HEAD COACH David Wagner believes that Huddersfield Town can draw inspiration ahead of this evening’s home game with Liverpool from the day almost exactly a year ago when they famously stunned Manchester United.
Tomorrow is the first anniversary of Town’s 2-1 victory over United at the John Smith’s Stadium, a result which sent shockwaves around the Premier League.
A similar result today against another footballing giant – managed by Wagner’s great friend Jurgen Klopp – would represent just as big a surprise, perhaps more so.
Without a win in 13 matches in all competitions since mid-April, third-from-bottom Town’s wait for a victory against Liverpool stretches to epic proportions.
Town have not beaten the Merseyside club in their past 12 meetings since a 1-0 victory at Leeds Road in November 28, 1959 – in Bill Shankly’s final match in charge before heading to Anfield.
The Yorkshire club have not scored in their last seven meetings with the Reds, but last year’s remarkable win over United – the first time that they had beaten them since March 1952 – is a reminder to Wagner that anything is possible.
The Town head coach said: “At least it gives us the feeling that it is possible. In football, you never know what happens.
“We were also not on the best run before we played Man United (last season). Whatever happens in the weeks before it does not count on the weekend when you face your next opponent.
“We know it is one of the top teams against one of the bottom three teams. But sometimes football writes some great stories and no one knows what will happen on Saturday.”
Wagner has revealed that his regular weekly phone call to long-time friend and former Mainz team-mate Klopp has been put on hold this week with the pair concentrating on getting today’s game out of the way first.
The pair are operating at opposite ends of the Premier League, but Wagner knows full well that his compatriot will not be treating Huddersfield lightly.
Wagner, who acted as best man at Klopp’s wedding, added: “We speak at least once a week, sometimes more.
“Of course, this is one of the clubs apart from the top six where he (Klopp) is very interested about what is going on and what we do. When we speak, ninety-five per cent is about the Premier League and football and what is going out at the other’s club.
“Unfortunately in the past I was not able to celebrate a lot of results by phone when I have spoken with him, but I have been able to let him know that our performances are good and I think he is aware that there will not be any surprises as we know each other too good.”
Town’s performances may have provided some encouragement ahead of the international break, but the lack of a goal threat represents a distinct concern.
Town have failed to score in any of their four top-flight home games so far this season – only Everton in 1998-99 have failed to score in their first five matches on home soil at the start of a Premier League campaign.
But Wagner, enthused by his side’s recent showings, is steadfastly looking at the bigger picture and believes that Town are overdue a spot of luck or two.
He said: “Of course I see that we are not scoring enough goals and I wish we would score more goals as well, this is the truth.
“But I see how we perform and how the group reacts together and works in training and tries to take the ideas on board.
“Even if we did not have the best start after the first eight games we see everything as very tight around us.
“We see it as ‘game on, do your work and try to be as strong as you can’.
“We have (also) had no luck so far this season and I am sure it will turn if we work as we have done in the past.
“Performance-wise I am able to see progression and that players are coming closer together every week and that is why I am excited about the games in front of us.”
Midfielder Adam Lallana is set to return to Liverpool’s squad today for the first time since September 1 after fully recovering from a groin problem.
“Hopefully no one forgot how good he was before his little injury. He is a proper option again,” said Klopp.
“He will play first-team football for Liverpool again and that is the best news. When it will start we will see.”
Emotions run high ahead of Town’s clash: Page 3.