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Liverpool boss Klopp relieved despite hard labour


Liverpool (AFP) – Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp admitted his side had laboured hard in their uninspiring 3-0 victory over Huddersfield Town at Anfield on Saturday.

Goals from Daniel Sturridge, Roberto Firmino and Georginio Wijnaldum would suggest this was an easy afternoon’s work for Liverpool but they were dreadfully pedestrian in the first half of a match that never really got going.

Yet Klopp knew his men needed to get back to winning ways after last weekend’s 4-1 defeat to Tottenham Hotspur and the German was just pleased to have picked up the three points against a battling Huddersfield side.

“The first half was a little bit stiff, that was clear,” he said.

“We didn’t want to give them any opportunity for a counter-attack but it was not too difficult to fix it at half-time to create more.

“We had more chances, but it’s a big relief to be honest because the pressure was there. There is no doubt about that.

“I could hear that people didn’t like the first half too much, I know it’s hard work but in the end probably nobody remembers the first half because the second half was really much better.

“It helped a lot today — three goals, three points, clean sheet, very, very important.”

– ‘It was a deserved defeat’ –

The first half was dull fare -– apart from an impressive Jonas Lossl penalty save after Tommy Smith was adjudged to have fouled Firmino in the box.

Mohamed Salah’s penalty was well struck but Lossl did brilliantly to block the effort down to his left and when Jordan Henderson badly scuffed the rebound, the half-time whistle could not come quickly enough.

After the interval, Liverpool finally settled as they eventually broke down Huddersfield’s rigorous defence.

Sturridge –- in for the injured Philippe Coutinho — beat the onrushing Lossl to open the scoring after 50 minutes and when Firmino nodded home a James Milner corner soon after, the result was beyond doubt.

Huddersfield battled but Wijnaldum fired into the roof of the net from close to the penalty spot with 15 minutes left.

Huddersfield manager David Wagner was still impressed with what he had seen before Liverpool opened the scoring.

“We played defensively very well, we neutralised their power and I’ve never seen Anfield that quiet for a long time until we conceded the first goal,” said Wagner, who is Klopp’s best friend.

“I think at the end it was a deserved defeat but for me, the idea of our game worked over 55 or 60 minutes.

“If you want to steal a point at Anfield you have to perform from the first to the final whistles but we couldn’t quite manage that today.

“We have four points away from home so far this season and we shouldn’t forget how hard it is to come to play at Anfield.”

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