Liverpool and Wolves were both coming off of short rest, with Wolves getting just 48 hours to recover. The game was unsurprisingly not pretty, but Liverpool showed yet again that they can grind out a result.
Join us as we try and separate narrative from reality of the match up and how it all went down in the end.
Joe Gomez: The center back was immense today, showing all facets of his game. He read the game well, and used his impressive speed to cover when needed. He also showed nice vision and foot skills several times as he carried the ball past a pressing attacker and into the midfield. He’s rounding back into the imperious form he had at the start of last season.
Sadio Mane: This is as much for Mane’s defensive work as it is for his well taken goal. Mane is eight up there with Roberto Firmino with minutes played, and like the Brazilian, his work rate never seems to drop off. He popped up frequently in the defensive end to support Andrew Robertson, and he shadowed Adama Traore when he came on the field.
Adam Lallana: The midfielder put in an admirable shift while getting a rare start. He made a great run to assist Sadio Mane, and was pressing defenders and midfielders with his usual exuberance. He still had some not so great moments, but overall, it was a positive performance when called upon.
Clean Sheets FC: Don’t look now, but Liverpool have recorded 5 clean sheets in a row in the Premier League, and 7 in their last 8 games in all competitions.
Anthony Taylor: Referees are human. I get that. I’ve refereed a few sports and have an inkling of how difficult it is. With that said, Taylor was just terrible in the middle today. He was extremely inconsistent with what was called a foul, including some absolutely obvious infractions where both steams stopped because everyone else on the field knew it was a foul.
The Application of VAR for Offside: With all of the technology involved, it still seems ridiculously subjective with respect to where the lines are drawn for onside versus offside. Liverpool were the beneficiaries of the call today, but have been on the other end of seemingly good goals taken away by the hair of an armpit.
Rest and Recovery for Players: As a fan, it’s been a lot of fun to have games seemingly every time I turn the TV on. It was very obvious, however, how tired players were by the end of the game. With such a short turn around, especially for Wolves, this was never destined to be an especially well played game.
Credit To The Opponent
Wolves finished off an epic comeback against Manchester City just 48 hours before kicking off against the Premier League leading, and current World Champions, Liverpool. Even while sitting their start striker Raul Jiminez and their dangerous winger Adama Traore to start the game, Wolves to make a nuisance of themselves. Nuno Espirito Santo’s well-drilled side was difficult to break down, and managed to create a few solid opportunities late in the game (with the goal disallowed notwithstanding).
What Happens Next
Liverpool have made the turn to the back half of the season with a 13 point advantage in the table (and a game in hand). No rest for the weary, unfortunately. The fixture congestion continues as Liverpool host a tough Sheffield United side on Thursday. This could be the first sighting of new signing Takumi Minamino if his registration is approved in time.