Liverpool v Huddersfield: Pre-Match Talking Points

By Jordan Carreno

Matchday 36 sees the Reds host Huddersfield Town at Anfield. Kickoff is scheduled for 3:00 PM on Friday.

Liverpool v Huddersfield Town — 04/26/2019 2000 GMT

There has never been a season quite like the one we’re experiencing now in the history of LFC Tampa Bay. We’ve seen title challenges and deep European campaigns, but we’ve never had the chance to soak in the anticipation and anxiety of a double chasing Liverpool team. Nevermind the fact that our membership ranks have grown significantly more than we could have imagined at the start of the season.

Things are still neck and neck in the league, which means the margin for error is still non-existent. As always, all 3 LFC Tampa Bay locations will be open, serving, and showing the match, so come on out and join us if you can. With all that being said, let’s get into the talking points.

I really want to avoid the temptation of completely writing-off our opponents on Friday. In recent years, this would be the exact type of match that we might get unnecessarily nervous about and would often end up under performing in. However, the Reds have shown a newfound ruthlessness this season when it comes to teams outside of the big names. Also, this Huddersfield team are terrible.

Firstly, Huddersfield have already been relegated. A fate they learned on March 30th, making them the second team ever, after that infamous Derby County side, to be relegated before the end of March. Yes, this Huddersfield side is in esteemed company of the worst Premier League side to ever exist. Their 14 points means that if they don’t manage to pick up another point the rest of the season, they will end up with the second worst point total in the history of the competition.

Since the 1st of December, Huddersfield have only managed to pick up 4 points in 22 games. Over the whole season they’ve only managed to score 20 goals while conceding 69. This means they rank dead last in goals scored and goal difference with 3 games to go. Once again, though I wanted to find a positive angle in which to paint this Huddersfield team as a team not to be overlooked, they really are horrible.

Which means the only real thing that the Huddersfield team have on their side when they head to Anfield is a chance to pull off one of the greatest upsets in Premier League history and put a little shine on an otherwise dreadful campaign. Though that alone won’t be enough to overcome the clear gap of class between the two sides, football is a crazy game and there are still recent memories of Liverpool teams, even under Klopp, lowering their performances to the level of their competition.

Coming into the season one of the narratives swirling around this Liverpool side was that they often under performed against competition below their level. Heading into the season, it was pointed out how Klopp had only won 6 times in 19 games against bottom 3 sides. Against bottom sides, which is what Huddersfield is, Klopp had only won 2 of 5 matches, losing 2 and drawing 1, in his time at Liverpool. So, there the could be some hoodoo there. Plus, Huddersfield did give us a tough 1–0 game earlier in the season.

The truth is, this season Liverpool have rewritten that narrative. They are now a ruthless side who, even if it takes some struggling, get the job done when they’re expected to. Plus, with a title challenge still alive, there is very little chance of these players letting a historically horrible Huddersfield side throw a wrench in it. As long as Liverpool perform to their level, they should make easy work of this Huddersfield Town side.

Is now the chance to rotate in the likes of Lovren and Gomez?

For the Cardiff match I wrote about the possibility of using the match to rotate the team. With certain players coming back from injury and with the genuine squad depth that Liverpool now possess, there is a need to dish some game time out to ensure as many players as possible are ready for the challenge ahead. As time winds down on the season, and with a massive Champions League tie against Barcelona looming, a match against the bottom side might be the last opportunity to rotate the team.

Given that Huddersfield are as bad as they are, the risk of rotation throwing things off is relatively low. Players like Shaqiri, Origi, Gomez, Lovren, Sturridge, and Lallana all have the required abilities to handle the opponents on Friday night. Not to say that Klopp should or will rotate the team heavily, but rather that whoever does rotate in, if Jurgen chooses to do so, would be able to perform at the necessary level.

Of course, just like was the case against Cardiff, there is reason to justify not rotating to. There is enough time between our matches that should Klopp decide against rotation, the starting 11 could get enough rest to be fresh against Barcelona. Also, continuing to play the first choices means there’s no risk of any of them losing their form by sitting a game out.

