Wolves 1-3 Liverpool
Premier League (5), Molineux
September 16, 2023
Goals: Hwang 7′; Gakpo 55′, Robertson 85′, Bueno OG 90′
Alisson (out of 10) – 7
Liverpool’s Mr. Dependable was again a strong perfomer – is he ever anything other than that?
The Brazilian could do nothing about Hwang Hee-chan’s opener, but he was good with his distribution and never looked ruffled in possession.
Hardly troubled after the break.
Joe Gomez – 6
Gomez was moved to right-back so unlike the Aston Villa game, when he excelled, this was an up-and-down outing from him.
Pedro Netro roasted him time and time again in the first half, and he didn’t offer anywhere near enough quality in an attacking sense.
Being asked to play the hybrid inverted role like Trent was a terrible idea, so no wonder he improved after the break when that was binned off.
He was much better after the interval, providing powerful runs and looking happier defensively.
Joel Matip – 6
Like Gomez, Matip was impressive in the 3-0 win over Villa, but started terribly at Molineux.
The 32-year-old was ghosted past by Neto in the lead-up to Hwang’s strike, and he looked slow on and off the ball throughout the game. This was bringing back memories of the 3-0 defeat here in February.
That being said, Matip was much more dominant as the match went on, putting his experience to good use in seeing the game out.
Jarell Quansah – 8
Quansah was handed his full debut on a proud day for the 20-year-old, of whom there are high hopes for at Liverpool.
He was arguably the Reds’ best defender for much of proceedings, showing good pace and composure, and putting more mature teammmates to shame.
Went off with cramp and rightly earned a great reception from the travelling supporters.
Given the context of his first start, and with others around him failing, this was a very good showing.
Andy Robertson – 8 (Man of the Match)
The Scot was one of Liverpool’s standout players, covering well on a few occasions and providing some quality in the final third.
He then burst forward and finished brilliantly to put the Reds 2-1 up late on, finishing in style and capping an excellent showing.
Alexis Mac Allister – 4
Mac Allister surprisingly continued in the No.6 role that he has been asked to play mostly this season.
Surprisingly because he was playing at altitude in Bolivia just over 48 hours ago and it was largely expected that those playing in South America would not start here.
“The South Americans came back really late,” said Klopp pre-match “We need them as substitutes.” Then proceeded to play Mac Allister.
Alexis’ first-half performance was then awful, with a sloppy early booking indicative of his display, and countless losses of possession on show.
Hooked at half time, Jurgen should be apologising to him for even putting him in such a position.
Dominik Szoboszlai – 7
Few players have been more impressive so far this season than Szoboszlai, and while he was another who was poor early on, he became an influential presence centrally after the interval.
Having not stopped losing the ball in the early exchanges, he improved so much and was an authoritative figure in a deeper role in the second half.
A wonderful footballer.
Curtis Jones – 6
In fairness, he did little wrong, certainly compared to Mac Allister and Szoboszlai, but he didn’t stamp his authority on proceedings at all when Liverpool were losing.
Grew in stature as the Reds dominated, however, and deserves praise for that.
Mohamed Salah – 7
Salah was looking to add to his tally of four goal contributions in as many matches in 2023/24 – he did it emphatically.
The Egyptian King was denied on the stroke of half-time, but was on-hand to assist Gakpo, Robertson and Harvey Elliott for their goals – although Elliott’s goes down as an own goal and Mo is denied a hat-trick of assists.
Even when he’s supposedly ‘quiet’, he has a massive say, because he’s one of the best players of his generation.
Diogo Jota – 5
Jota took up a left-sided berth against his former club, with Luis Diaz only deemed ready enough for the bench.
The Portuguese is frustrating to watch when he’s off the pace and that was the case on Saturday.
Playing on the left saw him affect the balance of the attack, and while he tried to make things happen, he did very little, barring lashing over the bar.
Cody Gakpo – 6
With Darwin Nunez on the bench, Gakpo led the line, looking to kick a relatively slow start to the campaign into gear.
While a subtle player who can do unnoticed things, this was too ineffective from Gakpo, who cut a languid figure who was happy to be on the perophery of things.
That being said, he equalised with a tap-in seconds before coming off, which gives him an extra mark.
Luis Diaz (on for Mac Allister, 46′) – 7
Headed wide almost immediately and was always a threat with his pace and direct running. We’re a different team with him in it.
Harvey Elliott (on for Gakpo, 56′) – 8
Yet another really good cameo from Elliott, who provided real class in midfield.
Darwin Nunez (on for Jota, 56′) – 7
Like Diaz, Nunez was a nightmare for Wolves‘ defenders. A little messy on the ball, but we’ll forgive him!
Ibrahima Konate (on for Quansah, 82′) – 6
Hardly had anything to do, but was solid.
Ryan Gravenberch (on for Salah, 90′) – n/a
A debut! Nearly got a penalty in stoppage time.
Subs not used: Kelleher, Konate, Tsimikas, Endo, Bajcetic
Jurgen Klopp – 7
Klopp was in spiky form in his press conference on Friday when quizzed about Liverpool struggles in 12.30pm Saturday games, almost claiming that it isn’t an issue for his side and blaming international break issues instead.
It looked he would have some questions to answers following an abysmal first half, but he oversaw a hard-earned win in the end.
Klopp’s decision to pick a jaded Mac Allister was terrible, as was opting to play Gomez in a Trent-esque role, but he deserves praise for the second half substitutions.
Is it a good or bad thing that his bad initial selections are being undone by his good tactical changes and subs?