An unchanged Liverpool XI escaped Molineux with all three points thanks to a late Roberto Firmino goal as a feisty Wolves side failed to take advantage of a lacklustre Reds performance.
The Reds, hot off the heels of a 2-0 victory over bitter rivals Manchester United, took the lead early in the opening eight minutes through captain Jordan Henderson.
Almost a carbon copy of Virgil van Dijk’s header against United at the weekend, an inch-perfect corner in from Trent Alexander-Arnold bypassed Wolves’ zonal markers and was met by a charging Henderson who beat Conor Coady in the air to head it past Rui Patrício. 1-0 Liverpool.
Despite the army lead, the Reds would have been aware of Wolves’ ability to bite back, with the home side having amassed the most points this season from losing positions.
This ability to bite back was almost instantly witnessed by Klopp and his men as a well worked Wolves set piece saw Matt Doherty in behind with only Alisson to beat. The right wing back looked to head the ball back across goal only to see his effort sail wide of the wrong side of the post. Early warning signs for the Reds.
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Liverpool should have been two goals up in the following minutes when Mohamed Salah was put through on goal courtesy of a perfect defence splitting curler by Sadio Mané.
The bouncing ball bypassed Wolves’ defence and was sloppily controlled by the Egyptian who only had Patrício to beat. Another poor touch followed as Salah allowed Wolves to get bodies back and eventually block his effort.
Following the rapid start, the game began slow as both teams seemingly shared an even percentage of possession with each goalkeeper relatively unthreatened.
Unfortunately for Liverpool and worryingly for Klopp, 15 minutes from halftime Mané pulled up and was forced off with an injury, being replaced by Takumi Minamino. The Senegalese wideman was able to walk off and didn’t look to be in too much discomfort, hopefully indicating that he won’t be sidelined for too long.
The Red attack naturally slowed as Mané’s presence was missed for the remainder of the half.
With this being said, however, a brilliant Salah run in injury time saw the Egyptian burst past two Wolves defenders open route to goal. The No.11, who had Minamino in support, opted to shoot and saw his effort block by Doherty who ensured the score remained only 1-0 at half-time.
A quick start to the second half saw Liverpool almost double their lead as Salah pinched Adama Traore’s pocket in his own penalty area and tested Patricio who saved confidently down to his left.
Unfortunately for the Reds, they were made to rue their missed opportunities as, in the 51st minute, Wolves struck back through Raúl Jiménez.
A quick counter attack saw the forward skip past Robertson with ease before setting Adama off down the wing and charging into the box. The Spanish winger pulled van Dijk out of position and picked out Jiménez, who rose unchallenged to flick the ball past a helpless Alisson and into the back of the net.
Following the goal, Wolves saw the majority of the ball as Molineux began to rock and the home side looked for the goal to put them ahead.
With this being said, it was the Reds who came closest to going ahead through Roberto Firmino. A deflected effort found its way to the Brazilian who sent his effort goal-bound but only into the relieved hands of Patrício.
Following this effort the balance of the game shifted to Wolves’ favour as the Reds recruited Alisson’s intervention twice as the Brazilian denied both Adama and Jiménez to keep the score level.
Frustration began to show on the faces of Liverpool’s players as their rare counterattacks came to no avail.
Liverpool best chance of the half came through a Wolves error as Henderson pounced on a loose ball and set Salah away with both Firmino and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in support.
Salah beat his man and cut inside, choosing to ignore the unmarked Chamberlain before flashing his shot wide of the post.
With his latest selfish act of the game, the Egyptian was made aware of the discontent amongst his teammates as Chamberlain gestured in frustration and scolded the wideman before being replaced by Fabinho.
With the introduction of the holding midfielder, Klopp looked to try regain control in the midfield as his side continued to be overrun in all departments.
As was the case with Alisson, the importance of Patrício to Wolves could not be understated as the Portuguese stopper continued to come up trumps against the Reds front line.
The goalkeeper denied Firmino on multiple occasions, however the Brazilian had the last laugh as he hammered Liverpool into the lead in the 85th minute.
Deriving from a throw in, Salah attempted yet again to dribble beyond his means before being dispossessed by his own captain. Henderson lifted his head and fed through Firmino who cut inside before leathering the ball into the top corner with his left foot. 2-1 Liverpool.
Liverpool now turn their attention to an away trip at Shrewsbury on Sunday for the FA Cup, before heading to West Ham on January 29th to play their Premier League game in hand.