Normality Resumes After Painful International Break
You could set your watch to it. Boring, pointless, international break happens, and suddenly Liverpool players start dropping like flies.
Mo Salah, Sadio Mane and Naby Keita all suffered injuries on international duty, while Virgil van Dijk traveled despite having not fully healed from a rib injury.
Unfortunately there’s little that can be done about that now, and dwelling on that won’t help with dispatching Huddersfield who will surely smell blood in the water.
Huddersfield Team News and Predicted Lineup
In all fairness, David Wagner has as many injury headaches as Jurgen Klopp does this week. Terence Kongolo, Tommy Smith and Danny Williams will all miss out, while the likes of Ramadan Sobhi, Abdelhamid Sabiri, and Isaac Mbenza are in doubt.
Philip Billing should shake off his knock in time for the game and will likely be used in a trio of central midfielders as Wagner has preferred a 3-5-1-1 formation when playing against higher quality opposition.
Either 4-4-1-1 or 4-2-3-1 is his usual preference, but the Huddersfield boss set up with a three-man defence with wing-backs in midfield against Chelsea and Tottenham earlier this season.
Liverpool Team News and Predicted Lineup
Surprisingly, despite Liverpool fans’ worst fears, Klopp has only categorically ruled out Keita for this fixture, meaning Mane, Salah, VVD, and potentially James Milner could all start.
Salah, VVD, and Milner all trained mid-week, which is a good sign, despite the latter suffering a hamstring strain only a couple of weeks ago. Mane however has a broken thumb which, while painful, wouldn’t necessarily rule him out. The player himself will likely make the call on the day.
This uncertainty in the attack and midfield opens the door for the likes of Xherdan Shaqiri, Daniel Sturridge, Fabinho, and a returning Adam Lallana whom Klopp spoke very highly of during the week.
Liverpool, despite a few hiccups, sit equal 1st on the table, while Huddersfield are languishing in the relegation-zone after a winless start.
However, this doesn’t guarantee the Reds anything. Aaron Mooy and Christopher Schindler are excellent players, while Chris Lowe and Phillip Billing have been in good form this season, and Alex Pritchard can be very dangerous on his day.
This game will be won and lost in the centre of the park as Wagner will overload his midfield. It’ll be up to Liverpool’s midfield trio to play their way out of traffic and give the attackers the service they so desperately need.
This game has to be the first step to getting our season back on track and return to winning ways. Salah, Mane, and Firmino hitting top gear would be a nice bonus, but the three points are the most important thing.
We can’t afford to drop points against these types of opponents as we’ve done in previous seasons because Manchester City, and to a lesser extent Chelsea, will simply not return the favor to us.
Liverpool should walk away from this one as 3-0 winners.
You’ll Never Walk Alone
Red Or Dead Liverpool FC Football Blog – 20/10/2018