It is most likely that Klopp will choose to rotate some players in to get them game time and give a break to some of the more used starters. Huddersfield shouldn’t really cause Liverpool any problems and Jurgen needs to make sure he has as many options available to him as this season winds down.

When Liverpool beat Cardiff City on Sunday they took their point total to 88. This means that Jurgen Klopp’s team is now the greatest Liverpool side in the Premier League era. Regardless of how many points are accrued over the 3 remaining games, and whether or not the Reds do end up pulling off a title win, this team will go down as the greatest Liverpool side to play in the Premier League. This should be celebrated.

It all feels like a suitable end to what would have to go down as the club’s darkest era. 10 years ago, despite pushing United all the way to the end in the 08/09 season, the club was just starting to enter the darkness that would descend upon it at the hands of Hicks and Gillette. Those two men, in the short space of 5 or so years, managed to inflict enough damage on this wonderful club that it was teetering on the brink of bankruptcy. We had to be sold by a bank, as if we were a foreclosed home or repossessed car, and we ended up bleeding assets on the field. Though Hicks and Gillette were ultimately forced to part ways with the club, the damage they left was lasting.

Healing required bringing in someone like Roy Hodgson. Being forced to turn to Dalglish. Gambling on Rodgers. Money Ball. No Champions League. Midtable finishes. It felt as if at times the wounds were merely being scabbed over before being ripped open again. The false dawn that was the title challenge of 13/14 a prime example of that.

This could be the greatest Liverpool side ever.

Even when Klopp was brought in, and the tides began to turn in all facets of the club, it still felt a distant dream to get Liverpool to where we all wanted them to be. Not just challenging for trophies or winning medals, but playing like the best football team in the world. Jurgen asked us to believe before he forced us to.

Now, we have the greatest Liverpool side to ever grace the Premier League. There are even arguments to be had about this team existing in the same space as all the great Liverpool sides of the past and, if you really start digging into it, you could even make a case for them being the best team in the world right now.

It is the perfect segue between the darkest era of Liverpool’s history and the unknown yet promising future unfolding before our eyes. Though they might not win anything at the end of it all, the corner has been turned. This isn’t success built on luck or thrust on the back of 1 or 2 superstars. This is a well groomed side, performing like nothing I’ve seen in my lifetime. So as the season ends remember: this is only the beginning for this group of players. Their story is only beginning and it is beginning with a bang.

We are staying to the domestic table again where David and I both picked up 2 points for correctly predicting a Liverpool win with a clean sheet. This means I still lead by the score of 48–47.

As I said earlier, Huddersfield are bad. I don’t even know if its worth it for them to park a bus and try to limit damage. They’re going down and they’re doing it in one of the most pathetic manners ever which might mean putting up a fight at Anfield in an attempt to not appear so limp. Regardless of what they do though, they won’t find much joy.

I think we see Klopp make a few changes in this one with Gomez and Lovren coming in to try to get some minutes in their legs. I also think we see Fabinho come back into the starting 11 to play with Keita and Gini. I also fancy Jurgen to stick with the usual front three, though I wouldn’t be surprised to see either Shaqiri or Origi rotate in for Bobby.

Like I said, there’s really no hope for Huddersfield. We’re in the middle of a title challenge and gearing up for a huge semi-final showdown with Barca. This is the last chance for some players to make a claim to start at the Nou Camp and a chance for the team to play their way into form. It gets ugly quick. 5–0.

David’s Prediction: Huddersfield will look to enjoy playing in a big, famous ground of a legendary football club one last time before they descend back into the championship. Unfortunately, they’ll be taking it in as they get throttled, methodically, by a Reds side wanting to heap a bit more pressure on City, whose trip to Burnley on Sunday can’t be any more limp of an affair than what United gave them the other night. The Reds get out to an early lead and calmly play out the result. 4–0 in front of the Anfield noise.

Content created by Liverpool supporters based in the Tampa Bay region of Florida. The opinions expressed here are the author's. Follow us on Facebook & Twitter.