Lack of goals continues to hurt Huddersfield Town as Liverpool march on

BEST friends do not need to talk to each other for days, weeks or sometimes months.

Miss: Huddersfield Town's Steve Mounie shoots over the crossbar late on against Liverpool.
Miss: Huddersfield Town's Steve Mounie shoots over the crossbar late on against Liverpool.

When Huddersfield Town head coach David Wagner caught up with his Liverpool counterpart Jurgen Klopp again on Saturday evening, there was probably not a great deal to say either.

Maybe just a quick embrace, a meaningful look into each other’s eyes and a few words exchanged not too long after the heat of battle.

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Great friends the pair may be – from their salad days in the early Nineties at German outfit Mainz – but both are also football men who know that the game can sometimes be cruel.

Both put their heart and soul into pursuing success for their respective sides. This was an evening when the points went to Herr Klopp, but he plainly felt – from a footballing and friendship perspective – that his big buddy was unlucky.

Klopp was thoroughly magnanimous in victory. Sometimes, it is easy to be. But Liverpool’s leader was not being disingenuous.

Wagner revealed after the game that Klopp’s first word to him following the final whistle was ‘sorry.’ This was delivered by a manager who had the good grace to admit his side were a touch fortunate and also by a friend.

So it goes on for Huddersfield Town. Another game, another moral victory, but no points and a head coach who is entitled to feel increasingly aware that he is beginning to sound like a broken record.

His players will be aware of the repetitive nature of their own post-match sentiments, too. After Crystal Palace and Tottenham Hotspur, this was the latest example of Town straining every sinew and doing plenty right from a footballing perspective, but still coming up significantly short.

Brownie points at home, but no goals or points. Again.

Defender Chris Lowe said: “We have struggled in the past two-and-a-half years to score goals, to be honest. We have never scored many goals, and this season it is obvious it is our biggest problem.

“We create chances, we are unlucky in some situations, but we sometimes miss a bit of quality in front of goal as well. We have played some good games in the past weeks.

“But in the end, we are here after the game with nothing in our hands and that is the most important thing. We have to get some points over the next weeks and we have to turn this round.”

Huddersfield will carry on regardless and for those with faith, they are still holding on to the cherished belief that their belated rewards might just come further down the line if they keep performing in the same vein.

If there is any justice, they might just do so. But football can be merciless, especially at the elite level.

Town – who now find themselves second from bottom – will be increasingly aware that performances will not count a jot in their next three matches against Watford, Fulham and West Ham.

Only points and goals do – in a season which has seen them not yet savour the precious currency of victory.

Lowe added: “We just keep working in training as hard as we can, and try to keep focused on scoring goals. That is the only thing we can do, and, hopefully, we can turn it around quickly.

“As people saw on Saturday, we have got a chance in every game. We keep working. Our group is strong enough. We will have enough confidence to go out there to try to get three points.

“It is the only thing we can do. It is what we have done over the past two-and-a-half years.”

Huddersfield’s wait for a first goal against the red side of Merseyside may have extended into an eighth match – since the late Chris Balderstone netted at Anfield in April, 1962 – but it was not for the want of trying to halt that particular glaring statistic.

Town asserted themselves against feted opponents and breathed down their necks and made life distinctly uncomfortable for them and tried to make things happen when in possession of the ball.

The tempo was good and the attitude unfailing, but when the telling moment of quality arrived, it came from those in red.

The hosts were undressed just once midway through the first half.

But it proved enough.

Joe Gomez supplied Xherdan Shaqiri in a promising position between the lines inside the Town half and he instinctively found Mohamed Salah, whose run was cutting – with his clinical low finish equally incisive.

At the other end, Town plainly needed a break, but it stubbornly – almost mockingly – would not arrive against below-par visitors who would ultimately win ugly.

Jonathan Hogg’s piledriver shuddered the post, and the visitors survived a big penalty claim just before the break after Hogg’s header hit James Milner’s arm.

Soon after, the lively Alex Pritchard found the net with a dinked effort after Billing’s long throw was not cleared, but the ‘goal’ was correctly ruled out by Michael Oliver for offside against Laurent Depoitre.

Similarly, there was pressure and intent on the restart from Town, but in front of goal, it was the same old song in front of supporters who had not seen their heroes score on increasingly parched home soil since April 14.

Attacking options were plentiful on deck deep in the second half, but a wild late miss from substitute Steve Mounie, after a cross from fellow replacement Isaac Mbenza was not cleared, summed up Town’s predicament.

The minds are willing, but the attacking instruments are blunt. But they continue to plug away in the hope of a break somewhere.