Huddersfield: Lossl; Hadergjonaj, Kongolo, Schindler, Jorgensen; Lowe, Mooy, Hogg, Billing; Mounie, Depoitre.
Liverpool: Karius; Gomez, Matip, Lovren, Robertson; Henderson, Can, Milner; Mané, Salah, Firmino.
Having suffered two successive defeats to Swansea and West Brom, nerves were rife ahead of kick-off that this could be another troubling encounter for The Reds. Yet, delivering a dominant display to cap off January, Liverpool responded in the best possible way to their recent setbacks to put 8 points between them and Arsenal.
Emre Can set the ball rolling in a much-improved midfield performance, rifling a low volley into the corner of the net from outside the area. Having been one of the standout players in Liverpool 4-3 win over Man City, the German has struggled to recreate such form of late, producing a dismal display in the weekend’s FA Cup clash as he pondered in possession and failed to provide any protection to the back-four.
Emre Can's stats v Huddersfield:
4 balls gained
4 chances created
2 aerial duels won
2 shots on target
Man of the Match 👊 pic.twitter.com/IcXRJMaWO7
— Football on TNT Sports (@footballontnt) January 30, 2018
This was the other side of Can though – the good side – in which he used his energy and industry to dart forward in support of the attack. The 24-year-old delivered some teasing balls into the area for Mané and Salah as he proved that despite his frustrating inconsistencies, he’s got all the earmarks of a great midfielder. It’s no coincidence that his individual improvement came alongside a comfortable 3-0 win for Klopp’s men. Jordan Henderson and James Milner are more than worthy of a mention too, having provided a welcome boost upon their return to the starting XI.
Roberto Firmino doubled the lead before the interval, taking his tally to 19 goals and 10 assists for the season with a outrageous finish from a tight angle. Dazzling his way into the box after interchanging with Mané down the left-hand side, the Brazilian coolly stroked the ball into the far corner. Marking his 11th Premier League goal of the season, Firmino has now has equalled his tally for the entirety of 2016/17 in 1263 fewer minutes, reflecting his massive step up in quality across the final third.
With his 11th Premier League goal of the season, Roberto Firmino has equalled his tally for the entirety of 2016/17 — he’s done so in 1283 fewer minutes
— Ryan Baldi (@RyanBaldi_) January 30, 2018
He’ll continue to go under the radar alongside the blinding form of Mohamed Salah, but there can be no question that Firmino is the heartbeat of Klopp’s system. Relentless in the press while possessing the natural flair of any Brazilian, The Reds’ No.9 is one of the most well-rounded attackers in the world. Liverpool best hold onto him.
It wouldn’t be a complete Liverpool performance without a goal from Mo Salah now, would it? The Egyptian got his 19th league goal, the same total as the entire Huddersfield team after converting from the spot. Emre Can was brought down inside the area by Philip Billing and after some deliberation with the ever-reliable James Milner, Salah got his chance to mark another game with a goal, sending Lossl the wrong way.
The only slight worry from the game is the continued ill-form of Sadio Mané, with the Senegalese international very much a peripheral figure at the Jon Smith stadium. Last season he was the man for Liverpool, bullying his way past the Arsenal defence on his debut before iconically riding on Jurgen Klopp’s back. Yet this year, pushed out to the left-hand side in order to accommodate Salah, Mane’s been far less of a visible influence going forward, albeit still contributing with five goals and three assists in his last 12 starts.
The result means Liverpool are now eight points clear of Arsenal in 6th, with the potential to open up some breathing room on Spurs should they get a victory against The Lilywhites at the weekend. With Chelsea still to play, The Reds are currently joint third in a result that gave some light to a turbulent few days on Merseyside.