A Roberto Firmino strike late in the first half had Liverpool back to winning ways as Jurgen Klopp vs David Wagner went the way of the Reds manager for the second time this season.
Huddersfield have now lost four league games in a row and are being dragged ever further into the mire of a relegation battle.
The visitors’ Brazilian forward meandered along the byline before beating Jonas Lossl at the near post from the narrowest of angles, giving his side a two goal cushion following an earlier strike from Emre Can. Mohamed Salah made sure of the points with a penalty later in the second half, in what was a vital win for the club after some disappointing displays of late.
Klopp and Wagner both spoke of the fight they were expecting when their two teams met at the John Smith’s stadium. The crowd were up for it too, or at least the home fans were, relishing the occasion as they hosted Liverpool in a top flight encounter for the first time in 46 years.
It was a cagey start with Wagner setting his side up in a 5-3-2 formation in an attempt to stop Liverpool’s attacking trident of Salah, Firmino, and Sadio Mane, while also leaving Steve Mounie and Laurent Depoitre up top ready to build counter-attacks.
The first chance fell to the visitors with Salah eventually controlling a Loris Karius long ball which arrived at him via Mane, but his shot was easily saved by Jonas Lossl.
But the best chance among the early exchanges fell to Depoitre at the other end. Philip Billing used his considerable stature to win a header against Joe Gomez which released Chris Lowe down the left. His cross was perfect for the big Belgian striker but he could only direct his shot at Karius.
The miss came back to bite them when the battle between the two German managers saw first blood go to Klopp courtesy of German midfielder, Can.
It was a thunderous effort from outside the box, hit perfectly on the half volley, and as soon as it left his boot it looked as if it would find the back of the net. And so it did, flying into the bottom corner. Having found his range, Can tried another pot shot from distance shortly after but it was blocked.
The home fans continued to make noise and Lowe’s free kick towards the end of the first half had them on their feet as it whistled past the post. It seemed that this would be the last action of the opening period, but Firmino’s effort in injury time was a real kick in the teeth for Huddersfield supporters.
Rather than come back into the game, the Terriers went further onto the back foot as Klopp’s troops dominated possession and controlled the game in the second half. They struggled to capitalise on this dominance, however, with Mane missing two headed chances, one of which was put on a plate for him by Can.
James Milner tested Lossl from distance but this time the German stopper was able to tip the ball over the bar. Salah was put through by a lofted ball down the right from Gomez, but he could only find the side netting from a narrow angle with Lossl already beaten.
Liverpool were having trouble scoring in open play, but were given an easier route to goal when referee Kevin Friend awarded a penalty for Billing’s clumsy manhandling of Can. Salah stepped up and sent Lossl the wrong way to make it three goals and three points.
Klopp used the latter part of the game to rest Salah, a player he will be relying on heavily in the coming weeks with Philippe Coutinho sold and Daniel Sturridge loaned out to West Bromwich Albion.
He had Danny Ings and Dominic Solanke on the bench, and the latter came on to give workhorse Firmino a break in the final few minutes.
Big tests await both sides next weekend as Huddersfield travel to Old Trafford, looking to do the double over Manchester United having already beaten them at home this season, while Liverpool host Tottenham in a clash which could have a big say in the fight for the top four.
Klopp and Wagner will share a drink afterwards and wish each other luck for the rest of the season. Both will need it if they’re to achieve their respective goals.