Match Preview: Wolves v Liverpool

Sunday’s victory over the old rivals, Manchester United, felt immense. The sheer magnitude and outpouring of emotion were perhaps the strongest felt so far in this extraordinary season.

At the full-time whistle, ‘We’re gonna win the league’ got its first proper airing of the campaign. It felt like a watershed moment. Up until now, most have been reluctant to declare their confidence in winning the league, but that came to an end, for the moment anyway, when the ball trickled over David De Gea’s line in front of The Kop.

The occasion felt massive but now everyone must get up and go again, for what is perhaps a more difficult fixture, away at Molineux.
Wolves started their league campaign with inconsistency but whilst European football has taken a back seat, their league form has improved. Liverpool must be fully on their game if they are to come away with three points.

Adama Traore has really grown into a threat this season. Playing on either wing, his end product has improved. Last season he scored just one goal and provided three assists in 36 appearances, which isn’t enough even if a lot of them were substitute appearances. By contrast, in the 2019/20 Premier League, he already four goals and six assists.

Despite his Olympic sprinter-like physique, Van Dijk dealt with him comfortably last time out, in Liverpool’s one-nil win at Anfield in late December.

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If Wolves are to disrupt The Reds’ eight-match winning streak, they’ll need more than Adama Traore to step up.

The back three, likely to be made up of Dendoncker, Saïss and ex-Liverpool man Conor Coady, will need to be less susceptible to Van Dijk’s lofted balls to Liverpool’s forwards, who frequently found space in the channels behind Conor Coady and his two centre-back partners either side of him.
Liverpool’s goal came from one of these runs in behind. Adam Lallana made a movement across Kilman, managing to shoulder Van Dijk’s long ball into Mané’s path. Bennett lost Mané after becoming drawn towards the ball, leaving the African Player of the Year to tap home at the back post.

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Since that defeat to Liverpool on December 29th, Wolves have only managed one win (last week’s comeback against Southampton.)
Liverpool meanwhile have continued to tighten their stranglehold on the league title.

There are only likely to be a couple of changes for The Reds, with more rotation expected against Shrewsbury on Sunday, instead.

Fabinho may return to the starting line-up, allowing Henderson to move further forwards and improve the counter-press on the right-hand side. If the Brazilian does start, it would be his first since sustaining an ankle injury against Napoli in November.

What lies ahead for this Liverpool side is unprecedented but for now, three points are what they need, and three points are what they should get.

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