Reds finally given chance of victory lap at Anfield – Liverpool vs. Wolves Preview

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Liverpool host Wolves in the Premier League on Sunday night, with this the first time fans are able to attend Anfield since March – and since the Reds won the title.

Liverpool vs. Wolves

Sunday, December 7, 2020 – 7.15pm (GMT)
Anfield
Premier League (11)
Referee: Craig Pawson


When Wolves arrive for their evening kickoff, Jurgen Klopp‘s side will have last entertained their own supporters 271 days previous, though a 3-2 defeat to Atletico Madrid was scant entertainment for those in attendance.

Since that last-16 exit, however, Liverpool have gone on to lift the Premier League trophy, albeit to a surreal backdrop of an empty stadium.

The club have confirmed that the trophy will not be presented in front of the 2,000 supporters privileged to head to Anfield on Sunday, with all ceremonies on hold until a packed stadium is permitted.

But this clash with Nuno Espirito Santo’s ambitious Wolves outfit is significant nonetheless, giving a decidedly stretched Reds the chance to parade their champions status with a worthy performance.

 

Team News

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, September 12, 2020: Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold takes a throw-in during the opening FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Leeds United FC at Anfield. The game was played behind closed doors due to the UK government’s social distancing laws during the Coronavirus COVID-19 Pandemic. Liverpool won 4-3. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Klopp finds himself in a rare position this weekend as the Reds have no new injury concerns, and instead welcome back two players previously sidelined.

Trent Alexander-Arnold and Naby Keita were both part of full training on Friday, and though the manager refrained from suggesting they could be fit to start, the pair are likely to make the matchday squad.

More positive news came as Andy Robertson and Jordan Henderson took part in the session, too, having picked up knocks during the 1-0 victory over Ajax in midweek.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, James Milner and Xherdan Shaqiri stepped up their recovery in the gym at Kirkby on Friday, but will not be available.

Virgil van Dijk was also pictured working on his rehab at the training ground, but like Joe Gomez and Thiago he remains a way off fitness.

Alisson, meanwhile, is set to miss out again, with Caoimhin Kelleher likely to keep his place ahead of Adrian.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, December 29, 2019: Wolverhampton Wanderers' manager Nuno Espírito Santo embraces Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp after the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Wolverhampton Wanderers FC at Anfield. Liverpool won 1-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Wolves will certainly be without striker Raul Jimenez after his shocking head injury in their 2-1 win over Arsenal last time out, with 18-year-old Fabio Silva expected to make a first Premier League start in his place.

Left-back Jonny Otto is also out, but otherwise the Midlands side are largely free of fitness problems.

Ex-Liverpool right-back Ki-Jana Hoever could make the substitutes’ bench, as he continues a regular run in Nuno’s matchday squad as deputy to Nelson Semedo.

Possible Wolves XI: Patricio; Semedo, Boly, Coady, Marcal; Moutinho, Neves; Traore, Podence, Neto; Silva

 

Last 5 at Home to Wolves (All Competitions)

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, December 29, 2019: Liverpool's Sadio Mané celebrates scoring the first goal during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Wolverhampton Wanderers FC at Anfield. (Pic by Richard Roberts/Propaganda)

Won 2-0 – May 2019 (Mane x2)
Lost 2-1 – January 2017 (Origi; Stearman, Weimann)
Won 2-1 – September 2011 (Johnson OG, Suarez; Fletcher)
Lost 1-0 – December 2010 (Ward)
Won 2-0 – December 2009 (Gerrard, Benayoun)

 

Did You Know?

WOLVERHAMPTON, ENGLAND - Monday, January 7, 2019: Liverpool's Ki-Jana Hoever applauds the supporters after the FA Cup 3rd Round match between Wolverhampton Wanderers FC and Liverpool FC at Molineux Stadium. Wolverhampton Wanderers won 2-1. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Since their return to the top flight under Nuno in 2018, Wolves have lost all four of their league meetings with Liverpool.

Jimenez’s goal in the 2-1 loss at Molineux in January was the only time a Wolves player managed to find the back of the net in those games, while Sadio Mane has been the most prolific for the Reds, scoring three times.

Wolves did, however, put Liverpool to the sword with a 2-1 victory in the FA Cup third round in 2019, with Jimenez and Ruben Neves firing either side of a Divock Origi strike.

Hoever made his debut that evening, at the time becoming the youngest-ever player to feature for the Reds in the history of the FA Cup – he is still the fifth-youngest in all competitions.

Curtis Jones and Rafa Camacho also debuted for Liverpool – the first of Jones’ 25 appearances to date, it was also his only outing for the first team that campaign.

 

Form Guide

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Tuesday, December 1, 2020: Liverpool's Curtis Jones (R) celebrates with team-mate Sadio Mané (L) after scoring the only goal of the game during the UEFA Champions League Group D match between Liverpool FC and AFC Ajax at Anfield. Liverpool won 1-0 to win the group and progress to the Round of 16. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool – Last five results (all competitions)

Won 1-0 vs. Ajax
Drew 1-1 vs. Brighton
Lost 2-0 vs. Atalanta
Won 3-0 vs. Leicester
Drew 1-1 vs. Man City

Wolves – Last five results (all competitions)

Won 2-1 vs. Arsenal
Drew 1-1 vs. Southampton
Lost 1-0 vs. Leicester
Won 2-0 vs. Crystal Palace
Drew 1-1 vs. Newcastle

 

Klopp’s View

Speaking at Kirkby on Friday, Klopp praised Wolves as an “absolutely top team” whose performances are even better than seventh place, where they sat at the beginning of the weekend:

“When you play them, they don’t play like seventh in the league, they play like an absolutely top team.

“They had, especially last year, the Europa League to deal with and they did exceptionally well, to be honest.

“They played well there and that’s a really tough task after getting promoted only a year before that.

“So, absolutely outstanding, Nuno is doing an exceptional job. Top, top recruitment, quite a few players from Portugal, it’s clear, with all the people working there at the club. Top, top players.

“Yeah, nothing bad to say about them.”

 

TV & Liveblog Info

A general view of Anfield Stadium taken by drone from Stanley Park. ( Richard McCarthy/PA Wire/PA Images)

Liverpool vs. Wolves kicks off at 7.15pm (GMT), with the game shown live on Amazon Prime and coverage beginning at 6.30pm.

Ben Twelves will be providing updates in our usual matchday live blog, including all the goals, highlights, stats, facts and tactical insight, also from 6.30pm.

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