It was a case of celebrating the end of 2019 with another three points for Liverpool after they narrowly dispatched Wolves by a single goal at Anfield.
Jurgen Klopp’s Reds capped off a memorable 2019 with another victory on Sunday, narrowly toppling Wolves on an evening where VAR was again a key talking point.
Liverpool were made to work for their 18th Premier League win of the season and required the intervention of video technology to see Sadio Mane awarded his 10th league goal of the campaign, with the ruling of a handball on Adam Lallana overturned.
And while Wolves had looked to have equalised on the cusp of half time as the Reds relinquished control, Pedro Neto’s effort was subsequently ruled out for offside in the build-up.
The visitors’ channeled their bubbling frustration in the second half to take the game to Liverpool, but Klopp’s men held firm to ensure they ended the calendar year at Anfield unbeaten in all competitions, winning 23 from 26 games.
The victory maintained the Reds’ commanding 13 point lead at the summit, while still possessing a game in hand, and for Lallana – who made his third league start of the season – the objective is clear: maintain their form into 2020 and ensure Anfield remains a fortress.
Liverpool’s No. 20, when speaking to LFCTV, also lauded Wolves for their approach and touched on the games decisive VAR decisions:
“It was a massive three points. A gritty three points at times and I think when we look back and analyse the game, we can do better and improve mentally and physically.
“I was pretty convinced it was not handball, it hit me on the chest or the shoulder – I wasn’t sure if I got a bit of a nudge or if I was off balance but I was fairly confident it wasn’t handball.
“One of their players was saying Virgil may have handballed it, but I’m not sure.
“Handbags were out a bit at half time but it’s part and parcel of VAR and it’s a learning process and everyone has their own opinion of it, but if it was offside it was offside.
“We want to maintain our form going into the new year, keep Anfield a fortress and Wolves gave one of the biggest performances from an away team this season so credit to them.”
Similarly, Virgil van Dijk, who made his 100th Liverpool appearance on Sunday, paid credit to the visitors after a “very difficult game” which ensured they were three points to savour.
But the towering centre-back refuses to be satisfied over the Reds’ current position in the table as there is still a lot more to achieve, where a plethora of tough challenges still await – with Sheffield United next on the agenda:
“It was [tough]. Wolves are a good team, made it very difficult for us and have good players.
“It’s never easy for both sides to play in the circumstances – last week and this week a lot of games, travelling for both sides.
“They made it tough for us and we’re obviously very happy that we kept the three points.
“Obviously we cannot not be positive about the situation we’re in, but we can’t be satisfied. So far we’re in the middle of the season, halfway through, so we want to achieve more and more.
“The only thing we can do now is make sure we focus on the next game and it will be a tough one again.”
After the final whistle, players took to Instagram as they looked to celebrate ending 2019 on a winning note and looked ahead to the possibilities 2020 may bring.
It was a case of sharing their delight at another three points in the bag for Mane, Roberto Firmino and Naby Keita:
Lallana and James Milner, meanwhile, were quick to acknowledge how tough the encounter was as they lauded another win and quickly turned their attention to the first game of the new year:
And for Joe Gomez, Jordan Henderson and Trent Alexander-Arnold there was no better way to bring 2019 to a close as they celebrated another victory and looked towards what 2020 may bring:
The Reds will now have three days to rest, recover and prepare for the visit of Sheffield United in the opening game of 2020, where Anfield is the host as Klopp’s side look to start as they mean to go on in the new year.