BBC : Huddersfield Town 0-1 Liverpool: Mohamed Salah's strike earns narrow win

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Mohamed Salah strikes
Salah had failed to score in his previous four matches for Liverpool

Mohamed Salah ended his worst scoring run in a Liverpool shirt to decide a hard-fought victory at Huddersfield that helped his side keep up with Manchester City at the top of the Premier League.

Salah's 50th goal in English football came courtesy of a smart low finish, as he put away Xherdan Shaqiri's 24th-minute through ball to dampen a mood matching Huddersfield's bright start.

The Egypt forward was visibly buoyed, having failed to score in his previous four appearances, but as a team it was Huddersfield who reacted more positively as they twice came close to equalising before half-time.

Captain Jonathan Hogg smashed a long-range drive against the post before Alex Pritchard was marginally offside when lifting a finish past Alisson, while a penalty appeal for handball against James Milner was turned down.

After the break, Laurent Depoitre saw a header well held with his side's first attempt on target, while Salah fired wide when presented with a tough chance to finish at speed on the counter attack.

There was a league debut for the Reds' £39m former Monaco midfielder Fabinho but even with his introduction Liverpool failed to ever totally assume control of a tie substitute Steve Mounie almost snatched away from them.

With eight minutes to play, the Benin striker rashly blazed over from inside the box after a cross spilled through unconvincing blocks from Virgil van Dijk and Dejan Lovren.

Victory sees Jurgen Klopp's side remain level on points with fellow joint leaders City. They trail Pep Guardiola's side on goal difference, with the defending champions 10 goals ahead after a 5-0 win over Burnley earlier on Saturday.

Huddersfield, who last season defied the odds to avoid relegation, remain without a victory this term and are now two points from safety in 19th.

One is touch enough - just

This was not a vintage performance from a side who many recognise as the most likely challengers to City, but having drawn away to Chelsea and at home to the defending champions in their previous two league games, getting three points was what mattered most.

Without regulars Sadio Mane and Naby Keita - both were injured over the international break - at times the link-up play between midfield an attack was flat, and there were plenty of errors in possession.

In fact, Liverpool made the most failed passes they have all season - 111 - a statistic which also helps reflect Huddersfield's combative display.

Premier League top six

David Wagner's side often forced errors, but the home side were lacking in quality when chances presented themselves. The same was not true of the Reds in the one moment that ultimately mattered.

Salah's goal, tucked home first-time from Shaqiri's clever pass, decided the contest, as this Liverpool team became the first in the club's history to concede as few as three goals in the opening nine matches of a league campaign.

The dry run goes on

Huddersfield are now without victory in 13 league games, having drawn five and lost eight since a 1-0 victory at home to Watford on 14 April.

And having failed to score once more, they equalled a top-flight record by going five consecutive home fixtures from the beginning of a season without a goal.

Might things have turned out differently? Had Hogg's blistering strike found net instead of post, they may well have grown further and capitalised against a side that looked vulnerable despite their lead.

In the end, Depoitre's 55th-minute header was the Terriers' only attempt on target and it was a comfortable save for Alisson. Mounie appeared to lose his head when presented with a golden chance to equalise late on.

Only Huddersfield and bottom club Newcastle have failed to win since August's opening day, and neither can rely on the poor form of those around them any longer.

Man of the match - Mohamed Salah (Liverpool)

In a match low on quality, Salah provided the decisive moment

Salah's landmark total - the stats

  • Huddersfield have failed to score in their past seven home Premier League games, since Tom Ince netted in a 1-0 victory over Watford in April. Only Manchester City (eight in 2006-07) have ever had a longer such run in the competition
  • Huddersfield have become just the second side in Premier League history to fail to score in any of their opening five home games of a season after Everton in 1998-99
  • Liverpool's Mohamed Salah has been directly involved in three goals in three Premier League outings against Huddersfield (two goals and one assist)
  • Salah's opener for Liverpool was his 50th goal for English sides (48 Liverpool, 2 Chelsea), reaching this tally in just 83 games in all competitions
  • Liverpool's Alisson has kept six clean sheets in his opening nine Premier League starts - the only goalkeeper to have kept more in his opening nine starts in the competition is Petr Cech (seven)

What the managers said

Huddersfield boss David Wagner: "This handball situation was a huge situation and I don't understand why it wasn't a penalty. I haven't spoken to the referee.

"It was a clear handball and the ball changed direction because of this handball and Laurent Depoitre couldn't receive the ball. It is handball. That could easily decide the direction of the match.

"But apart from this we limited them and they're a top class team. We were with them and we can take this forward with us."

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp: "It is maybe the first period in my life when we win average matches. I have to say that sometimes I really prefer the spectacular way but I take that and completely understand why it was like that.

"I look in the dressing room now or before the game, when you come back from the international break there is the time difference and many things people do not see.

"That is why I was a bit more animated on the touchline today, because even when you're tired you can be afraid of your manager."

What's next?

Liverpool next play in the Champions League, at home to Serbian champions Red Star Belgrade on Wednesday. On Saturday they play at home to Cardiff in the Premier League.

Huddersfield next play away to Watford in the Premier League on Saturday.

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