While newly promoted sides Fulham and Cardiff have struggled to make an impact so far this season, Wolves have truly thrived in England’s top flight. They sit seventh, just a point of Manchester United, and fully deserving of their lofty table position.
A key to that success was that they gambled on building a team last season, while still in the Championship, that was meant to be able to compete in the Premier League—both in talent and style—which has given them a settled squad good enough now to compete.
“That is an outstanding project,” was Jürgen Klopp’s take on Wolves when he was asked about Liverpool’s upcoming opponents. “What they did last year in the Championship, I’m not sure that happened too often, the way they played.
“Usually in the Championship you go up with this kind of old-school British football. It’s a tough league and it makes sense. I think the only two teams in the last few years who did it differently were Huddersfield and Wolves. It’s really unbelievable what they did.”
Cardiff approached the Championship in a more traditional manner and kept the core of their team together. They sit 16th. Fulham invested heavily over the summer, trying to quickly build themselves a quality Premier League side. They sit 20th.
After making their biggest moves last year, Wolves did make changes over the summer, but not more than one would have expected from a side that was already established. That has helped them. And that will make them a tough opponent on Friday.
“They are really strong,” Klopp noted. “We have go there and really be at our best again. They do a really good job. The way they defend as a team, coming from a football-playing side, is really impressive.”