Liverpool play host to Huddersfield Town at Anfield on Friday night, as the Reds continue in their pursuit of the Premier League title.
Looking to spoil the party will be the already-relegated Terriers, who have little more to play for than pride – a tall task for a team who have lost seven on the bounce, but they will be hoping complacency creeps in for the home team, who have lost just once all season.
Jurgen Klopp’s side ran out 2-0 winners away at Cardiff last time out, but the victory was not without its nervy moments. The German boss will be hoping for a more comfortable three points on Friday, as he looks to keep his side fresh ahead of a tense finish to the season.
Jan Siewert’s side have shown glimpses of improvement in 2019, but ultimately the Terriers’ squad was not up to a second season in the Premier League. He will be hoping to get one over on his German counterpart and gain some momentum and optimism as his side prepare for a season in the Championship.
Where to Watch
|When Is Kick Off?||Friday 26th April|
|What Time Is Kick Off?||20:00 BST|
|Where Is It Played?||Anfield|
|TV Channel/Live Stream?||Sky Sports Main Event|
Fabinho’s brief appearance for the Reds against Cardiff was cut short after just four minutes when the Brazilian was dazed after a clash of heads. Klopp has confirmed that the midfielder is now ‘OK’, but he may err on the side of caution with a busy fixture schedule coming up.
Elsewhere, Klopp may welcome back Dejan Lovren, Adam Lallana and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain – all of whom are returning from injuries. It will be one year to the day on Friday since ‘the Ox’ suffered his injury, so his reintroduction may be more gradual.
Huddersfield on the other hand, may bring striker Karlan Grant back into the starting 11. The forward, signed from Charlton Athletic in January, has scored four goals already for the Terriers including a consolation last time out against Watford.
Siewert has the luxury of a fully fit squad to choose from on Friday. Given the club’s impending relegation, we may see preference given to those players whom he expects to stay at the John Smith’s Stadium next season.
|Liverpool||Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Lovren, van Dijk, Robertson; Milner, Wijnaldum, Henderson; Salah, Firmino, Mane.|
|Huddersfield Town||Lossl; Smith, Schindler, Stankovic, Kongolo, Durm; Kachunga, Hogg, Bacuna, Lowe; Grant.|
Head to Head Record
Surprisingly, Huddersfield edge Liverpool in the head to head, having won 31 times in this fixture compared to 30 victories for the Reds. However, this is primarily down to the Terriers’ success in the first half of the 20th century, with their last win in this fixture coming in the 1950s.
When these two sides came head to head earlier this season, Klopp’s side edged it 1-0 in a tight affair, courtesy of a first half Mohamed Salah goal. The Reds will hope for a more comfortable win on Friday, but such is Liverpool’s desperation for three points to keep up the pressure on Man City that they would take a repeat of this scoreline at Anfield.
Liverpool have been close to unstoppable this season, losing just one game in the Premier League and drawing only seven. The last time the Reds dropped points was in the Merseyside derby at Everton at the beginning of March, and for this reason they’ll be expected to take all three points on Friday.
Huddersfield’s form has been the polar opposite to their opponents’, losing their last seven in a row on a hopeless run of form. Their last victory came at the end of February in a 1-0 home victory over Wolverhampton Wanderers. To come away from Anfield with all three points on Friday night would take an upset of epic proportions but, for a team with nothing to lose, Terriers fans may just have a glimmer of hope.
Here’s how the two sides have fared in their previous five games.
|Cardiff 0-2 Liverpool (21/04)||Huddersfield 1-2 Watford (20/04)|
|Porto 1-4 Liverpool (17/04)||Tottenham 4-0 Huddersfield (13/04)|
|Liverpool 2-0 Chelsea (14/04)||Huddersfield 1-4 Leicester (06/04)|
|Liverpool 2-0 Porto (09/04)||Crystal Palace 2-0 Huddersfield (30/03)|
|Southampton 1-3 Liverpool (05/04)||West Ham 4-3 Huddersfield (16/03)|
Liverpool enter this fixture as clear favourites, with nobody giving the visitors much hope of securing three points. However, the Reds have been shaky on several occasions this season and if the Terriers are able to keep things tight for the first half, the tension will rise and they may be able to capitalise.
The way the title race is panning out, goal difference is unlikely to be a decisive factor and therefore we may not see the Liverpool rout some are waiting for. With Barcelona coming up next for Klopp’s side, the manager is likely to instruct his team to take their foot off the gas if they find themselves two or three goals ahead.
Although Huddersfield can play with a freedom that Liverpool cannot, they probably lack the quality in key areas of the pitch to punish the home side. There may be a few nervy moments along the way, but we can expect the home side to win this one comfortably.
Prediction: Liverpool 3-0 Huddersfield Town