Football Features

Winners & losers as Mohamed Salah makes Liverpool history in Huddersfield demolition

By Mohamed Moallim

Published: 22:04, 26 April 2019

Liverpool regained top spot in the Premier League following a thumping 5-0 win over already-relegated Huddersfield Town.

Jurgen Klopp’s men, who can still potentially end a 29-year title drought this season, registered a seventh consecutive league victory ahead of a mouthwatering Champions League semi-final encounter with Barcelona.

The usual suspects – Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah – got on the score sheet with Naby Keita, bagging the other, claiming a club record in doing so. Huddersfield, were unfortunately a clear second best, despite showing plenty of endeavour in defeat.

Job done, Liverpool can now look forward to watching Burnley entertain Manchester City, knowing full well their place atop of the league could be surrendered if Pep Guardiola’s defending champions leave Turf Moor with all three points on Sunday afternoon.

Before then, it’s worth a quick look back on Liverpool’s 28th Premier League win of the season, which saw Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain make his long-awaited return.

As with every game, there are of course winners and losers.

Winner: Naby Keita 

Blink and you missed it. Jurgen Klopp would’ve demanded his side to get off to a fast start, but even he couldn’t have envisaged what followed moments after kick-off. Before many in attendance had the opportunity to sit down, The Reds were 1-0 in front, Naby Keita – now home in Liverpool’s midfield – found himself in Huddersfield Town’s penalty box and with 15 seconds on the clock slotted past Jonas Lössl.

The effort by the ex-RB Leipzig man was his second in the Premier League; first at Anfield – though not at the fabled Kop End – and Liverpool’s fastest ever in the competition.

Loser: Jon Gorenc Stanković

It’s been a mixed season for Jon Gorenc Stanković who before this evening’s game at Anfield had featured in just nine of Huddersfield’s opening 35 league outings. He was an unused substitute against Watford last time out, after having made seven consecutive appearances (with six of those being starts), and would have been nervy from the get-go.

So, starting well must have been on the back of his mind, unfortunately that never came to pass. The former Borussia Dortmund II player was caught in possession and before he knew it The Reds had gone a goal up inside the opening 30 seconds. You would not have blamed him if he wanted the ground to open up and swallow him.

Winner: Andrew Robertson

To call Robertson a marvellous signing for Liverpool is an understatement. The 25-year-old Scottish left-back, who joined from relegated Hull City in the summer of 2017, is now arguably the best exponent of his position in the Premier League.

For all the selfless work, and he takes his primary duties very seriously, it’s going forward where the Glaswegian has really shoe this season. His perfectly timed cross for Sadio Mane to head in, doubling Liverpool’s lead, was his tenth assist of the season. To put that into some perspective, before him only two defenders in Premier League history were able to reach double figures in terms of goals created, and the last one doing so eight seasons ago.

Loser: Karlan Grant

For a majority visiting Anfield, especially in the groove Liverpool are currently in, they know it can be an impossible job. So, it’s imperative not to make Liverpool’s task easier. Keeping possession is a must, something Huddersfield – though you can’t blame them given the gap in quality – were unable to manage.

One player more guilty than others was forward Karlan Grant, who joined from League One outfit Charlton in January, playing from the left flank he was dispossessed on no fewer than seven occasions – more than any player on either side. To rub salt into the wounds, Grant could have bagged his fifth goal in 11 league outings for The Terriers seven minutes after the interval, but he couldn’t quite stretch for the ball.

Winner: Mohamed Salah

Mere words can no longer explain how good Mohamed Salah has been for Liverpool since joining. The crowd-appointed Egyptian King holds a slew of records and incredibly matched another on the evening he made his 100th appearance under Klopp.

By scoring on the stroke of half-time, first to reach 20 top-flight goals in England this season thus becoming only the third Liverpool player to bag that amount in consecutive Premier League campaigns, Salah – recently named as one of TIME Magazine’s 100 influential people – registered his 68th goal for The Reds.

He doubled his efforts moments from the end and in the process shattered the record for most Liverpool goals in a player’s opening 100 games. Salah (2017-present) sits ahead of legendary marksman Roger Hunt (1958-69) and Sam Raybould (1900-07) who both managed 68.

Behind them, and putting Salah’s achievement in more context, are some big names: John Aldridge (61), Fernando Torres (61) and Ian Rush (56).

Loser: Daniel Sturridge

One man’s misfortune is another man’s opportunity. The loss of Roberto Firmino, who felt discomfort in a final training season, opened the door for Liverpool’s forgotten man Daniel Sturridge to stake a claim for their upcoming Camp Nou trip.

Starting making his first start in 2019 didn’t exactly leave a great impression. He huffed and puffed, even scoring a disallowed goal for offside, but there was nothing from hm to suggest he’d be starting against Barça if Firmino remains absent.

Winner: Sadio Mane

Mane is having a season to remember. His headed brace against Huddersfield saw him notch 20 league goals for the season, a feat the Senegalese forward has never managed before in England or at Red Bull Salzburg where he truly made his name.

He would record goal number 20 after teammate Mo Salah reached that exact same figure, meaning for the second time in Premier League history has a club managed to have two players reister 20+ goals in a single Premier League season – twice.