Huddersfield Town performed admirably to remain in the Premier League last season, but David Wagner will have his work cut out attempting to repeat that.
When we play them: October 20 (away); April 27 (home)
Last season: Won 3-0 (home); Won 3-0 (away)
Not many gave the Terriers a chance of survival this time last year but a solid start gave them something to play with.
They ended up finishing a respectable 16th.
Liverpool’s two 3-0 wins home and away exposed Huddersfield’s limitations as a team, but what they lacked in individual quality they made up for in heart.
In Wagner, they have a manager close to being as passionate and charismatic as his best man, Jurgen Klopp, with his infectious nature rubbing off on the players.
This is going to be his sternest examination yet as a boss, however, as he attempts to build on last season and prove that Huddersfield aren’t just a one-season wonder.
Securing the permanent signing of centre-back Terence Kongolo is an excellent piece of business, while the capture of Adama Diakhaby, Ramadan Sobhi and Klopp’s former Borussia Dortmund man Erik Durm will add much-needed depth.
The only player of note to leave is Tom Ince, son of former Liverpool midfielder Paul Ince, but the winger has often flattered to deceive in the Premier League.
With Wolves and Fulham strutting into the top flight full of confidence, the odds do look a little stacked against Huddersfield, with plenty tipping them for the drop.
But don’t rule out Wagner rallying the troops and extending his side’s stay in the Premier League.
Players in: Terence Kongolo, Ramadan Sobhi, Florent Hadergjonaj, Juninho Bacuna, Ben Hamer, Jonas Lossl, Erik Durm, Adama Diakhaby
Players out: Tom Ince, Robert Green, Dean Whitehead (retired), Sean Scannell, Tareiq Holmes-Dennis
Best XI: Lossl; Kongolo, Schindler, Jorgensen, Hadergjonaj; Mooy, Hogg, Billing; Sobhi, Diakhaby, Mounie
We spoke to Paul Cuffe, Digital Secretary for Huddersfield Town Supporters Association (@OfficialHTSA), to hear about the Terriers’ chances in 2018/19 and Liverpool’s title bid.
How optimistic or pessimistic are you for the new season, and why?
I am quite optimistic for the new season. We have addressed and strengthened in the right areas and used our transfer funds in the right manner to bring in young and exciting talent.
Wagner has become known for gelling players well in pre-season and creating a strong team ethic that runs throughout the entire club all the way through to the supporters.
Even during big defeats, the supporters get right behind the team for the full match and you can see what it does for the players to feed off the passion of the supporters.
What are your aims for the season?
To avoid relegation again.
The Premier League is a very difficult division to stabilise yourself in and it looks like another season of holding our heads above water is in store.
It would be easy to say we should push further up the table from last season but when you look at the likes of Fulham and Wolves coming up and being able to spend as much or even more than we can, you must be rational.
Survival is paramount and to use a tired Premier League cliche, lets aim for 40 points.
Who’s your man to watch?
Most Huddersfield supporters would say Aaron Mooy, as he is the cog that makes the machine work for our team.
I think that the man to watch is going to be Steve Mounie.
We look to have strengthened in the winger department—if they can produce some good, consistent crosses, Mounie could easily bag a hatful of goals this season.
John Smith’s Stadium
Away fans’ pubs: The Gas Club, which is only a few minutes walk from the stadium and accommodates both home and away fans.
One piece of advice for visiting fan: Get to the ground in good time. Last season saw issues with big groups of supporters turning up at the last minute and struggling to get through the turnstiles in time for kickoff.
How do you rate Liverpool’s chances heading into the season?
I feel that it will be tighter, though.
If Liverpool can build up a good run of results leading up to New Year, they can make this season an exciting one for many fans.
Who’s going to be the Reds’ Player of the Year, and why?
Fabinho is going to flourish in the style and setup that Klopp has built within the Liverpool team.
The defensive side of the game is what let you down the most last season, despite some strong performances, but Fabinho looks likely to slot into a deep-lying midfield role and should add the needed solidity.
That should see Liverpool enjoy a strong season.
TIA’s Huddersfield Predicted Finish: 18th (Average of the TIA writers’ predictions)
Where Paul says Huddersfield will finish: 16th
Where Paul says Liverpool will finish: 2nd
This is part of our club-by-club opposition previews this summer, getting the views of away fans on their club and their thoughts on LFC:
Arsenal | Bournemouth | Brighton | Burnley | Cardiff | Chelsea | Crystal Palace | Everton | Fulham | Huddersfield | Leicester | Man City | Man United | Newcastle | Southampton | Tottenham | Watford | West Ham | Wolves