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Revitalised Neves, struggling Traore & pining after Jota – The view from Wolves

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Wolves have been a tough team to beat in recent weeks, but how confident are their fans of victory over Liverpool this weekend?

The Reds picked up yet another outstanding win in midweek, dismantling Everton 4-1 for their biggest win at Goodison Park since 1982.

Next up is Saturday’s trip to Molineux as Jurgen Klopp‘s team take on a Wolves side who have drawn their last two matches 0-0.

Bruno Lage’s men sit sixth in the Premier League, however, and Liverpool will likely have to play well to pick up all three points.

Ahead of the game, we spoke to Sam Cook from The Wolves 77 Club Podcast (@77ClubPodcast) to hear about both teams and this weekend’s clash.

 

How would you assess Wolves’ start to the season?

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

Wolves are currently sixth in the table, so you’d have thought everything was pretty rosy at Molineux.

Scratch below the surface, however, and there’s a side that can’t fill a bench in the Premier League which is averaging less than a goal-a-game in the competition.

Liverpool will arguably be Wolves’ biggest top test this season. So far we’ve largely avoided the big boys, West Ham aside.

Bruno Lage has commented regularly that he wants to move away from working with a smaller squad, as was the way under Nuno previously, and have at least two top players competing for every position.

At the moment this isn’t the case.

December will be a tough month for us – so far it has consisted of a 0-0 draw at home to Burnley and up next is Liverpool (H), Man City (A), Brighton (A), Chelsea (H), Watford (H) and Arsenal (A).

Ouch.

 

Is a European finish on the cards?

WOLVERHAMPTON, ENGLAND - Monday, November 1, 2021: Wolverhampton Wanderers' captain Conor Coady celebrates after the FA Premier League match between Wolverhampton Wanderers FC and Everton FC at Molineux Stadium. Wolverhampton Wanderers won 2-1. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

If the season was 14 games long, then yes.

But I don’t believe there is much hope of a finish that will ensure European football this season.

Realistically, a final position between 10th and eighth is most likely – and for full disclosure, I’d have taken that at the beginning of the season.

Wolves do up their game against the so-called bigger sides, however, so anything can happen.

 

Who have been Wolves’ three best players so far this season?

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)

Jose Sa (GK). I was sad to see Rui Patricio leave for Roma – he’s still Portugal’s No.1, while Sa is No.3 – but the latter has been outstanding in goal for Wolves and has done his bit when called upon.

He is one of the top-performing goalkeepers in the league with some of the most clean sheets. He’s vital.

Ruben Neves is next up – when he plays well, Wolves are dominant.

We’ve been seeing a similar Neves to days gone by – a Neves that fits the description of rival fans when they pick him out of the starting XI as a player they admire.

He will be back in against Liverpool having missed the midweek Burnley clash due to suspension, and if he turns it on, it will be close.

Raul Jimenez also deserved a mention. I have to give this one to him, purely because of the context.

He suffered one of the most horrific head injuries last November, but managed to get back on the scoresheet after an unbelievable rehabilitation just over 300 days later.

The Mexican has had to learn how to head again, let alone everything else that comes with coming back from something like that anyway.

We love him, he’s essential to the team.

 

Have any been particularly poor?

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)
 
Adama Traore has been putting off signing a new contract for a long time now.

It’s meant his involvement has been scarce, but when he’s been given the opportunity he hasn’t taken it. Burnley was a prime example. He had Raul open to his left on the break but chose to beat his man and shoot instead.

In his defence, it spanked the crossbar, but hindsight is a wonderful thing and his vision should have meant we didn’t need it.

 

Switching our attention to Liverpool, how are you assessing their title chances?

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, December 1, 2021: Liverpool players look at a smoke bomb as Mohamed Salah celebrates after scoring the third goal during the FA Premier League match between Everton FC and Liverpool FC, the 239th Merseyside Derby, at Goodison Park. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

They will be in and around winning the title.

I think anyone who finishes above the Reds will win the league.

Chelsea may edge it, and it will be really interesting to see what that 1-1 draw at Anfield, with Chelsea down to 10 men for the second half, will mean at the end of the season.

 

Barring Salah, which Reds player would you most like to see at Wolves?


 
Diogo Jota. Can we have the Jota that Klopp has nurtured, please?

 

Where do you see the key battles taking place on Saturday?

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, December 1, 2021: Liverpool's Mohamed Salah celebrates after scoring the third goal during the FA Premier League match between Everton FC and Liverpool FC, the 239th Merseyside Derby, at Goodison Park. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The Wolves defensive third, basically.

Klopp’s Liverpool sides have killer front threes.

 

What’s your prediction?

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, December 1, 2021: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp celebrates after the FA Premier League match between Everton FC and Liverpool FC, the 239th Merseyside Derby, at Goodison Park. Liverpool won 4-1. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

If the Wolves turn up that we know – the one that is capable of doing something – then it will be close.

I can only see a loss on this occasion, though, as I just don’t see any game-changers in form on the bench.

That applies in an attacking sense, as well as a defensive one.

Wolves 0-3 Liverpool

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