Wolves Expert: ‘Can’t deny Klopp has been absolutely fantastic at Liverpool’

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Premier League Showdown: Liverpool vs Wolves Preview Podcast

As the Premier League season draws to a close, Liverpool face Wolves at Anfield in a fixture charged with anticipation and strategic nuance. On the Rival Recon podcast from Anfield Index, Wolves expert Dave Azzopardi and podcast host Hari Sethi delve into the intricacies of this match-up, offering valuable insights that illuminate the journey of both clubs throughout the season. Here, we synthesize their discussion, emphasizing key points about Liverpool, Wolves, and the broader Premier League context.

Wolves’ Season in Review

Wolves’ season has been a rollercoaster, marked by significant transfers, managerial changes, and a push for stability. Reflecting on the season, Dave Azzopardi highlighted the early departure of Ruben Neves, calling him “a cult hero” for Wolves. He noted, “Ruben was always linked with a move… he was unbelievable in the championship and fantastic in the Premier League.”

Azzopardi further dissected the transfer activities, pointing out the major outgoings and incomings. Notable departures included Matheus Nunes to Manchester City and Nathan Collins to Brentford. These moves, particularly Nunes’ exit, were contentious. “Matheus Nunes treated the club with total disrespect… refused to train as soon as City showed interest,” Azzopardi revealed.

Photo: IMAGO

Gary O’Neil’s Challenges

Gary O’Neil’s appointment as Wolves’ manager was another focal point. Taking over after Julen Lopetegui’s exit, O’Neil faced a squad low on morale and struggling with goal-scoring issues. Azzopardi explained, “Gary O’Neil came to a team where morale and confidence were quite low… the team really struggled to score goals last season.”

However, O’Neil managed to turn things around to an extent. “Every challenge he’s had, he’s overcome quite well,” said Azzopardi. One of O’Neil’s tactical successes was switching to a back five against Manchester City, which worked “absolutely perfectly.”

Key Players and Tactical Insights

Discussing key players, Azzopardi praised several individuals who have made significant contributions. He highlighted, “Pablo Sarabia has been fantastic… I think he’s got 20 plus goal contributions this season.” He also mentioned Hwang Hee-chan, who “scored a great number of goals again this season,” despite his occasional inconsistencies.

In terms of tactics, Azzopardi emphasised the importance of consistency across 90 minutes, a recurring issue for Wolves. “First half against Liverpool at Molineux, we were phenomenal… but we fell apart in the second half,” he noted.

Photo: IMAGO

Liverpool’s Perspective

From Liverpool’s side, the focus is on concluding the season on a high note, especially with Jurgen Klopp’s potential final game as manager. Hari Sethi reflected on Klopp’s tenure, stating, “It’s ultimately the person that we’re going to miss… seeing someone at a club for this long in the Premier League era is quite unusual.”

Azzopardi shared his thoughts on Klopp, acknowledging his achievements despite not being a personal fan. “I can’t deny how good he’s been as a head coach… the success, the silverware… Premier League title, Champions League, absolutely fantastic,” he said.

Premier League Reflections and Future Prospects

The discussion also touched on broader Premier League issues, such as VAR controversies. Wolves have proposed scrapping VAR due to its perceived inconsistencies. Azzopardi commented, “Wolves have had very bad luck with VAR… it’s frustrating and it’s just boring.”

Looking ahead, both Liverpool and Wolves have strategic decisions to make. Wolves are likely to continue their model of selling key assets and reinvesting. Azzopardi projected, “Probably Neto will leave, we need a new number nine… there’s a lot we can strengthen.”

Photo: IMAGO

For Liverpool, the focus will be on transitioning smoothly under new management. The upcoming match against Wolves is more than just a season finale; it’s a prelude to significant changes for both clubs in the Premier League landscape.

As Liverpool prepare to host Wolves at Anfield, the insights from Dave Azzopardi and Hari Sethi on the Rival Recon podcast provide a comprehensive understanding of what to expect. With tactical shifts, key player performances, and the broader context of the Premier League in play, this match is set to be a compelling end to the season. Fans and analysts alike will be watching closely, not just for the immediate outcomes but for the signals it sends about the future directions of these storied clubs.

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