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Reds set defensive record & Salah’s half-century – 5 key stats from Huddersfield 0-1 Liverpool

Liverpool were not at their best against Huddersfield Town, but a hard-fought 1-0 win keeps them neck-and-neck with Man City at the top of the Premier League.

The Reds produced a disjointed showing on Saturday evening, as they still search for the level they often found last season.

Mohamed Salah‘s precise finish earned Jurgen Klopp‘s side all three points at the John Smith’s Stadium, though, making it seven wins and two draws from their opening nine league fixtures.

It was a match Liverpool would likely have dropped points in earlier in Klopp’s reign, which is perhaps the biggest positive to take.

Here are five of the best statistics following the Reds’ priceless victory.

 

New Defensive Record Achieved

HUDDERSFIELD, ENGLAND - Saturday, October 20, 2018: Huddersfield Town's Alex Pritchard scores a goal but it was disallowed for offside during the FA Premier League match between Huddersfield Town FC and Liverpool FC at Kirklees Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Remember when Liverpool couldn’t defend?

That now seems like a distant memory, with the signings of Alisson and Virgil van Dijk making a vast difference and Klopp adopting a more pragmatic approach.

The clean sheet recorded at Huddersfield means the Reds have conceded just three goals in their first nine games this season—the best defensive start in the club’s history.

That is some achievement, considering how much Liverpool dominated the English game in the 1970s and 1980s, and how defensive-minded some of Gerard Houllier’s and Rafa Benitez’s teams were.

It has been a quite remarkable turnaround.

 

Record Points Haul

HUDDERSFIELD, ENGLAND - Saturday, October 20, 2018: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp before the FA Premier League match between Huddersfield Town FC and Liverpool FC at Kirklees Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

As Liverpool try desperately to win their first league title since 1990, they are up against one of the most dominant English sides of all time in Man City.

Pep Guardiola’s side recorded 100 points last season and early evidence in 2018/19 suggests a similar total could be reached again.

Klopp knows that the Reds will need to produce an almost-perfect season in order to stay in touch with the champions and 23 points from nine matches is a fantastic start.

In fact, it is their joint-highest points tally at this stage of a Premier League campaign—23 points were also recorded in 2008/09—which is testament to the winning mentality the manager has built.

 

Lucky 13 for Shaqiri

HUDDERSFIELD, ENGLAND - Saturday, October 20, 2018: Liverpool's Xherdan Shaqiri during the FA Premier League match between Huddersfield Town FC and Liverpool FC at Kirklees Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Xherdan Shaqiri was a strong contender for Liverpool’s Man of the Match on Saturday, carrying an attacking spark throughout.

It was the Swiss’ well-timed pass that allowed Salah to fire home the only goal, in one of his most telling contributions so far for the Reds.

Shaqiri’s assist made him the 13th different player to tee up Salah since the Egyptian moved to Anfield in the summer of the 2017, according to analyst Andrew Beasley.

Roberto Firmino has assisted his fellow forward the most times (nine), with fellow front-three destroyer Sadio Mane second on the list (six).

For those wondering, Shaqiri’s free-kick against Southampton that hit the crossbar, which Salah then tapped home, does not count as an assist.

 

Salah’s Notches Half-Century

HUDDERSFIELD, ENGLAND - Saturday, October 20, 2018: Liverpool's Mohamed Salah celebrates scoring the first goal with team-mate Adam Lallana during the FA Premier League match between Huddersfield Town FC and Liverpool FC at Kirklees Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Salah was Liverpool’s match-winner in a gritty encounter, and although he failed to shine in an all-round sense, his ability to find the net again proved key.

The 26-year-old’s neat effort that nestled in the bottom corner was his 50th goal in English football, in all competitions.

Forty-eight of those have come in a Reds shirt, remarkably in only 64 appearances, while the other two came for Chelsea.

We are still waiting to see Salah reach top form this season, but the sign of a great player is when they are still making big contributions.

He is doing exactly that.

 

Kings of the 1-0?

HUDDERSFIELD, ENGLAND - Saturday, October 20, 2018: Liverpool's Fabio Henrique Tavares 'Fabinho' (left) and Huddersfield Town's Jonathan Hogg during the FA Premier League match between Huddersfield Town FC and Liverpool FC at Kirklees Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool haven’t generally been famed for winning ugly under Klopp but there has been a clear sign of it this season.

Saturday’s win was the latest example of it, with the German recording a 1-0 victory for the 10th time in the Premier League.

Eight were recorded in total in Klopp’s first three seasons at Anfield, but two already in 2018/19 further suggest their ability to grind out wins is improving.

Whisper is quietly, but champions do this sort of thing!

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