Wolves v Liverpool – The FA Cup Replay Preview 

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After yet another disappointing Premier League fixture, Liverpool once again head into a game with an urgent need to improve their form. With the painful 0-3 loss to Brighton still fresh in our memories, it really does seem likely that a disappointing result will unfold, as they travel to the Molineux Stadium for their FA Cup replay. Last week saw the first tie end in a 1-1 drawn, so this is a game that really could add salt the reds substantial wounds.

 

Wolves enjoyed a successful weekend at home, with visiting West Ham falling to a 0-1 loss. The Wolverhampton Wanderers new manager, Julen Lopetegui, continues his task of making his West Midlands team formidable once more, and a period of positive results is now confirmed. This game could well see the Spaniard roll out a stronger side, with last week’s draw at Anfield earned by a combination of first team and reserve players.

 

On the availability front, Wolves will be without Francisco Tavares Oliveira, Pedro Lomba Neto, Diego Costa, Sasa Kalajdzic and Boubacar Traore. In goal we should see a cup start for Matija Šarkić once more, after his impressive showing in the first game. Their Portuguese number one, José Sá, is available for selection, though may be rested this coming weekend. At left back we should see Rayan Aït-Nouri recalled to the first team, whilst Jonathan Castro Otto could come in for Nélson Semedo at right back. The centre back pairing of Max Kilman and Nathan Collins will probably retain their places, though Toti Gomes could come in for one of them after his previous starting role at Anfield.

 

The centre midfield group of (Liverpool linked) Matheus Nunes and Rúben Neves will want to start this game, as they continue to build their double pivot partnership. They had a very impressive outing versus West Ham, but the manager may well look to rest one of them, which could reopen the door for Joe Hodge again. Just ahead of them, the veteran João Moutinho will surely drop to the Wolves bench, with the management of the 36-year-olds minutes now a necessity. Raúl Jiménez, Adama Traoré, and Gonçalo Guedes will be hoping to come in for this game, with all three starting on the bench at the weekend. 

 

Liverpool come into this game after a torrid showing against Brighton, which saw them thumped 3-0 on their travels at the weekend. The injuries continue to be a cause for complaint for Jurgen Klopp, who is still without Virgil van Dijk for several weeks. Alongside him on the treatment table remains Luis Diaz, Diogo Jota, Arthur Melo, Bobby Firmino, and James Milner.

 

Alisson Becker should continue in goal, with Joe Gomez, Ibrahima Konate, Joel Matip, and Nat Phillips vying for defensive starts. Calvin Ramsey could be a surprise pick at right back, if Trent requires a rest from this competition. Kostas Tsimikas may come back into the team for Robbo, with some players perhaps needing that break from first team action. The midfield should see Naby Keita make a first start of the season with Curtis Jones likely play on the right of a midfield three. Harvey Elliott may start this game, unless Stefan Bajčetić is preferred in one of those three roles. Up front will be a dilemma with so many absences. Darwin was injured before the weekend, so will not be risked in midweek. Ben Doak could make a surprise start with both Mohamed Salah and Cody Gakpo vying to retain their places.

 

This is a game that neither team wants, but you sense that Wolves will be able to target a wounded animal. As Klopp continues to look for a way to improve his struggling group, his opposition manager will simply have to apply the same level of pressure as last week.

 

I just do not see how the reds can come out of this game with any positives, especially with a jaded manager who is uncertain of the real issues. I foresee goals a plenty in this tie, with the home side likely to outwork outfight their visitors.

 

Player to watch – Alisson Becker

 

Score Prediction:

Wolves 4 – 2 Liverpool 

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