Liverpool battled to a vital 1-0 win against Wolves at Anfield thanks to Sadio Mane’s goal to restore the 13-point lead over Leicester.
Liverpool 1-0 Wolves
Premier League, Anfield
December 29, 2019
Goals: Mane 44′
Alisson – 7 (out of 10)
After effectively enjoying a night off at Leicester, this was a busier outing for the Brazilian.
Was beaten by Neto—whose goal was thankfully disallowed—but made a huge save in the second half to deny Diogo Jota and bail out Virgil van Dijk after a rare error.
Dealt really well with some testing back-passes, though his own distribution seemed unnecessarily rushed at times and put the Reds under avoidable pressure.
Once again he delivered at the big moment with a save and that’s all you can ask to edge the tight games.
The world’s best right-back had a tough job to follow his 10-out-of-10 performance against Leicester, but was still in good form at Anfield.
A typically marauding presence in the first half as he was involved with everything the Reds did going forward—acting once again as the chief playmaker from right-back.
Was spot on defensively, showing patience to hold up Jota in a dangerous position in the first half, while also defending his back post strongly.
Visibly tired as the second half wore on, but battled through to help preserve the clean sheet.
Joe Gomez – 8 (Man of the Match)
A run of games in his natural position has allowed Gomez to rediscover his top level—and this was another excellent performance.
The centre-back was flawless in his defending: strong in the physical battles and perfect with the timing of his challenges against a tricky, mobile Wolves front line.
Showed his lightning recovery pace on a couple of occasions which is such a vital asset.
This was a third league clean sheet in a row with Gomez starting, and in form like this he looks the best partner to Van Dijk.
Virgil van Dijk – 7
This was a mixed evening for Liverpool’s No. 4, who wasn’t quite his usual imperious self at Anfield.
Made Sadio Mane’s opening goal by dropping a pinpoint pass over the Wolves defence to the onrushing Adam Lallana, who steered into the No. 10’s path.
Wasn’t as assured as usual in his open-play defending, with one error forcing Alisson to make the save.
Defended the box superbly with some monstrous late clearing headers and was a real leading presence to guide the Reds through the late pressure.
Andy Robertson – 6
Not the most spectacular attacking performance of the season from Robertson, but it was a very solid defensive showing.
Wasn’t the marauding force he can be and his crossing was wayward when he did have the opportunity.
However he battled and scrapped all game and his one-against-one defending was excellent, with Jonny Otto and Neto getting very little change from the Scotsman.
Jordan Henderson – 7
The captain shrugged off injury to make his 308th outing of the decade—the most of any player in the Premier League—and continue in the No. 6 role where he has shone in Fabinho’s absence.
Didn’t quite hit the levels of those recent performances but this was still a good outing from Henderson, who was an authoritative figure in the middle of the park.
His use of the ball was sensible and crisp, and he produced some impressive driving runs forward to keep tempo in attack—especially in the first half.
Incredible energy levels to produce another 90 minutes.
Gini Wijnaldum – 7
The Dutchman has become the unsung hero of this relentless Liverpool team, as this afternoon showed.
Wijnaldum won’t grab the headlines but his performance was impressive and typically invaluable.
He did a fine job doing the industrious work picking up lots of second balls and played with great energy, constantly hassling his Wolves counterparts.
Lacked a little composure on the ball at times, and will feel he should have scored with a volley inside the box in first half.
Adam Lallana – 8
The 31-year-old replaced Naby Keita in what was Klopp’s only change to the starting XI and had an impressive return to the lineup.
Started on the right side of Liverpool’s 4-2-3-1 system and brought plenty of energy, while also tucking in nicely to be heavily involved in attacking play.
Registered his first Premier League assist in three years for the opening goal, with a great diagonal run to get in behind Wolves‘ defence before shouldering the ball into Mane’s path.
Was also tireless in his defensive work—one brilliant sliding tackle to stop a Wolves counter-attack a particular highlight.
Roberto Firmino – 6
Liverpool’s No. 9 has delivered some decisive performances in recent games but this was a quiet outing by those high standards.
Some bright moments linking up play in spells but struggled to influence proceedings in the unique way he can.
Went close with a great header from a corner in the first half.
Sadio Mane – 8
The Senegalese was enduring quite possibly his quietest 45 minutes of the season in the first half as Liverpool attacked almost exclusively down the right.
Then popped up with immaculate timing to arrive in the box and score the all-important winning goal, displaying the clinical finishing that evaded him at Leicester.
Was tireless in his defensive work, doing a particularly key job in getting around the dangerous Adama Traore to prevent him having any real influence.
Delivered at the vital moment to become the first Reds player to hit double figures in the league this season.
Mohamed Salah – 7
A solid outing for Salah, who enjoyed a positive performance operating as a central striker for the day.
A constant threat and full of running, and his use of the ball was impressively crisp in the final third as his touch looked much sharper.
Should have scored in the opening minutes but fired over from a typically pinpoint Alexander-Arnold cross and was also unlucky with a spectacular volley.
Naby Keita (on for Adam Lallana , 67′) – 7
A good cameo from the No. 8, who slotted onto the right of a 4-4-2 system after coming on.
Helped the Reds regain control and keep the ball better, showing his composure and intelligence.
James Milner (on for Gini Wijnaldum, 86′) – N/A
Came on and got straight involved, helping to see the game out.
Divock Origi (on for Roberto Firmino, 86′) – N/A
Helped get the Reds over the line.
Subs not used: Adrian, Williams, Jones, Elliott
Jurgen Klopp – 7
It was vital Liverpool backed up the Boxing Day rout of Leicester with another win at Anfield—and Klopp got that with a hardworking, spirited performance from his team.
Making just one change to the lineup was a surprise, thought it was somewhat forced due to limited options.
Starting in a 4-2-3-1 worked well, and introducing Lallana to the side was a move that paid off, with the 31-year-old decisive with his assist for Mane’s winner.
Moved to 4-4-2 to see out the game in the second half, but the substitutions could have come a bit earlier with Liverpool visibly knackered.
Another huge three points in the bag and a fantastic result to sign off what has been an incredible year.