Venue – Molineux Stadium, Wolverhampton
Referee – Michael Oliver
Date & Time – Thursday, January 23rd @ 20:00
Current Odds – Wolves 19/4, Draw 14/5, Liverpool 8/13
The unstoppable Reds train clambers on. Next stop, Wolverhampton. Some are predicting this will be our second draw of the season. Will Jurgen Klopp’s mighty Redmen drop points at Molineux? It’s possible, of course. But it just seems that this Liverpool side is not going to let up until that Premier League trophy is guaranteed.
Nuno Espirito Santo’s team has recovered well after a poor start to the 2019/20 season. The fact they have just 5 defeats in 23 league games shows how difficult it is to take three points against this side.
Wolves currently lie in sixth place, level on points with Manchester United and ahead of ‘bigger’ clubs such as Spurs and Arsenal. Nuno must be confident of bettering last season’s 7th-place finish in the Premier League with those two north London teams struggling to find any real consistency.
Wolves did the double over Manchester City this season – winning 2-0 at the Etihad and 3-2 at Molineux – to take six points from Pep Guardiola’s champions. They had a brilliant second-half comeback victory at in-form Southampton last weekend. Second-half strikes from Pedro Neto and Raul Jimenez (x2) gave them a 3-2 win after being 2-0 down at the break.
Wolves lost 1-0 at Anfield in late December so will be eager to get some payback on Thursday night.
And the beat goes on. 64 points from a possible 66 in the Premier League. 21 wins from 22 games – the 1-1 draw at Old Trafford the only blemish on the record for 2019/20.
Liverpool have kept seven consecutive clean sheets now so the defensive frailties that were showing earlier in the season seem to have been remedied.
If Klopp’s men get 10 wins from their remaining 16 league games, they will have secured a 19th league title for the club. And that’s only necessary if Manchester City’s form improves drastically and they win their remaining 15 league games to finish on 93 points. 10 more wins would give Liverpool 94 and see them finish first.
Yet, that’s not going to be needed. City are not the force they were last season. However, it doesn’t matter if City do surprise us all and get to 93 points, or even close, because this Reds team will finish on a higher total than 94.
Wolves Team News
Willy Boly and Ruben Vinagre are both ruled out for this game through injury. Boly, in particular, is a big loss to Nuno’s side. He’s an important part of the back-three system used by Wolves.
Diogo Jota will face a late fitness test to see if he is available for selection on Thursday night.
Nuno will probably stick with his preferred 3-4-3 setup for this fixture with Adama Traore and Raul Jimenez likely to cause the most problems for the Liverpool defence.
Liverpool Team News
Fabinho and Joel Matip are both fit and available again after making the bench for last Sunday’s win over Manchester United. Xherdan Shaqiri and Dejan Lovren will face a late fitness test before any decision is made on their suitability for the matchday squad against Wolves.
James Milner, Naby Keita and Nathaniel Clyne are all out but should be returning to full training within the next week or two.
The one change Klopp is most likely to make is bringing Fabinho into the starting eleven at the base of The Reds’ midfield. Jordan Henderson will probably be rested, leaving Gini Wijnaldum and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to make up the rest of Liverpool’s midfield.
Wolves XI (3-4-3) – Patricio; Dendoncker, Coady, Saiss; Doherty, Moutinho, Neves, Jonny; Traore, Jimenez, Neto
Liverpool XI (4-3-3) – Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, Van Dijk, Robertson; Fabinho, Wijnaldum, Oxlade-Chamberlain; Salah, Firmino, Mané
WHEN THEY LAST MET
A Sadio Mané goal late in the first half was enough to give Liverpool the three points when the teams met at Anfield just before the new year.
Last season, Liverpool travelled to Molineux twice. Klopp’s side won the league game 2-0 with goals from Mohamed Salah and Virgil van Dijk. Wolves were the victors a month later in the FA Cup, winning 2-1 thanks to strikes from Raul Jimenez and Ruben Neves, either side of a Divock Origi cracker.
WOLVES 1 – 2 LIVERPOOL
This is probably one of Liverpool’s toughest remaining league games. Wolves will more than likely bag a goal but I can still see The Reds grafting out the win. As mentioned before, this Liverpool team is like an animal with a bloodlust. They will not stop until that 30-year thirst is quenched.