Liverpool showed the resilience of champions as they rode a difficult clash with Wolves to emerge as 2-1 victors and go 16 points clear on Thursday.
Wolves 1-2 Liverpool
Premier League (23), Molineux
January 23, 2020
Henderson 8′ (assist – Alexander-Arnold)
Firmino 84′ (assist – Henderson)
It is a testament to Wolves’ surge in quality and confidence that they set out with such a determined approach from kickoff, with Liverpool’s task at Molineux set out as one of their toughest yet.
But after Jurgen Klopp‘s revelation on the deceptive role of Jordan Henderson in corner situations at the weekend, the captain popped up with an early opener, heading in at the near post from Trent Alexander-Arnold‘s delivery.
Wolves had chances of their own, however, most notably from set-pieces too, and Matt Doherty should have equalised with a far-post header which floated wide.
The buildup of fixtures appeared to have brought another casualty on the half-hour as Sadio Mane pulled up with a suspected injury and immediate called for his substitution, prompting a Premier League debut for Takumi Minamino.
A driving run from Mohamed Salah late on should have brought a second goal, but indecision from the No. 11 saw him fail to lay it onto Minamino and see his effort blocked.
HT: Wolves 0-1 Liverpool
- Reds now 16 points clear with 15 games to play
- Can afford to lose six games and still win league
- 40 unbeaten in league – joint 2nd best in PL history
The Reds switched to a 4-4-2 after the break, and a mistake from Adama Traore allowed Salah an early opportunity in his new role up front, but Rui Patricio was a match for his powerful strike.
But at the other end Traore’s running battle with Andy Robertson—one the left-back was consistently losing—brought an equaliser, with the winger crossing for Raul Jimenez to arrow a fine header into the back of the net.
Alisson was required on a number of occasions in the second half, including taking a point-blank effort from Jimenez in the face, while at the other end Salah was familiarly wasteful.
The introduction of Fabinho gave Liverpool considerably more control, as could be expected, but lofted balls forward were not as effective with Minamino’s relative lack of pace leaving the Reds short.
It took sheer determination to force the eventual winner, with Henderson’s deft pass finding Roberto Firmino in a crowded box, and the Brazilian fired it high past Patricio with his left foot.
TIA Man of the Match: Jordan Henderson
Referee: Michael Oliver
Wolves: Patricio; Dendoncker, Coady, Saiss; Doherty, Moutinho (Gibbs-White 87′), Neves, Jonny; Traore, Neto (Jota 77′), Jimenez
Subs not used: Ruddy, Boly, Kilman, Giles, Ashley-Seal
Subs not used: Adrian, Matip, Williams, Jones
Next Match: Shrewsbury (A) – FA Cup Fourth Round – Sunday, Jan 26, 5pm (GMT)