Liverpool 1 - 0 Wolves
Liverpool: Mane 42’
Last match to end what has turned out to be a pretty spectacular year for Liverpool, against what might end up being a tough side in Wolves. They’ve never truly been fully easy to beat, and it’s never been more important than today. We need to end the year as strong as we’ve been, and maintain that glorious gap at the top of the table. Especially as we get into what is normally the tough part of the season for Liverpool - January and February - once the adrenaline of December has worn off.
Here we go, the goal here is just not drop points. The Wolves fans in front of me think that a draw would be a win, for them, but not for us. Things get started quickly, with Trent Alexander-Arnold trying to recreate his Leicester goal two minutes in and then our front three getting forward enough for Mohamed Salah to send a shot over the bar. We look a little less incisive than we did on Thursday but you know, that was Thursday and only three days ago. We’re only about seven minutes in, so we probably just need a little more time to settle in.
Things have slowed, or settled, considerably since the opening minutes. Liverpool have taken quite a few shots, right at the keeper naturally, and Wolves have gotten forward enough to make things difficult for Joe Gomez and Trent at times, but thankfully Alisson hasn’t been called into service just yet. He’s probably enjoying the rest, to be honest. It’s been tough, getting forward and not having Wolves step in to intercept our third pass, or whatever it’s been. It’s going to be even tougher going forward to break them down.
This is going to be one of those late winners, isn’t it? We look no closer to scoring any goals than we did in the previous thirty minutes, but the frat boys in front of me seem to be enjoying it. Wolves have been organized and able to read our style of play a lot better than we... maybe prepared for? We just have to wear them out, which hopefully won’t take much longer.
JUST KIDDING SADIO MANE PUTS US AHEAD JUST BEFORE THE BREAK! After a VAR break for a possible handball on Adam Lallana, which wasn’t a handball, Liverpool are ahead 1-0! And of course, just as we let our guards down Wolves find an equalizer but they get the VAR treatment and it’s ruled offside.
We’re back for the second half, and naturally Klopp hasn’t made any changes. The frat boys in front of me area ready and raring to go for the second half, though, and so we have to assume Wolves are too. They get dangerously close to finding another equalizer in the 51st minute, but the shot goes wide.
Wolves look to make their first changes, bringing on goalscorer Adama Traore (with his career high four goals this season), but also taking off Neves which is probably good for us. We’re back to trying to break them down as they tackle all of our second balls, so we either need to speed things up or find ways around them. Klopp looks like he knows that too, as Naby Keita prepares to come on. If I’m being honest, things are a little tense.
As anticipated Keita comes on for Adam Lallana, to add a little more movement in the midfield. Now that he’s had a good run of games, Keita’s been feeling more comfortable and making more of a difference and hopefully he’ll be able to bring that to this game. Hopefully it makes it a little more interesting. It’s not that we’ve been bad, we’ve been great, but Wolves have also been good. Wolves make their third and final change in the 71st minutes, bringing on Raul Jimenez for Diogo.
The Wolves fans in front of me are convinced that they have the most goals from the 75th minute on, but they’re also in 7th place so uh, don’t know how that shakes out for them. Whereas we’ve won the majority of our games in the 87th minute this season. Liverpool look like they’ve settled into time wasting mode and honestly, if we can maintain this one-nil, it’d be nice. James Milner comes on for Georginio Wijnaldum and Divock Orgi comes on for Roberto Firmino, who could really use the rest, in the 85th minute - hopefully to continue to see this out.
(4 minutes of stoppage makes me nervous).
Liverpool did the thing, they won the game by 1, with a clean sheet, and Anthony Taylor did us the one favor he’s ever going to do so soak it up, Reds. We’re still top of the table.