Liverpool will be top for Christmas. Jurgen Klopp‘s men remain the team to beat as Wolves become the 27th side to taste defeat at the hands of the German.
Liverpool have had to adapt to a new type of pressure, no longer playing catch-up to Man City. The Anfield club lead the Premier League as the hunter becomes the hunted.
The Reds’ boss made two changes from the side that overcame Man Utd with ease. In came James Milner for Nathaniel Clyne, while in the middle of the park Gini Wijnaldum made way for club captain Jordan Henderson.
The weather that greeted everyone in the West Midlands was dreadful, it may have been Christmas but those on the side of the pitch looked less than full of the joys the holiday can bring.
Wolves provided a stern test, and the club from the Black Country attacked with intent from the first whistle, driven forward by captain and massive Red, Conor Coady.
The hosts gave Liverpool a scare after only four minutes—Fabinho‘s short pass was intercepted by Joao Moutinho.
The Wolves player picked out Adama Traore whose shot bobbled just wide, it was a warning that Liverpool needed to be fully concentrated.
Alisson had another similar moment to that seen against Man United—however, the wet surface didn’t help the Liverpool ‘keeper and thankfully the fumble led to nothing.
Just when the Reds needed to grab the game by the neck and impose themselves upon it, they got the goal to take the wind out of their hosts.
Fabinho played a one-two with Sadio Mane on the right then picked out Mohamed Salah—the Egyptian flicked the ball past Rui Patricio with the outside of his boot, and Liverpool were in front.
With the weather deteriorating the second half continued in the same vein as the first—the hosts allowing the Reds the majority of the play, looking to hit them on the counter.
At the back, Milner was putting in another dependable shift—it doesn’t matter where Klopp asks him to play, he does it to great effect.
Meanwhile Virgil van Djik was again a big presence, nothing and nobody was getting past him.
Mane was beginning to find space in behind the Wolves midfield and in front of their back line. His linkup play with both Salah and Roberto Firmino was something to behold.
If Van Djik was pulling the strings in defence then it was to be in the Wolves box where the Dutchman would have the game’s telling moment. Just when Liverpool looked to have stepped off the pace the defender hit their second.
Salah drilled the ball into the box and Van Dijk was on hand to sidefoot a volley home. It was a wonderful finish that any striker would have been proud of.
And it was a goal that made the game safe: Liverpool once again had three points and a clean sheet and come the final whistle the celebrations were made in front of the travelling fans.
Newcastle is next up, but there will be a lot of people already focusing on a massive game with Man City come the New Year.