Jurgen Klopp's relationship with David Wagner could pay off for Liverpool
Huddersfield Town's promotion to the Premier League will have been warmly received at Anfield. The Yorkshire club's manager David Wagner is one of Jurgen Klopp's closest friends, while goalkeeper Danny Ward -- penalty-saving hero in two playoff victories -- was on loan with the Championship side from Liverpool.
Moving forward, having Huddersfield in the top flight could be beneficial to both clubs and Klopp's relationship with Wagner could work to both of their advantages, as it did this season with Ward.
Loaning players to other Premier League teams is not without its pitfalls. It's fine when you just want the player off your wage bill and need to put him in the shop window, as Liverpool did with Mamadou Sakho and Lazar Markovic, who went to Crystal Palace and Hull respectively this season, but it can be more difficult when it's a younger player in need of regular football.
For example, Liverpool once had high hopes for Andre Wisdom. Having made the breakthrough under Brendan Rodgers, Wisdom found himself down the pecking order and at an age where second-string action was of little benefit. In 2013, he had a successful loan spell in the Championship with Derby, but Liverpool wanted him to gain experience playing in the top flight, preferably operating in the centre of defence.
Subsequent loan moves to West Brom and Norwich may have seemed like good ideas at the time but Wisdom was only ever used sparingly and, when he did play, it was almost exclusively at right-back. There was little benefit to the player or to Liverpool, and Wisdom never fulfilled the potential he had shown as a teenager.
Jon Flanagan found himself in a similar situation at Burnley this year. Having battled back from a serious knee injury, the full-back needed to get his career back on track but instead made just three league starts. It was utterly pointless and Liverpool would have been better served loaning him to a Championship club where he could have played every week.
It was a wasted year for Flanagan and his reputation was harmed. Some will understandably ask: If you're not good enough for Burnley, how can you be considered good enough for Liverpool?
Situations are often more complex than that, though. Managers will often go with the players they know will be around for the long haul, rather than show preference to someone who, if he performs well, will usually return to his parent club and need replacing.
Burnley boss Sean Dyche did what he felt was right for his club and you can't blame him for that, but had Liverpool known how underused Flanagan would be they'd surely have sent him elsewhere.
Klopp's relationship with Wagner reduces the risk of that happening with Huddersfield and makes them the ideal landing spot for any Liverpool player in need of a loan move. Unfortunately for the Reds, Premier League rules prevent them loaning more than one player to any club, so they will have to think carefully about who would be best served by a move to Huddersfield.
It may well be Ward again, but his situation is complicated. He's highly thought of at Liverpool and a permanent move away seems unlikely at this stage. Yet with Simon Mignolet having staked a convincing claim to hold onto his first-team spot for next season, Ward would only be competing with Loris Karius for the backup job.
Klopp insists he wants Ward, Karius and Mignolet at the club next year, but it's difficult enough keeping the backup happy, let alone a third choice who is also in need of playing time. And this is where Huddersfield may come in.
Following their Wembley success on Monday, Wagner wasted no time in expressing his desire to have Ward back there next year, but perhaps he'll end up with Karius? A loan might be just what the young German keeper needs; he endured a difficult first season at Anfield but it would be foolish to write him off so quickly.
Karius would have no shortage of takers in his homeland, but how much would Liverpool benefit from that? If he's going to challenge for the No. 1 spot at Anfield, surely he needs to prove himself in England against the aerial threats posed by the likes of Watford and West Brom.
Neither Karius nor Ward will want to spend next season on the bench backing up Mignolet, but having qualified for Europe Klopp might be able to keep one of them happy by guaranteeing him a certain number of starts in the cup games.
Who that will be might not be determined until preseason, but don't bet against the loser of that battle ending up with Klopp's mate at Huddersfield.
Dave Usher is one of ESPN's Liverpool bloggers and the founder of LFC fanzine and website The Liverpool Way. Follow him on Twitter: @theliverpoolway.