For Jurgen Klopp, a riposte after days of criticism so strong that an impassioned defence of his reign was deemed necessary in the hours before lame Huddersfield arrived on Saturday.
Liverpool thoroughly dismantled their manager’s best friend on an afternoon David Wagner’s side barely ventured beyond halfway and did not fancy attacking much. The perfect opponent in many respects.
It certainly will not banish the painful nature of that battering at Wembley last week and Klopp admitted that. Nor will only a second Premier League win since August convince that they have truly turned a corner, or ready to challenge Manchester for honours.
Georginio Wijnaldum lashes the ball into the roof of the Huddersfield goal to complete Liverpool’s victory at Anfield
The Dutchman was all smiles as he headed off to celebrate his effort in the closing stages of the contest
Wijnaldum jumped for joy and punched the air after getting himself on the score sheet once again in Liverpool colours
PLAYER RATINGS, LEAGUE TABLE AND MATCH ZONE
LIVERPOOL (4-3-3): Mignolet 6; Gomez 7, Matip 7, Klavan 6.5, Moreno 7; Milner 7, Henderson 7, Wijnaldum 7; Salah 7 (Solanke 81), Sturridge 7.5 (Can 74, 6), Firmino 7 (Oxlade-Chamberlain 66, 6)
SUBS NOT USED: Karius, Woodburn, Robertson, Grujic.
GOALS: Sturridge 50, Firmino 57, Wijnaldum 75
HUDDERSFIELD (4-1-4-1): Lossl 6.5; Smith 4 (Hadergjonaj 69, 6), Jorgensen 6, Schindler 6, Lowe 6; Hogg 6.5; Van La Parra 6.5 (Kachunga 33, 5.5), Williams 5.5 (Quaner 70, 6), Mooy 5, Ince 6; Depoitre 6
SUBS NOT USED: Malone, Cranie, Quaner, Green
REFEREE: Kevin Friend
- Premier League
- Premier League
- League One
- League Two
- Scottish Premiership
- Scottish Div 1
- Scottish Div 2
- Scottish Div 3
- Ligue 1
- Serie A
- La Liga
How Daniel Sturridge broke the deadlock for Liverpool at Anfield.CLICK HERE to find out more from MATCH ZONE.
Yet it does offer indication of an ability to bounce back. For the moment, that will have to do. A clean sheet too, Liverpool’s fourth in five home league games this season.
Not that Simon Mignolet was ever threatened. A welcome leisurely day for the goalkeeper after his part in the Tottenham debacle.
Klopp knew what was coming. Wagner sent a text message immediately after last week’s humbling of Manchester United with “we parked the bus”, signed off with a smiling emoji.
Same again on Merseyside but with disastrous consequences. Having kept Liverpool at a length before the break, Daniel Sturridge, Roberto Firmino and Georgino Wijnaldum later settled this with ease.
‘People didn’t like the first half too much, I know. I could hear it,’ Klopp said. ‘We didn’t have the best week. We take the situation really seriously. We cannot ignore Tottenham, you have to deal with it.
‘We were a little bit stiff. We had too many players behind the ball. It wasn’t too difficult to fix at half-time.’
That Wagner and his assistant, Christoph Bhuler, both clenched fists in approval at midfield pressure forcing Ragnar Klavan – in after Dejan Lovren hobbled out of the warm-up – into misplacing a pass out for a throw-in gives away just how Huddersfield approached their first trip here since 1971.
Roberto Firmino lunges towards James Milner’s corner to make solid contact with a header at the near post
The ball shoots through the crowd of bodies and makes its way towards the back of the net for Liverpool’s second goal
The Brazilian No 9 heads off in celebration in front of the Kop end after heading home and doubling his side’s margin
The strike meant everything to Jurgen Klopp, who bounded down the touchline in animated celebration
Goals have been celebrated with less vigour this season but their day began unravelling four minutes before the break.
A long, hopeful cross was punted into the away box. All eyes were on the back post but Kevin Friend’s were fixed on Tommy Smith, pulling at Firmino’s shirt. Huddersfield were aghast, Wagner too, but Friend was correct.
Sturridge and others quarrelled over who would take it. Mohamed Salah won the argument, struck the penalty true, but could not beat Jonas Lossl down to the goalkeeper’s left. Jordan Henderson thrashed the rebound wide via a post.
Penalties are somewhat of an issue for Klopp, Liverpool having missed three at Anfield this calendar year, but Wagner – arms folded, wearing a grimace – looked a man who knew pain was on its way.
Only five second-half minutes passed before they were deservedly behind. Alberto Moreno’s clipped pass split Smith and Mathias Jorgensen, the right back misdirecting a header into Sturridge’s path. Lossl raced out but could not stop Sturridge’s dink, his 100th goal in club football.
Daniel Sturridge gets Liverpool off the mark by curling a composed effort beyond Huddersfield ‘keeper Jonas Lossl
Thrown into the line-up following the absence of Philippe Coutinho, Sturridge made the most of his chance with a goal
Sturridge was joined by Salah in celebration as he wheeled away towards the corner of the Kop end to adoring fans
The England international pulled off his trademark celebration after breaking the deadlock for his side
Earlier, Huddersfield had been left incensed after a penalty was given following a pull on the shirt of Firmino
Mohamed Salah stepped up on penalty duty but left Anfield agasp after blasting his effort straight at ‘keeper Jonas Lossl
Georginio Wijnaldum completes for the ball in the centre of the park during a fruitless first half at Anfield
Huddersfield boss David Wagner wasted no time getting out to the technical area and barking commands as the match began
Talisman Philippe Coutinho watched on from the stands after being ruled out of the clash because of injury
Klopp shared a joke with his close friend and opponent for the day David Wagner out on the touchline
Smith’s mistakes were out of sync with Huddersfield’s defensive display but ultimately they were not adventurous enough.
‘I haven’t seen Anfield as quiet as it was today until we conceded,’ Wagner said. ‘If there was noise it came from our supporters. We neutralised them.
‘We couldn’t punish them on the counter and that comes when you are able to keep a clean sheet longer.’
Worse was to follow just before the hour. Firmino’s movement befuddled Aaron Mooy from a James Milner corner and it was two with Lossl helpless. Certainly a case of the wrong man marking Liverpool’s most potent goalscoring threat. ‘It felt like Christmas,’ Klopp said.
Huddersfield were under siege, Joel Matip twice going close and Salah forcing Lossl into another fine save. The attitude of Klopp’s side was a complete contrast to what Huddersfield faced this time last week. Wijnaldum shimmied and hammered high into Lossl’s net with 15 minutes to play to finish; three and easy for Klopp. Huddersfield, and his great mate, were far too obliging.
With remembrance day approaching tributes were paid to the armed services prior to kick off, with a large poppy on the field
Both sets of players and supporters stood in unison to pay tribute to those who have given their lives in military service