Huddersfield Town v Liverpool Match Preview
International breaks are always a good time to reflect on certain realities when it comes to club football. In Huddersfield Town's case, it gives us some breather from the fact of what life is in the Premier League. I won't deny that these last few weeks has created a mixed-up sense of feeling based on our current form.
The Premier League as we know it for all its glitter and razzmatazz, isn't for the faint hearted.... I mean it’s only for the rich and elitist. Its only for those who can parade their big purchases and more than willing to stretch their financial boundaries. If the man next to you buys a Ferrari, then you must get a Koenigsegg. If the man next to you builds a 16-bedroom bungalow, you make sure to build something double of that. It’s just things work.
If you can't dig deep enough in your pocket, you don't belong here. That's pretty much the picture that has been painted ever since Town got their promotion. I don't hold any ill feelings towards these opinions. I started supporting the club when the international break means losing one player to receive a call up for Montserrat. It’s a far cry than anything I'm experience today.
The comparison with Fulham signing Jean Michael Seri or Wolves assembling the Portuguese national team often emerges. I will admit that I would love to see us making such acquisition but business in Huddersfield is always going to be different. I would rather see the clubs continues to maintain its sustainable push rather than pushing its own limit and going bust someday.
Would I change this for anything else?
The answer is no, I wouldn’t change this for anything. Just to be here was something unimaginable to even think off just two years ago. Despite of all our struggle, I am more than grateful for this once in a lifetime opportunity just rub shoulder with the big guns.
As far the season goes, it hasn't been going according to plan to say the least. I have pointed out that some match is already forgone conclusion even before the season kicked off. There are games, had we taken our chances, perhaps the picture would have been different by now.
To win you have to score, to score you have create chances. And when you create chances, you have to grab them, otherwise you end up paying the price. Simple as that. Even against Chelsea, had Steve Mounie's header went it, maybe the outcome would have been different.
Matches against the likes Cardiff, Everton and Burnley should have resulted in maximum points. Apart from the finishing and the slight defensive mishap, the team played pretty well. Against Crystal Palace and Leicester, if not for the mistakes maybe we could have earned a point. No complaints here. But these are the games when I look back will give me a sense of optimism.
While our position in 18th place is a direct reflection of our results on the field, I don't think the same can be said about the performance. Well at least not in all the games we have played. But I do agree, at some stage, the win has to come. Otherwise, our survival in the Premier League will be looking gloomy.
I like to think that David Wagner is working on something here. But with plenty of tough fixture to endure right at the start of the season, it hasn't given him the chance to fully put ideas into place. Hence why, he had to emphasize a different approach rather than playing a high pressing game which could prove to be suicidal.
So, who is awaiting for us right after the international break? Wagner good old buddy, Klopp and Liverpool.
Another foregone conclusion? I have to say yes! All to play for? I have to yes as well.While on paper no one is going to give you an inch, on the field it is a different matter altogether. After all, who in the right frame of mind would have expected us to beat Manchester United last season?
I'm expecting Wagner to revert back to the same 5-3-2 or 5-4-1 formation that he emplyed at the start of the season. That means absorbing the pressure from your opponent for as much as possible. And when the time right, hit them back on the counter.
Wagner will deploy an extra man to cover in central defense. The likely candidate to contain Liverpool's attacking threat will be Matias Zanka, Christian Schindler and Terence Kongolo. They have to build a steady wall if they wish to stand a chance of neutralizing Mo Salah or Sadio Mane.
Full backs Erik Durm and Chris Lowe will have a field day from the flanks. They will be expected to stop Liverpool's attack from the wings for the most part. At the same time, Wagner needs them push forward whenever its necessary. Not an easy job for these two, but the gaffer has his full trust in them.
Preferably, I would rather have Florent Hadergjonaj instead of Durm. He seems to be more ideal to play in these sorts of circumstances. Will just have to wait and see on match day on who gets the nod.
A midfield trio of Jonathan Hogg, Aaron Mooy and Philip Biling will also play deep to support the back line. Captain Hogg will have to have a good hand in putting an end to every Liverpool's creative scheme. Just hope that he keeps his cool. Mooy and Billing will be asked to do usual run up just as much they need to help the defending.
Which means Alex Pritchard will be sole creative force from midfield to provide support the strikers. Which leaves either Laurent Depoitre or Mounie to start as the lone striker up front. I expect Wagner will be keen on the Belgian since he can also track down and help the team.
One look at it, you could say this is just a mere damage control tactics which offers nothing going forward. I wish I could disagree, but it is the case after all. But with Liverpool being such an offensive force, it would be delusional to expect Huddersfield to start on the front pedal.
If I had to think outside the box, why not give the likes of Adama Diakhaby, Isaac Mbenza and Abdelhamid Sabiri a run in this game rather than naming the usual line up. These players are young and hungry, they are going to want to prove their worth to the gaffer. Against a team like Liverpool, you have nothing to lose so why not. But for now, that's very unlikely.
The saying goes in life, you often hear people say choose your opponent wisely. If you don't have that privilege, you must choose your strategy wisely. As in this case, it’s another game that I'm going to sit back and enjoy. If the stars aligned correctly, you never what the outcome will be.