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10 key things to know ahead of Wolves vs. Liverpool

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Liverpool make the trip to Wolves in the Premier League on Saturday, looking to continue their perfect recent record at Molineux and make it five wins in a row.

The Reds won 4-1 away to Everton midweek, meaning they have now scored 12 goals in their last three league outings.

Next up for Jurgen Klopp‘s side is Saturday’s meeting at Wolves, with Bruno Lage impressing since taking charge in the summer.

Here are 10 things to know ahead of the game!

 

1. Wolves showing signs of promise

WOLVERHAMPTON, ENGLAND - Monday, November 1, 2021: Wolverhampton Wanderers' Raúl Jiménez after scoring the second goal during the FA Premier League match between Wolverhampton Wanderers FC and Everton FC at Molineux Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Wolves finished 13th in the league last season and Lage was appointed as Nuno Espirito Santo’s replacement.

The former Benfica boss has made an immediate impression in his few months in the job, steering his side to sixth in the table after 14 matches.

The Wanderers drew 0-0 at home to Burnley in midweek, meaning they have only tasted defeat once in their last nine league outings and conceded only six in the league at Molineux.

This further highlights the difficulty of Liverpool’s task on Saturday.

 

2. Hwang a rumoured Reds target

WOLVERHAMPTON, ENGLAND - Monday, November 1, 2021: Wolverhampton Wanderers' Hwang Hee-chan during the FA Premier League match between Wolverhampton Wanderers FC and Everton FC at Molineux Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane‘s Africa Cup of Nations commitments in January could lead to a potential attacking signing and Hwang Hee-chan has been linked with a move.

The South Korean joined Wolves on loan from RB Leipzig back in the summer and he has scored four goals in nine league starts to date.

Hwang can thrive both on the left and in a central attacking role – he scored and assisted against Liverpool for Salzburg in 2019/20 – meaning he could be a shrewd acquisition.

Wolves have an option to sign him permanently in the summer, so the Reds would have to act fast next month for Hwang, who has four goals in 11 league outings.

 

3. How could Wolves line-up?

WOLVERHAMPTON, ENGLAND - Sunday, August 29, 2021: Wolverhampton Wanderers' Adama Traoré during the FA Premier League match between Wolverhampton Wanderers FC and Manchester United FC at Molineux Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Midweek commitments mean Wolves haven’t been afforded their usual luxury of a week without playing, with no European football for them this season.

While that could mean Lage has to make a few changes, their starting lineup should be similar to the one that faced Burnley.

Jose Sa has shone between the sticks since arriving from Olympiakos, while a back-three of Max Kilman, Conor Coady and Romain Saiss also looks nailed-on.

Kilman has been particularly impressive this season and Gareth Southgate is rumoured to be eyeing him up as a future England player.

Meanwhile, the likes of Ruben Neves, Hwang and Raul Jimenez are all expected to feature, with reported Liverpool target Adama Traore potentially starting, too.

Possible Wolves XI: Sa; Kilman, Coady, Saiss; Semedo, Neves, Mourinho; Ait-Nouri; Trincao, Hwang, Jimenez.

 

4. Who’s out for Liverpool?

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Tuesday, September 14, 2021: Liverpool's (L-R) Naby Keita, Diogo Jota and Divock Origi during a training session at the AXA Training Centre ahead of the UEFA Champions League Group B Matchday 1 game between Liverpool FC and AC Milan. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Miraculously, Liverpool came through the Goodison Park derby without any new injuries.

That means Curtis Jones, Harvey Elliott and Roberto Firmino are the only long-term absentees still on the sidelines for Klopp’s men.

Joe Gomez and Naby Keita are back in training, coming as a big boost ahead of a hectic December schedule but Jurgen Klopp has confirmed the trip to Wolves will come too soon.

 

5. Predicting the Reds’ XI

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, October 30, 2021: Liverpool's Ibrahima Konaté during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Brighton & Hove Albion FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Next Tuesday’s Champions League dead rubber against AC Milan will give Klopp the chance to play fringe players, meaning another strong team is expected at Wolves.

There could be a few tweaks after the midweek action, though.

Ibrahima Konate could come in for Joel Matip in order to not overplay the latter, while Kostas Tsimikas is an option in place of the rejuvenated Andy Robertson.

James Milner and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain are options, but Fabinho, Thiago, Jordan Henderson are in superb form as a unit.

Salah, Mane and Diogo Jota are expected to make up Liverpool’s attack once more, but Takumi Minamino and Divock Origi are waiting in the wings.

Predicted Liverpool XI: Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Konate, Van Dijk, Robertson; Fabinho, Henderson, Thiago; Salah, Mane, Jota.

 

6. Liverpool strong at Molineux

WOLVERHAMPTON, ENGLAND - Monday, March 15, 2021: Liverpool's Diogo Jota (R) celebrates with team-mate Sadio Mané after scoring the first goal during the FA Premier League match between Wolverhampton Wanderers FC and Liverpool FC at Molineux Stadium. (Pic by Propaganda)

Klopp’s men head into Saturday’s fixture with a strong recent record away to Wolves, in what can be a sticky fixture for top teams.

In fact, Liverpool have won on their last five Premier League games at Molineux, with the only loss within that time frame coming in an FA Cup third-round defeat in January 2019.

Last season, former Wolves man Jota earned the Reds a gritty 1-0 victory and they won 2-1 in dramatic fashion in the title-winning 2019/20 campaign, thanks to Firmino’s late strike.

Liverpool’s last loss in the league against Wanderers came way back in December 2010 at Anfield, during the end days of a certain Roy Hodgson.

 

7. Don’t be expecting 7 or 8 changes!

The manager knows a time will come later this month when a handful of changes to his XI may be needed but don’t be expecting an overhaul of the side from the win at Everton on Saturday:

“Players’ welfare is of course very important but we are used to a tough schedule, the boys are used to a tough schedule obviously.

“I don’t think we have to make now plenty of changes between the games now, at least not at the start of December.

“We have to see how it will be in the middle or the end of December.

“We changed quite a lot in the last few weeks. So we will see what we do exactly, I didn’t make the line-up yet, but I wouldn’t expect now seven or eight changes.”

 

8. Did You Know?

Thiago and Fabinho training, Kirkby (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Fabinho and Thiago have been magnificent in the last couple of games, dominating the midfield battles and showing all-around qualities.

Injuries to the latter have often limited their playing time together, but the statistics sum up how imperious they are as a duo.

Liverpool have won 13 and drawn one of the 14 games they have both started in, with 36 goals scored and just six conceded in that time.

Keeping Fabinho and Thiago fit is going to be so vital to the Reds’ title chances.

 

9. Kavanagh in the spotlight

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, August 25, 2018: Referee Chris Kavanagh during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Brighton & Hove Albion FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Chris Kavanagh is in charge of Saturday’s match, while Jon Moss is on VAR duty.

Liverpool’s record with Kavanagh overseeing their games is solid, with 3-0 wins over Leicester and Burnley last season sealed with him officiating matters.

He was the referee for the 2-0 defeat at home to Everton, however, awarding the Blues a penalty on a grim night for the Reds.

This is Kavanagh’s first Liverpool game of the season – here’s hoping controversy is avoided!

 

10. Not on the telly again!

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - Tuesday, February 3, 2015: A television camera on the pitch before the FA Cup 4th Round Replay match between Manchester United and Cambridge United at Old Trafford. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

This is another Saturday 3pm outing for Liverpool, meaning it isn’t live on UK television.

Don’t worry, though, because TIA’s matchday live blog is the best place to follow the action, with Joanna Durkan keeping you company from 2.15pm.

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