Huddersfield Town vs Liverpool Preview: Reds looking to recover from successive defeats

Liverpool travel to Huddersfield Town on Tuesday night having lost their last two games following a lengthy unbeaten run, with the Terriers claiming just one win in their last 10 in all competitions.

Huddersfield Town vs Liverpool Preview: Reds looking to recover from successive defeats
(Picture: Getty Images - Paul Ellis)

Liverpool will hope to recover from back-to-back defeats when they travel to face a Huddersfield Town side without a win in any of their last six league games on Tuesday night.

The Reds' 18-game unbeaten run was ended by relegation-threatened Swansea City last Monday before they were dumped out of the FA Cup by another struggling outfit in West Bromwich Albion on Saturday.

They were Liverpool's first successive losses since January last year and as well as ending their hopes of domestic silverware, have cast serious concerns over their top-four prospects amidst the January improvements of their rivals.

Jürgen Klopp faces off against his good friend David Wagner with Huddersfield having not won in the league since December 16, winning only one of their last eight in any competitions.

That sole triumph came against Bolton Wanderers in the FA Cup, though they could only draw with Birmingham City - languishing in the Championship relegation zone - at home last time out.

Liverpool's three-month run without defeat started with a nervy win at home to Huddersfield at Anfield back in October and they will hope to kickstart another run with the optimism from their victory over Manchester City having well and truly dissipated.

With their best opportunity of silverware now over, their focus will be to consolidate their return to the Champions League with another top-four finish - and a win here would be a welcome boost in their hopes of doing so.

The mood around the club has rapidly deteriorated in the last fortnight, largely fuelled by the departures of game-changing players like Philippe Coutinho and Daniel Sturridge without replacements to come in.

That leaves Liverpool's attack paper-thin in the event of injuries or a loss of form, with no player unable to apply the finishing touch to the few chances they created as they struggled to pick the lock of Swansea's defence in their last league outing.

Yet they will hope the pro-active playing style of David Wagner's men - who like to play out from the back - will aid their pressing style, having repeatedly proven they are better equipped to down such teams rather than those who pack numbers behind the ball and surrender the majority of possession.

But Huddersfield are just as desperate in their search for three points - having slid down to just two points above the relegation zone despite long appearing comfortable in mid-table.

Their stunning start to the season has been forgotten due to the West Yorkshire club's disappointing attacking and defensive records. Huddersfield have only managed 19 goals in 24 games, scoring more than one goal in a game on just four occasions.

Wagner's men have also leaked 41 goals, only three teams in the league managing worse records - with their frustrations at either end of the pitch having meant they have struggled to put together a consistent run of form.

Few will argue that Huddersfield are not still over-performing, having overcome huge odds to even return to the first division, but survival is an attainable goal - though not unless they can improve in both thirds of the pitch.

A win over Liverpool could act as a huge catalyst as they look to climb away from a potential scrap at the bottom and they have proven themselves capable of such big results - beating Manchester United at home earlier this term.

And with the visitors so out-of-sorts, the Terriers will hope to capitalise on the current pessimism surrounding the Anfield outfit and pile further misery on the Reds.

Furthermore, it is another renewing of a friendly rivalry between old friends Wagner and Klopp. The duo were team-mates at Mainz in the 1990s and worked together at Borussia Dortmund, with Wagner the best man at his compatriot's wedding in 2005.

But no outcome will avoid one of the two managers leaving disappointed, with victories much needed for both despite the difference in their situations.

 

Team news

Huddersfield have a near fully-fit squad to choose from although midfielder Danny Williams will require a fitness test after sustaining a dead leg against Birmingham.

Forward Elias Kachunga is their only definite absentee due to a knee ligament injury, with Wagner likely to return to a full-strength line-up after resting several players against the Blues.

Goalkeeper Jonas Lössl, captain Tommy SmithLaurent Depoitre and Aaron Mooy are among those who can expect to be recalled, alongside ex-Liverpool youngster Tom Ince

The visitors will be without Sturridge after the striker completed a loan move to West Brom on Monday evening for the remainder of the season. 

Midfielder Adam Lallana is unavailable with a slight muscle tear that kept him out of their recent clash with the Baggies, while centre-back Ragnar Klavan misses out again due to ongoing illness.

Skipper Jordan Henderson made his return from a month-long absence with a hamstring injury against West Brom, featuring for half-an-hour, and will hope to start.

Loris Karius is expected to return in the Liverpool goal after Simon Mignolet was reinstated between the sticks for their cup clash at the weekend despite Klopp's intentions to demote the Belgian to second choice.

 

Recent form (all competitions)

Huddersfield Town: LWLLD

Liverpool: WWWLL

Latest result

Huddersfield Town 1-1 Birmingham City (FA Cup)

Liverpool 2-3 West Bromwich Albion (FA Cup)

Match facts

This is the first time in 46 years that Huddersfield have hosted Liverpool in a top-flight game.

The Terriers have not beaten their Merseyside opponents in any of their last 11 meetings, stretching back to a Division Two clash in 1959 - losing eight and drawing three games since.

If Huddersfield lose, it will be the first time since 1988 that they have been beaten in all of their first four league games of a calendar year. It would also equal their longest top-flight streak of defeats.

Only one of Huddersfield's four defeats at the John Smith’s Stadium has come against a non-London side (2-1 defeat to Manchester City).

David Wagner's side have conceded more second-half goals than any other Premier League team - 30. They have conceded 41 in total. No side has also scored fewer goals after the break, with just seven. 

Only one promoted team has beaten both Liverpool and Manchester United at home in a single top-flight season, Portsmouth in 2003-04.

Jürgen Klopp has never lost consecutive league matches as a Liverpool manager, with the Reds not losing back-to-back Premier League games since September 2015.

No Liverpool player has ever scored 20 goals in less than 27 matches (both Fernando Torres and Sturridge), with top-scorer Mohamed Salah on 18 in 23 so far.

The John Smith's will be the 58th ground Liverpool have played at in the Premier League. They have won at a league-high 53.

 

Referee

Kevin Friend will oversee his 14th Premier League fixture of the campaign having officiated the reverse meeting between these two teams on Merseyside.

The 46-year-old handed out just a single yellow card that day, having handed out 35 in the top-flight games he has been the man in the middle for, also awarding six penalties.

Of his previous 13, the Leicestershire-based official has been the referee for three Liverpool matches - home wins over Crystal Palace, Huddersfield and Swansea.

Friend's only other 2017-18 match involving the Terriers was a defeat away at West Ham United back in September.