Liverpool 2 – 0 Wolves – The Post-Mortem 

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In a turnaround of recent events, the reds continued to pick up vital Premier League points, after their bore draw with Palace, and humbling by Real Madrid. The return to form saw a controlled performance built upon desire and efficiency, with a 2-0 loss possibly flattering the visiting side.

At centre back, we saw the return of Ibrahima Konaté, to form that incredibly talented partnership with Virgil. These two monsters had a couple of early mishaps, yet once the groove was found, there never looked like being anything other than a home clean sheet. At right back, Trent looked far more purposeful, far more intense, and his overall performance only benefited the reds. In what should not have been a surprise, Kostas Tsimikas came into the side for the out of sorts Andy Robertson. The Greek left back had a very solid outing, one which should see his Scottish teammate remain on the bench this coming weekend.

The midfield is always the biggest area for debate, with so many injuries coupled with a plethora of bad form. The Palace game saw an incredibly lacklustre trio of Hendo, Milner, and Naby starting, with all three dropping out for this game. It appears the little Guinean may have had a knock, given his omission from the squad completely. The starting group for this game saw Stefan Bajčetić and Harvey Elliott flanking the holding midfielder, Fabinho. It was a starting three now allowed an abundance energy and vitality around an experienced controller, which worked ideally for this game. With Thiago out for a few more weeks, this is the threesome that should be rolled out for every league game, until the Spaniard returns. With Stefan offering a lovely balance of positional discipline and energy to the LCM role, it meant that the Brazilian beside him had continual support to shift over when needed. Our English teenager was a bundle of work rate and endeavour, with an urgency to contribute as an attacking asset, whilst carrying out his protection duties as required.

Despite the solid score line, this was a game without any brilliant attacking performance. The starting forward line looked dangerous and bright, yet apart from an assist from one and a goal from the other, both Jota and Salah were below their best. Darwin once more had a game that had the opposite side struggling to maintain, with the Raging Bull able to make sudden impacts with his power and direct nature. The overall contribution (of the front line) was what was needed, yet there seemed to be a little too much emphasis on individual output, rather than working in tandem. Jürgen Klopp has had to jungle a forever changing line (this campaign), therefore this ever-evolving front line will undoubtedly take time to fully immerse themselves with each other’s games.

GK – Alisson Becker

RB – Trent Alexander Arnold

LB – Kostas Tsimikas

RCB – Virgil van Djik (c)

LCB – Ibrahima Konaté

CDM – Fabinho

RCM – Harvey Elliott

LCM – Stefan Bajčetić

LF – Darwin Núñez

CF – Diogo Jota

RF – Mohamed Salah

Substitutions;

76’ Cody Gakpo – Diogo Jota

79’ Jordan Henderson – Stefan Bajčetić

89’ Roberto Firmino – Darwin Núñez

89’ James Milner – Trent Alexander Arnold

With the line ups and substitutions as shown above, the match started with the Reds stuttering, before finding both control and rhythm to their game. The ruthless nature came later on, but was well worth the wait.

73’ Liverpool 1 – 0 Wolves

Virgil van Dijk (Diogo Jota)

77’ Liverpool 2 – 0 Wolves

Mohamed Salah (Kostas Tsimikas)

With these two teams seemingly meeting every week this year, it is curious how the match ups have been so different at times. The inconsistency of both is clear, yet the Anfield side were able to close out their love-in with Wolves, with a very strong display that was full of positives. The physicality and intensity throughout the eleven starters were so key, as this allowed for far more confidence building possession, with the away side very much on the periphery.

The goals came only after Darwin had had opener chalked off, with a dubious VAR decision. The explosive nature of the Uruguayan will be a huge threat this Sunday (against Manchester United), with his pace causing so many dilemmas to the opposition. The opening goal was netted by the man of the match, Virgil van Dijk. With an arrowed head (from a corner) aimed for the far post, José Sá was able to make a brilliant save to parry the ball away. Our Portuguese striker, Jota, was able to drive a cross back towards his skipper, who eventually found the net with a smartly headed goal. The relief within our team was intoxicating, as the stadium erupted to the long awaited first strike. The second goal was well deserved, given the home sides dominance of the game. Our Greek left back was able to find the right moment to hit (literally) our Egyptian King, who saw the ball into the net after throwing a leg in the direction of the cross. The game ebbed away at this point, with the manager looking to make a raft of changes in the final stages.

This Sunday we welcome Manchester United, before a trip to Bournemouth. With Champions League progression now far out of our realistic reach, it means that the league schedule must take precedence. United, Tottenham, and Newcastle are the targets, therefore the squad needs to be managed in order to give ourselves the best shot at top four. With European football shortly ending for us (for this season at least), every asset needs to be aimed towards what is attainable, with Real Madrid acting us little more than a very outside chance.

This game was a positive step forward, with a performance that should have seen a far wider score line. Moments count for this group; therefore, this result needs to be the springboard within our chase. The manager got everything right against Wolves, let us see how he does against our fiercest rivals this Sunday.

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