Liverpool face Wolves at Anfield on Wednesday knowing a win is vital if they’re to retain any hope of securing a Premier League top four finish.
Liverpool vs. Wolves
Premier League (24) | Anfield
March 1, 2023 | 8pm (GMT)
As one of their games in hand on their rivals, Liverpool must capitalise on the opportunity to gain ground on those above them.
Saturday’s draw at Crystal Palace leaves Jurgen Klopp‘s side nine points adrift of the top four, with high-flying Man United set to visit Anfield this Sunday.
1. 4th meeting of 2023
It feels like Liverpool have a game against Wolves every week or two, doesn’t it? That’s because they do!
This will be the fourth meeting between the two sides since January 7, with an FA Cup third round tie, as well as a replay, at the start of the year, followed by that 3-0 league defeat at Molineux at the start of February.
The match was initially due to take place on Saturday, September 10, but was postponed after the Premier League made the decision to call off all fixtures that weekend following the passing of The Queen.
2. Wolves’ recent form – Nunes “underwhelming”
Since that 3-0 win against the Reds, Wolves have beaten Southampton 2-1 at St. Mary’s, suffered a shock home defeat to Bournemouth, and their most recent result saw them draw 1-1 at Fulham last Friday.
They sit 15th in the table, three points above the relegation zone, with manager Julen Lopetegui making a good impression since his appointment earlier this season.
Liverpool are said to be monitoring Wolves midfielder Matheus Nunes, but one Wanderers fan says the 24-year-old “hasn’t lived up to the hype,” with his general performance level “underwhelming” since he arrived in the Premier League.
3. Win or bust for top four hopes?
This match, of course, is one of Liverpool’s games in hand, and a win is essential if they are to hold any hopes of securing a top four finish come the end of the season.
Had Klopp’s side won at Palace on Saturday, they would be going into this game knowing another three points would see them draw level with fifth placed Newcastle.
As it is, victory here would see Liverpool leapfrog Fulham into sixth place on goal difference, and would leave them six points behind Tottenham in fourth, with a game in hand.
Any less than a win here and the Reds’ chances of Champions League football next year will be looking increasingly slim.
4. Konate & Nunez could return
There was some good news from the boss in his pre-match media duties on Tuesday.
Ibrahima Konate and Darwin Nunez trained “completely normally” on Monday and look set to return to the squad to face Wolves.
Luis Diaz is making good progress but is yet to return to full training, while Thiago and Joe Gomez remain out.
5. Fabinho & Bajcetic to return to the lineup?
The midfield trio of Jordan Henderson, James Milner and Naby Keita struggled at times on Saturday, with Keita hooked off at half time. Fabinho and Stefan Bajcetic may return to the XI for this one.
Klopp also highlighted the need to manage Trent Alexander-Arnold‘s workload after the draw at Palace, which may suggest he is in line for a rest, while the same may apply to Jordan Henderson and Cody Gakpo.
Here, we look at two ways the Reds could line up at Anfield on Wednesday.
6. Wolves team news
The visitors have been boosted by news that Matheus Cunha has avoided “a big injury” after being stretchered off in their draw with Fulham on Friday.
He remains a doubt to face the Reds, but long-term absentee Pedro Neto could be in contention to return.
Boubacar Traore remains out, as do Sasa Kalajdzic and Hee-Chan Hwang.
7. What’s Klopp said?
We say it every week, but this really does feel like a pivotal week for Liverpool, and Klopp has acknowledged as much:
“It’s a super important week, you don’t have to make it smaller than it is, we cannot ignore that – why would I?
“We have two home games, tomorrow thank God only one… but yes, I would love to give the season a little push in this week, and we need results for that and to get a result you need good performances.
“Nothing I saw since the last game in training gave me the impression that we don’t have a chance. The few sessions we had, we looked good.
“I know we all understand, players as well, so we have to give it a proper, proper, proper go in this game tomorrow night against a team we played more often than any other team I think this season.”
8. Did you know?
Klopp’s side have kept four clean sheets in their last five league games and could keep a fourth in a row in the top-flight for the first time since April 2022 (in a run of five).
Elsewhere, Henderson could make his 400th start for Liverpool in all competitions on Wednesday.
No current Premier League team has waited as long as Liverpool for a penalty in the league. Their last one came at Anfield against Watford on April 2, 2022, scored by Fabinho. They and Bournemouth have not been awarded one in the league this season.
Wolves have scored only seven goals in the second half of games this season – the lowest of any Premier League team.
Meanwhile, 18 of Liverpool’s last 23 goals in all competitions have been scored in the first half of games, with just five second half goals in Liverpool’s last 17 matches.
9. Tierney to take charge
The referee at Anfield on Wednesday will be Paul Tierney.
Tierney was in charge for Liverpool’s 3-0 defeat at Wolves at the start of February.
He sent Nunez off in the Reds’ 1-1 draw with Crystal Palace at the start of the season, and also oversaw their league encounters at Nottingham Forest and Aston Villa.
10. Match not on TV in the UK
Liverpool vs. Wolves is not being televised live in the UK.
If you are unable to be at Anfield, TIA’s matchday live blog will be available as always, with Sam Millne guiding you through the action.
Come on you Reds!