Wolves 1 - 2 Liverpool
Liverpool: Henderson 8’, Firmino 85’
Wolves: Jimenéz 51’
Jürgen Klopp names an unchanged starting XI from the one that defeated Manchester United at the weekend, a rare occurrence for the German. Wolves possess a unique threat, however, and will undoubtedly put the Reds to one of their sterner tests for the remainder of the campaign.
A high-octane opening ten minutes sees the Reds take the lead after a set-piece, Trent Alexander-Arnold placing one of his vintage deliveries perfectly onto the onrushing Captain Jordan Henderson, who buries the ball in the net behind Rui Patricio, via his shoulder.
Either side of the goal, the hosts have decent chances, the latter of the two through Matt Doherty, who arrives all alone at the back post following a short Wolves corner and a wicked inswinger from Ruben Neves, but the Irishman is unable to put his header on target.
The hosts hold onto the ball well, attempting to use their skill players in the wide areas, as Liverpool look to counter through Mohamed Salah. The strategy nearly succeeds in the 20th minute, as Sadio Mané finds the Egyptian with a gorgeous deep cross off his left foot, but Salah’s feinted shot takes him too far across the goal, and a defender gets in the way of the finish.
The Senegalese is denied only minutes later by more last-ditch defending from the Wolves backline, before he is forced to come off on the half hour mark due to what appears to be some sort of hamstring injury. We cross every limb we possess that it is nothing serious. You should too. Takumi Minamino comes on to makes his Premier League debut.
As has been the case in recent months, the Reds slow the game down towards the end of the half, holding onto the ball and denying the opposition any meaningful possession, without creating much for themselves. That is until the second minute of added time, when Salah goes on a glorious run past two defenders, but Doherty makes an excellent recovery and gets himself in the way of the Egyptian’s shot.
The second half begins in the same way the first did, with the ball flying back and forth between the two teams’ final thirds. Two minutes into the frame, Salah picks Traore’s pockets outside the Wolves area and unleashes a powerful drive towards the far corner, but Patricio pushes it wide for a corner.
Only minutes later the hosts equalise, and it’s that nuisance Adama Traore at the heart of it once again. The Spaniard takes advantage of an overzealous Andrew Robertson on the break, receives the ball from Raul Jimenez in the space the Scot vacated, and chips a cross onto the head of the Mexican, who tucks it into the far side netting. The Reds’ finally concede, after 725 minutes of pristine sheets.
The Wolves are purring now, and only minutes later Robbo brings down Traore just outside the area, earning a yellow card. The free kick is launched into the box, but Alisson punches it back out to safety.
On the hour mark, the Reds attempt to strike back and Firmino should score, as he pounces on the rebound from a blocked Minamino effort, but the Brazilian somehow manages to hit a prone Patricio who has left his near post gaping as he dove for the initial effort.
The league leaders are genuinely shook now, and Jimenez is once again released down that inside left channel, but Alisson does a tremendous job, stays tall, and saves the point blank effort with his face.
The Reds make the necessary substitutions, as Fabinho comes on for an Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain whose legs cannot yet last more than an hour. The visitors regain some semblance of control, and slowly, methodically begin to probe for a late winner.
It nearly comes with ten mintes to go, as Firmino skips past Conor Coady, but Patricio again makes a save, this time with his legs as the ball rolls towards his far corner. He cannot deny the Brazilian forever, though, and with five minutes to go, Big Bob receives the a Henderson pass in the area, skips past Roman Saïss, and hammers the ball into the top corner with his left. Beautiful.
Literally unstoppable. You love to see it.