We end 2019 with yet another 3 points at Anfield. It was a bit of a grind but, in the end, a deserved win despite a somewhat lacklustre performance. It was clear the team was suffering from the relentless fixture pile-up over this Christmas period and were unable to play with the same intensity as against Leicester. The win was all that mattered, though, and the Reds bagged another one.
In goal, Alisson was solid as ever. He didn’t have a whole lot to do, with his most notable save being a comfortable one after Virgil van Dijk got caught in possession.
The first-choice back four started the game and they all played well. Alexander-Arnold delivered a number of excellent balls into the box, however, late on in the game allowed a couple of Wolves players in behind him. I’ll put that down to tiredness. Joe Gomez and Virgil van Dijk were very impressive in the centre of defence with the Englishman particularly impressive. Robertson dealt well with the threat of Adama Traore after the Spaniard was introduced in the second half.
In midfield, Adam Lallana came into the starting lineup in place of Naby Keita, with Jordan Henderson and Gini Wijnaldum alongside him. It wasn’t the most creative of trios on paper and that’s how it panned out. Despite that, Adam Lallana did help himself to an unorthodox, but brilliant, assist with his shoulder for the only goal of the game. Without a Keita or Oxlade-Chamberlain in the centre of the pitch, a lot of pressure is placed on Alexander-Arnold and the front 3 to create all the chances. Combine this with Wolves playing a flat back-five, it becomes very difficult to get clear opportunities. Thankfully, one goal was enough.
The fab 3 started together again, but none of them performed to the best of their ability. Jurgen Klopp said before the match that Xherdan Shaqiri was set to start, but an injury put a stop to that. There is no doubt that Mane, Firmino and Salah need a rest and hopefully Origi, Shaqiri and new signing Minamino can provide to be adequate replacements when they come into the team.
Man of the Match for this one is going to go to Joe Gomez. Since coming into the team we’ve kept 4 clean sheets in 5 games after struggling to keep any before that his season. He was very good again today and with Lovren and Matip still out injured, his brilliant form has come at just the right time.