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JURGEN KLOPP and David Wagner were the centre of attention on Saturday as the two best friends met for the first time in their managerial careers.
The German pair forged a friendship during their playing days together at Mainz before working as coaches at Borussia Dortmund, and now find themselves in the Premier League managing Liverpool and Huddersfield Town respectively.
Wagner’s side were the underdogs but came into the game on a high after a win against Manchester United. Liverpool were still reeling from their embarrassing defeat at Wembley against Spurs in their last outing, and Klopp was desperate to turn things around.
The visitors defended well for much of the game but were eventually undone when an Alberto Moreno long ball deflected off right-back Tommy Smith into the path of Daniel Sturridge who finished expertly.
Liverpool’s three goals came in a second half which was an improvement on their recent displays, and the second goal was a rare strike from a corner when Roberto Firmino headed home James Milner’s cross.
“The first goal, we forced the situation between Firmino and Daniel but the second one after the set piece felt like Christmas,” Klopp said.
“It is a big relief, the pressure was there, there is no doubt about that. I could hear that the people didn’t like the first half too much, but in the end maybe no-one remembers that after the second half.”
Georginio Wijnaldum added a third to make sure of the points, powering home after being set up by Mohamed Salah.
Wagner believed Klopp’s Liverpool deserved the win, but admired his players’ defensive discipline.
“I would say at the end it was a fair result,” he said.
“Until the first goal we played defensively very well, well organised and we neutralised their offensive power. I haven’t seen Anfield so quiet until the first goal.”
He went on to praise his side’s supporters who’d made the trip across the Pennines.
“If there was noise in the stadium then it came more or less from our away supporters. They make everyone connected with this football club very proud.”
While Klopp who came out on top, Wagner was in good spirits and commented on the experience of coming up against his friend.
“During the game it was totally normal. Before and after the game it was a bit strange, yes. I congratulate him and Liverpool for this win.”
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