Liverpool travel to the Midlands to face an injury-hit Wolves side who aim to finish in the top four this season. Both sides won in their last match with both having to put in maximum effort to secure their respective wins.
Liverpool defeated arch rivals Manchester United at Anfield last weekend. The Reds dominated throughout and should have added three or four more goals to the two they already scored. This win proved to be an important one due to Man City dropping points, meaning Liverpool extended their lead at the summit to 16 points.
Wolves came from two goals down to claim three points on the south coast. Southampton had a healthy two-goal lead at half-time, before three goals in 23 minutes saw the pendulum swing in favour of Nuno Espírito Santo’s side.
Liverpool extended their winning run in the league to 13 games against Man United. A win was expected of this Liverpool side due to the gulf in class between the two sides. Due to the results the previous day it, it meant Liverpool could extend their lead over the second and third-placed sides.
Virgil van Dijk gave Liverpool an early lead from a corner, and from that point the Reds started to assert their dominance. Roberto Firmino thought he had doubled Liverpool’s lead, but VAR brought back the play due to a perceived foul on David De Gea, though initial reaction was that the ball was fairly contested by van Dijk.
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Liverpool had numerous chances to double before 70 minutes. Sadio Mané and Mo Salah both fluffed their lines, Gini Wijnaldum had an effort ruled out for offside and De Gea tipped Jordan Henderson’s fierce effort onto the post.
As the game came to a close, United started to get their foot on the ball close to Liverpool’s box. Anthony Martial spurned the only chance they created, firing over from 10 yards out, and deep into stoppage time Alisson found Salah after United pushed all their players up for a corner. Salah slotted past De Gea and sent Anfield into delirium.
Wolves’ results since these two sides met at Anfield three weeks ago have not been up to standard. They were unlucky to get knocked out of the FA Cup by Manchester United — over the two games they had numerous chances to score but failed to take advantage of their dominance. They had two goals chalked off by VAR, both of which were quite harsh, and Juan Mata made them pay with a tidy finish.
In the league they have won just once, against Southampton. They lost to a rejuvenated Watford away from home, before dropping a further two points at home to Newcastle. Their usually reliable defence has failed them over the last couple of weeks.
In their last seven league matches they have conceded the first goal. Three of these matches saw Wolves end up on the winning side, with noteworthy victories over Tottenham and Man City in two of those games.
Their recent match against Southampton saw them conceded first again as they found themselves two goals behind at the break. A defensive error saw the deficit halved thanks to a tidy finish by Pedro Neto.
They pulled level after Raúl Jiménez dispatched a penalty and they completed the turnaround on the 75th minute when Adama Traoré burst past the Southampton defence and squared it to Jiménez, who had the easy job of slotting past McCarthy.
Both teams had physically demanding games at the weekend meaning the match on Thursday could be a drab affair. I would expect Jürgen Klopp to make a couple of changes to keep his side fresh while Nuno has limited players available meaning changes are unlikely.
The back five for Liverpool will remain the same. Their clean sheet on Sunday extended their record to seven, the longest run in the league for more than ten years.
Fabinho could replace Henderson in midfield. The captain looked noticeably tired during the latter stages of the game against United. He even dropped to the floor when Salah scored possibly due to a mix of relief and fatigue.
Changes are not set to be widespread, though, with the FA Cup game against Shrewsbury once again set to see a Liverpool team full of youth.
The Wolves side will most likely remain unchanged. Rúben Vinagre pulled his hamstring in the FA Cup match against Man United and will be unavailable.
They will start with their usual 3-4-3 formation with Rúben Neves and João Moutinho controlling the middle of the pitch.
Liverpool only had to deal with Raúl Jiménez and Adama Traoré for around 20 minutes at Anfield, but the duo will likely start from the first whistle this time and will be a handful to deal with.
The game against United was clearly physically demanding on the players. Wolves boast an excellent home record against the big six, as they have played them 10 times and lost only four of them. They also have completed the league double over Manchester City which shows how dangerous they can be on the counter.
It’s hard to see Liverpool conceding at all these days and if we continue our run of strong defensive performances at Molineux then our record should be extended to eight games.
If that is the case, then it will be up to our forwards to make the difference.
Predicted final score: Wolves 0-1 Liverpool