Wolverhampton vs Liverpool
| Thursday, January 23rd |
Premier League | Molineux Stadium
8PM BST / 3PM EST
With a full FA Cup round coming up at the weekend, it’s midweek premier League action for the Reds, who take on Wolverhampton Wanderers for the second time in four weeks.
Liverpool came out on top at Anfield back in December, albeit only by the single goal, and not without surviving a few scares towards the end of the match, as the preposterous winter schedule began to show and legs began to tire.
Nuno Espirito Santo’s squad remains one of the tougher style matchups for the Merseysiders, accomplished in a back three and willing and able to hit lightning quick counters, utilising the full width of the pitch against the narrow defensive block favoured by Jürgen Klopp.
The Midlanders currently sit sixth in the table, on points with Manchester United, and — should Chelsea continue their patchy form — could be in with a shout at fourth spot and Champions League qualification. The emergence of Adama Traoré as a genuine threat in the final third to go with an already impressive — albeit suspiciously acquired — collection of talent seems to have pushed the Wolves to the next level this season, and they will undoubtedly be looking to play spoilers against the league leaders tomorrow night.
Projected Liverpool Lineup (4-3-3)
Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, van Dijk, Robertson; Fabinho, Henderson, Wijnaldum; Mané, Firmino, Salah
With a trip to League One Shrewsbury coming up at the weekend, one would expect Jürgen Klopp to put out his strongest possible XI tomorrow night. Dejan Lovren and Joël Matip are both back in regular training and available for selection, but given that the Reds are on a seven-match clean sheet streak with Joe Gomez partnering Virgil van Dijk in, there is little chance of any rotation in the backline.
Fabinho got his first minutes in nearly two months on Sunday, and is in contention for a start at the Molineux, providing his manager with the chance to mix and match in midfield. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will be selected if the idea is to press the opposition into oblivion, while Georginio Wijnaldum can provide more control. The in-form captain Jordan Henderson is nearly certain to start, particularly with both Naby Keïta and James Milner missing out through injury.
Xherdan Shaqiri has picked up yet another knock and will sit this one out, meaning that, unless Divock Origi has done something absolutely spectacular in training this week, we will see that magical front three once more.
What the Managers Said
Jürgen Klopp: “You cannot play on a 50 or 60 per cent basis against Wolves, then you have absolutely no chance. That’s the challenge for that game.”
Nuno Espirito Santo: “We have to compete. That is the word - compete. When you compete, you don’t give up. Every ball is important.”
Referee: Michael Oliver
Assistant referees: Darren Cann, Dan Robathan
Fourth official: Paul Tierney
VAR: Craig Pawson, Derek Eaton
Kickoff is set for 8PM GMT/3PM EST tomorrow, and television listings for the match can be found on LiveSoccerTV.
In the meantime, and as always, we’ll be keeping you updated with all the buildup to the game, including team news as it’s released, our live matchday thread, and post-match recaps from The Liverpool Offside staff. If you want to join the discussion, sign up for an SB Nation account to have your say on the action as it happens.