Liverpool 1-0 Wolves: VAR takes headlines as Reds end year with another win

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Liverpool ended the decade with a 1-0 win – their 18th from the opening 19 Premier League games – against Wolves at Anfield thanks to Sadio Mane‘s first-half strike.

Liverpool 1-0 Wolves

Premier League (19), Anfield
Sunday, 29 December 2019

Goals

Mane 40′ (assist: Lallana)


Jurgen Klopp made just one change from the side that comprehensively beat Leicester on Boxing Day, with Adam Lallana replacing Naby Keita in midfield.

There was, though, a change in formation, with 4231 being used and Mohamed Salah as the centre-forward.

‘Champions of the world’ echoed from the Kop in the opening minutes, as the Anfield crowd welcomed home the new FIFA Club World Cup winners – who were sporting the gold badge on their kit to mark the new piece of silverware.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, December 29, 2019: The gold FIFA Club World Cup winners' badge on Liverpool's shirt during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Wolverhampton Wanderers FC at Anfield. (Pic by Richard Roberts/Propaganda)

Salah had two chances early on, with one going over and another saved off a volley. Gini Wijnaldum and Roberto Firmino also went close.

The Reds were absolutely dominant against a side who sat deep having only played against Man City 40 hours ago.

Liverpool did finally have the ball in the net in the 40th minute, although it took to the 44th minute for it to be confirmed after a lengthy VAR delay. “It’s not football any more” sang the away fans.

The goal arrived from a superb ball forward from Virgil van Dijk, which was received by Adam Lallana on the shoulder and Sadio Mane tucked the ball away. Referee Anthony Taylor initially adjudged Lallana to have handled, when replays showed clearly he hadn’t. The goal stood.

Liverpool's Sadio Mane (left) celebrates scoring his side's first goal of the game during the Premier League match at Anfield Stadium, Liverpool. (Nick Potts/PA Wire/PA Images)

If Wolves were unhappy with that VAR decision, they were furious when Neto scored in first-half stoppage time but eventually saw it disallowed for a marginal offside call via VAR.

Both VAR decisions were ultimately correct and Liverpool led at half-time.

Half time: Liverpool 1-0 Wolves

  • Mane the first Reds’ player to hit double figures in the league this season
  • 18 wins from opening 19 league games of the season
  • Liverpool unbeaten in last 50 league games at Anfield
  • Reds finish 2019 13 points clear at the top of the table

Wolves adopted a more attacking mentality in the second half, bringing on dangerman Adama Traore just before the hour.

The away side caused far more problems and Liverpool were forced to work hard to defend their lead. Jotta tested Alisson at the near post after a mistake by Virgil van Dijk.

Wolves continued to push and had several shots from the edge the box, but failed to hit the target. Then Vinagre fired over in stoppage time and Traore’s shot deflected just wide off Van Dijk in the final seconds.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, December 29, 2019: The gold FIFA Club World Cup winners' badge on the shirt of Liverpool's Joe Gomez during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Wolverhampton Wanderers FC at Anfield. (Pic by Richard Roberts/Propaganda)

Liverpool showed their grit and saw out the game, the year and decade with yet another win, putting them 13 points clear at the top of the table and with a game in hand.


TIA Man of the Match: Sadio Mane

Referee: Anthony Taylor

Liverpool: Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, Van Dijk, Robertson; Henderson, Wijnaldum (Milner 86′); Lallana (Keita 67′), Firmino (Origi 86′), Mane; Salah,

Subs not used: Adrian, Williams, Jones, Elliott

Wolves: Patricio, Dendocker (Traore 58′), Coady, Kilman, Bennett, J. Otto, Moutinho, Neves (Saiss 58′), Neto, D. Jotta (Jiminez 72′), Vinagre

Subs not used: Ruddy, Doherty, Curtone, Otasowie

Next Match: Sheffield United (home, Thursday, 2 January, 2020)

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