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Preview: Huddersfield Town vs. Liverpool - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Huddersfield Town vs. Liverpool - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Saturday's Premier League clash between winless Huddersfield Town and high-flying Liverpool, including possible XIs, team news and predictions.
By , Editor | 7mo

Liverpool will be looking to return to winning ways on Saturday when they take on Huddersfield Town at the John Smith's Stadium.

The Reds are winless in their last four games across all competitions, but will be heavy favourites to beat a Huddersfield side still searching for their first victory of the campaign.


Huddersfield

Huddersfield manager David Wagner will no doubt be beaming from ear to ear when he greets his old friend Jurgen Klopp in the dugout ahead of this match, but beneath the cheery exterior must lie a worried man.

The Terriers have made an ominous start to the new Premier League season, which leaves them in the relegation zone and two points from safety after eight games.

Huddersfield were installed as the second-favourites for relegation before the campaign began, and there has been little to disprove that pre-season pessimism even if Newcastle United and Cardiff City currently sit below them in the standings.

Newcastle were handed a rotten start to the season and should begin to pick up more points now that their fixtures get easier, but for Huddersfield the immediate future looks a little more bleak as they go in search of their first win of the campaign.

Wagner's side have picked up just three points from a possible 24 so far this term, and while a 1-1 draw with Burnley before the international break lifted them off the bottom, the major concern still surrounds the number of goals they are scoring.

No team has found the back of the net on fewer occasions than the Terriers this term, and remarkably they are yet to score a single league goal in front of their own fans in 2018-19.

Everton in 1998-99 are the only team to have failed to score in their opening five games at the start of a Premier League campaign, while including the tail end of last season the Huddersfield home fans have not seen their side score a goal since April 14.

Indeed, that is their only goal in their last 10 Premier League home games, including an ongoing drought of six without finding the back of the net - only Manchester City, who went eight in 2006-07, have had a longer run in Premier League history.

Unsurprisingly, then, there has not been a great deal to cheer at the John Smith's Stadium so far this term. A goalless draw with fellow relegation favourites Cardiff provided their only home point of the campaign, and Saturday could see them lose three top-flight home games in a row in the same season for the first time since April 1972.

Hopes will not be too high of avoiding that fate against a Liverpool team who boast the joint-best defence in the league and limited the Terriers to just one shot on target against them over both of their meetings last season.

Recent Premier League form: DDLLLD
Recent form (all competitions): LDLLLD


Liverpool

Liverpool arrive at the John Smith's Stadium without a win in four games and without a goal in two, but the feeling around the club is still a positive and optimistic one.

The Reds won their opening seven games across all competitions before this recent slump in form, which has coincided with their first really tricky patch of fixtures - facing Chelsea twice, Napoli and Manchester City.

Defeats to Chelsea in the EFL Cup and Napoli in the Champions League were disappointing without being hugely damaging to their season, while draws against Chelsea and Man City in the Premier League were satisfactory results on both occasions.

A late equaliser earned them a respectable point at Stamford Bridge last month, and City squandered a golden chance to take all three points from Anfield in Liverpool's last match before the international break when Riyad Mahrez blazed his penalty over the crossbar.

As a result, there is now a three-way tie at the top of the table between City, Chelsea and Liverpool heading into gameweek nine, and a return to winning ways for Klopp's side would see them record their best-ever start to a Premier League campaign.

The Reds have now lost just one of their last 16 Premier League outings and are unbeaten in their last nine, although the international break was not kind to them as a number of key players picked up injuries.

Many fans may have been fearing for the team's immediate future when hearing that Virgil van Dijk, Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Naby Keita had all suffered scares, although only the latter looks certain to miss this weekend's match.

Liverpool may not be too depleted, then, but they must still be wary of taking anything for granted in a game which they are expected to win comfortably.

It is an issue which has plagued Liverpool throughout Klopp's reign, with the Reds having lost five of their last nine Premier League away games against teams starting the day in the relegation zone - including no wins and four defeats from their last six such matches.

Liverpool's next two league games both come against teams in the bottom three - with Cardiff visiting Anfield next weekend - and Klopp will know that his side must take maximum points from that double-header if they are to keep their title challenge on track.

Recent Premier League form: WWWWDD
Recent form (all competitions): WWLDLD


Team News

Liverpool will hand late fitness tests to Van Dijk and Salah following their international injuries, while Mane could also be in contention after undergoing surgery on a broken thumb.

James Milner and Keita are definitely out due to hamstring injuries, though, with the midfield duo joining long-term absentee Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain on the sidelines.

There is better news in the shape of Adam Lallana's return, though, with the England international available to feature this weekend.

Roberto Firmino, Fabinho and Alisson Becker were all involved for Brazil during the recent international break, but the trio could still start on Saturday, with Fabinho set for his full Premier League debut should Milner not make it.

Xherdan Shaqiri and Daniel Sturridge do provide attacking alternatives to doubts Mane and Salah, with Sturridge already having scored more goals this season than he managed in the whole of last term.

Huddersfield, meanwhile, will be without Tommy Smith, Terence Kongolo and Danny Williams through injury, while Isaac Mbenza will be assessed after picking up a knee problem on international duty.

Christopher Schindler, Aaron Mooy and Philip Billing are expected to be available, though, while Ramadan Sobhi could feature having recovered from a knee injury.

Huddersfield possible starting lineup:
Lossl; Durm, Zanka, Schindler, Lowe; Billing, Hogg; Mooy, Pritchard, Van La Parra; Depoitre

Liverpool possible starting lineup:
Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, Van Dijk, Robertson; Henderson, Fabinho, Wijnaldum; Salah, Firmino, Shaqiri


Head To Head



Liverpool are unbeaten in their last 12 matches against Huddersfield across all competitions, a run which includes nine wins and stretches back to 1959 when both clubs were in the old Second Division.

Indeed, Huddersfield have failed to even score against Liverpool in their last seven clashes, last doing so in a 1-1 draw at Anfield in April 1962.

Both matches last season ended in 3-0 wins for Liverpool, the most recent of which came at the John Smith's in January when Firmino and Salah were both on the scoresheet.


We say: Huddersfield 0-3 Liverpool



Huddersfield cannot buy a home goal at the moment - yet alone a win - and they have trouble scoring against Liverpool at the best of times. The Reds' own form has not been the best either, but they should cruise to a fairly comfortable win this weekend.






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