Liverpool FC, Ending the Drought Take 29: Match #9

A Saturday of away-team triumphs didn’t skip Liverpool’s visit to Huddersfield, where the title contenders won 1-0 thanks to a Mohamed Salah strike in the first half and another clinical defensive performance led by Virgil van Dijk. 

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The obvious player to praise is Salah, scoring his 4th league goal of the season with Xherdan Shaqiri, in the lineup this time playing his favored left flank (mostly due to Sadio Mane’s injury, but not just that), being the setup man. Salah and Liverpool aren’t rampaging with goals as they were last season, but with the team tied with Manchester City at 23 points to lead the league, it’s hard to feel disappointed if you’re a Reds fan.

While the Yorkshire side did have rare moments of causing danger in Liverpool’s box, and had one fair complaint about James Milner handling the ball with his hand after it bounced off his thigh, this was closer to a multi-goal win for Liverpool than anything else. Salah, Daniel Sturridge (terrific in all but finishing today) and others proved wasteful against one of the two remaining winless clubs in the league (the other being Newcastle).

Joe Gomez had another opportunity to show that he’s not just a fantastic central defender, but also vastly improved as a right back, with Jurgen Klopp trying to find a way for Dejan Lovren to get back into business. It means giving up on offensive potency down the wing (Trent Alexander-Arnold is far for adept with the ball than Gomez), but Liverpool had enough to provide in the build up with Gomez having to show anything special.

Van Dijk
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This is not the Liverpool of last season – romantic, explosive volatile. It’s a much more experienced group of players, perhaps almost cynical, as Sturridge’s late actions demonstrated, but with a championship a serious goal by the end of this season, one can hardly complain about the pragmatism displayed at the moment.