AMID all the pre-match chatter about the ‘bromance’ between David Wagner and Jurgen Klopp that included both men referring to the other as being “like a brother”, one genuine family connection surrounding Huddersfield Town’s first visit to Anfield in almost half a century was rather overlooked.
Half-brother, Rajiv van La Parra and Georginio Wijnaldum had faced each other five times in Holland, but this was their first meeting in the Premier League.
They enjoyed contrasting fortunes in a contest that Liverpool eventually won at a canter after initially being frustrated by the visitors from Yorkshire.
Wijnaldum had the distinction of netting the third and final goal for the hosts, while his sibling in the Town camp was forced out of the action with a groin problem shortly before half-time.
Despite that, van la Parra said the family would be proud that the pair had faced each other in a match that was shown live in 126 countries around the world.
“We had a little bit of talk before the game during the week,” said the 26-year-old Rotterdam-born wideman to The Yorkshire Post.
“My brother was very pleased last season that Huddersfield won promotion because he wanted me to be in the Premier league. We both knew it would be nice to play against each other.
“Unfortunately, I was unable to play longer. Sometimes that happens in football and you have to keep going. But despite not having as many minutes on the pitch as I wanted, I enjoyed it.
“We had already played against each other in Holland so it was nothing new, but it was still special because it was in the Premier League.”
Those tussles in their home country came with van la Parra sporting the colours of Heerenveen and Wijnaldum PSV Eindhoven. “He won three and I won two of those games in Holland,” added van la Parra.
“It means he is now 4-2 ahead in what is a private battle between us. But I still congratulated him for his goal after the game and we exchanged shirts. That was nice for both of us.”
The sixth meeting between van la Parra and Wijnaldum, which was screened live in their native Holland, may have ended with Liverpool in cruise control and Klopp asserting his authority over Wagner.
But, for 50 minutes, the Terriers seemed in with a chance of retaining their status as one of only three teams to have won more league meetings against Liverpool than they have lost.
With Wagner again tinkering with his preferred 4-2-3-1 formation effectively to place a three-man defensive midfield barrier in front of the back four, Town were set up to frustrate their hosts.
The ploy worked during a first half that was long on possession for the Reds, but short on genuine chances.
Shortly before the half hour, Mohamed Salah fired straight at Jonas Lossl, who earlier had watched a scuffed effort from Daniel Sturridge bounce harmlessly over the crossbar.
That, though, was until referee Kevin Friend rightly adjudged Tommy Smith to have impeded Roberto Firmino at a corner on 41 minutes and pointed to the spot.
Salah, who two weeks earlier had shouldered the World Cup hopes of Egypt successfully when converting a last-minute penalty, struck his effort firmly, but too close to Lossl and the Dane pulled off an excellent save.
The squandered opportunity just about summed up the first half for the laborious hosts. This much was reflected in the boos that accompanied those in red down the tunnel at the break, as Huddersfield’s hopes of preserving their superiority over Liverpool in 69 league meetings remained intact.
Five minutes after the restart, however, and everything had changed. There was an element of good fortune in the opener as Tommy Smith, in trying to head clear an Alberto Moreno pass intended for Firmino, could only divert the ball into the path of Sturridge.
Lossl quickly raced from his line, but the England striker dinked the ball over the Town goalkeeper and the Reds were finally up and running.
Town, once behind, never threatened to get back into proceedings and few in the 53,268 crowd were surprised when the lead was doubled shortly before the hour by Firmino beating Aaron Mooy to head in from a corner.
Wijnaldum added a third 15 minutes from time, the Terriers trio of Jonathan Hogg, Christopher Schindler and Chris Lowe all unable to prevent a run that ended with the ball flying past Lossl off the underside of the crossbar.
Liverpool had the points and a 26th league victory over Huddersfield, leaving Manchester United and Cardiff City as the only remaining sides to have won more than they have lost against the Anfield outfit.
As for Town, the consolation in what was eventually a comprehensive defeat came via a healthy mid-table position at the ten- game mark of the season.
“We have to be happy with the start,” said van la Parra, who expects to be fit for next weekend’s home clash with West Bromwich Albion.
“We could have maybe had more points in some games, but 12 points is good, as there have been games when we won and maybe deserved less.
“It works both ways so we can be pleased with our position. Every team in the Premier League has real quality, as Liverpool showed in the second half. Afternoons like that can happen in this league so to be mid-table is pleasing.”