Another testing assignment as Reds aim to be Christmas No.1 – Wolves vs. Liverpool Preview

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Liverpool make the trip to seventh-place Wolves on Friday night knowing they can build up a four-point lead over Man City at the top.

Wolves vs. Liverpool

Sunday, December 21, 2018 — 8pm (GMT)
Molineux
Premier League
Referee: Craig Pawson

The good times have continued at Anfield, with five wins on the bounce secured since that disappointing defeat away to Paris Saint-Germain.

Sunday’s 3-1 victory over Man United was another big moment in the Reds’ season, as they beat their rivals for the first time in the league since 2014.

This is a Liverpool side breaking records along the way and growing together under Jurgen Klopp—just six points dropped after 17 matches is an astonishing achievement.

Rather strangely, Klopp’s men will face a far sterner test than United provided when they head to Wolves on Friday evening.

Nuno Espirito Santo’s team have thrived since returning to the top flight in August, sitting seventh in the table on merit.

They play a rich brand of football that has taken points off City, United, Arsenal and Chelsea already, which is a clear warning sign to Liverpool.

If they rest on their laurels and take Wolves for granted, chances are they could come unstuck, but Klopp is sure to have his players switched on.

The Reds will be well-rested after a solid break and such is the confidence among the squad, yet another victory is entirely possible.

It won’t be easy, but the lure of being top of the Premier League at Christmas, pulling four clear of City in the process, should get them through.

 

Team News

BURNLEY, ENGLAND - Wednesday, December 5, 2018: Liverpool's captain James Milner celebrates scoring the first equalising goal during the FA Premier League match between Burnley FC and Liverpool FC at Turf Moor. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool are still without Trent Alexander-Arnold, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip, although the former could return against Newcastle on Boxing Day.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Rhian Brewster remain long-term absentees.

James Milner is expected to return after missing the victory over United, but Nathaniel Clyne will provide competition at right-back after impressing at Anfield.

Alisson, Dejan Lovren, Virgil van Dijk and Andy Robertson should complete the back line, with little need for rotation.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, November 11, 2018: Liverpool's Fabio Henrique Tavares 'Fabinho' during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Fulham FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Klopp will also be considering keeping matters the same in midfield, with Fabinho and Gini Wijnaldum superb in tandem last time around.

Naby Keita also did his bit without impressing as much, though there is a chance he could make way.

Jordan Henderson will be desperate to earn some playing time, as will the returning Milner, while Sunday’s hero Xherdan Shaqiri is pushing for a start.

The front three of Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah are all fit.

Jonny Castro is Wolves’ only injury absentee—Diogo Jota is a doubt—with Santo potentially picking the same side which beat Bournemouth 2-0 last Saturday.

 

Last 5 against Wolves (All Competitions)

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, January 28, 2017: Liverpool's goalkeeper Loris Karius looks dejected as Wolverhampton Wanderers score the opening goal during the FA Cup 4th Round match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Lost 2-1 – January 2017 (Origi; Stearman, Weimann)
Won 0-3 – January 2012 (Carroll, Bellamy, Kuyt)
Won 2-1 – September 2011 (Johnson OG, Suarez; Fletcher)
Won 3-0 – January 2011 (Torres x2, Meireles)
Lost 1-0 – December 2010 (Ward)

 

Molineux

WOLVERHAMPTON, ENGLAND - Tuesday, January 31, 2012: A general view of Molineux, the home of Wolverhampton Wanderers, before the Premiership match against Liverpool. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Capacity: 31,700

Away fans’ pubs: Truth be told, there aren’t many places for away fans to drink in the town centre. The Bluebrick literally behind the station does allow away fans in though, I believe, but is more of a restaurant.

One piece of advice for visiting fan: Rather than trying to drink in Wolverhampton, get the 15-minute train into Birmingham and have a drink there. There’s a much better selection of pubs.

 

Did You Know?

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, December 16, 2018: Liverpool's manager J¸rgen Klopp celebrates after the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Manchester United FC at Anfield. Liverpool won 3-1. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool have only played 17 Premier League games this season, yet their current points tally is level with the most they have ever got after 20 matches!

The Reds have acquired 45 points to date, at an average of 2.64 per game, drawing them level with Rafa Benitez’s class of 2008/09 at the 20-game stage.

It is a quite extraordinary start to the season, with the only points dropped coming against ‘Big Six’ rivals: draws with Chelsea, Man City and Arsenal.

 

Form

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, December 16, 2018: Liverpool's Xherdan Shaqiri celebrates scoring the second goal during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Manchester United FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Wolves – Last five results (all competitions)

Won 2-0 vs. Bournemouth
Won 2-1 vs. Newcastle
Won 2-1 vs. Chelsea
Lost 2-1 vs. Cardiff
Lost 2-0 vs. Huddersfield

Liverpool – Last five results (all competitions)

Won 3-1 vs. Man United
Won 1-0 vs. Napoli
Won 4-0 vs. Bournemouth
Won 3-1 vs. Burnley
Won 1-0 vs. Everton

 

Klopp’s View

Speaking in his pre-Wolves press conference, Klopp said he has no worries about Alisson, following his mistake against United:

“That goal was absolutely no problem. We had a Christmas party on Sunday night—he was good, I think—he looked good!

“Maybe that’s a good example; I knew it before that it will happen. He did so outstanding so far and now he’s made two mistakes [since the start of the season] – obvious mistakes where it is clear.

“He lost the ball against Leicester and [then against United] the ball dropped, everyone saw how it was—it was a delivered ball then the knee was in the wrong position, so then the ball goes back to Lingard. Things like this happen.

“It is much more important to be there in all the other situations. Not in a spectacular way, just catch the balls you can catch.

“These kind of mistakes will always happen for all goalkeepers in the world. He has no problem with that and I have absolutely no problem with that.

“Even if it was a more decisive thing, things like this happen. It is not about the moment, it’s really about all the things—the good things—you can do. The good things you influence on in our game.

“That’s what we know, what we have seen, so it was absolutely no problem.”

 

TV & Live Blog Info

BIRKENHEAD, ENGLAND - Wednesday, July 12, 2017: A female television camera operator during a preseason friendly match at Prenton Park. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Wolves vs. Liverpool kicks off the Premier League weekend action, with coverage on Sky Sports Main Event from 7pm (GMT).

The match gets underway at 8pm.

Chris Williams is on This is Anfield live blog duty, holding an incredible record of 23 Premier League live blogs without defeat.

Come and join him!

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