a few of the boys trained. We have to see how they reacted after that,” he said.
Trent Alexander-Arnold, Fabinho and Adam Lallana were also on the agenda as Liverpool head into the weekend looking to keep up the pace with both City and Chelsea—all of which are unbeaten after eight games.
On-loan Liverpool winger Harry Wilson has won the Carabao Cup Player of the Round award.
The 21-year-old helped Derby County claim a memorable victory over Manchester United at Old Trafford in the third round.
He scored with a sensational free-kick during the 2-2 draw and converted from 12 yards in the subsequent penalty shootout that the Rams eventually won 8-7.
Fabinho must continue to 'close the gap' on his teammates as he competes for a starting place at Liverpool, explained Jürgen Klopp.
The Brazil international has made three appearances in all competitions for the Reds since signing from AS Monaco in the summer but awaits a first chance to begin a game in the Premier League this season.
Ahead of Saturday’s resumption of domestic football with a trip to Huddersfield Town, the manager was asked for an update on Fabinho’s potential opportunities.
“[He is] close,” replied Klopp at his pre-match press conference.
“I didn’t see him for 10 days so that’s not the best thing to judge exactly how he is. But he is very close, he is never far away.
“We spoke about it that he needs to get used to different things – that’s how it is for all the players. I had this situation so often, I can’t believe how often.
“I don’t like to tell too many old stories but Ilkay Gundogan didn’t play [for] half a year [under Klopp at Borussia Dortmund]; the only difference was he was a young player from Nurnberg and nobody asked for him. He asked! He wasn’t in the squad and there were a lot of difficult moments.
“You need to be ready, that’s how it is. At one point I have to make a decision if somebody is ready or not. We’ve already made the decision that he’s the right player for us. Now we have to come together.
“There is no problem but I can imagine in the moment that everybody asks you constantly, ‘Oh, you don’t play’ so the player is not really comfortable. For me, I don’t care too much; I have to explain it.
“But there is only one reason: because another player fits better in the moment. It is one reason, no other. I really think a lot about who plays on which position. As long as always there is a player ahead and is fresh then the other player plays.
“It’s about the new player to close that gap. It always took time and will always take time. But when you close the gap, go and you make us better. That’s the plan.”