REPORT | Liverpool 4-0 Wolves: Salah, Wijnaldum and Matip strike as Reds mark return of fans to Anfield perfectly

James Noble reports on a night where the scintillating Reds welcomed fans back by dismantling a weakened Wolves.

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Jürgen Klopp’s side put in a stellar display to overcome Nuno Espírito Santo men at a pleasantly raucous Anfield on Sunday night, as Mohamed Salah’s first-half effort was added to by Georginio Wijnaldum, Joël Matip and an unfortunate Nélson Semedo one goal after the break.

Fans were inside the ground for a game for the first time since March and the vocal support of the 2,000 present was echoed by the relentless display the champions put in.

Both sides made a change apiece from their last outings.

For the hosts, from Tuesday’s crucial Champions League victory over Ajax, Roberto Firmino came in for Diogo Jota – formerly of Wolves, of course.

The West Midlanders, meanwhile, brought in Rúben Neves for Raúl Jiménez, with the Mexican striker now recovering from surgery after he suffered a fractured skull in the 2-1 win at the Arsenal last Sunday.

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Within three minutes, the consistently incisive Pedro Neto had won a free-kick on the edge of the home box – and earned Neco Williams a booking in the process.

Neves dipped the set-piece onto the roof of the net and the game began to develop a relatively even rhythm.

Liverpool, perhaps unsurprisingly, had more of the ball but Wolves looked dynamic and dangerous when springing in the other direction.

The host’s first opening of note arrived in the 11th minute, when Sadio Mané headed an Andy Robertson cross over.

Daniel Podence’s clever 18-yard chip was then superbly clawed around the post by Caoimhin Kelleher six minutes later.

The 22-year-old Irishman was making his second consecutive start after his excellent showing in midweek and it looked like there might be more work for him to do when Adama Traoré burst past Fabinho and into the box from the right in the 20th minute.

The Spaniard’s cross was inviting but flashed across the face of goal and away from danger.

It was a scare to which the Reds responded ideally in the 24th minute.

An uncharacteristic bit of carelessness from Conor Coady – again within Wolves’ new-look back-four – saw him inadvertently chest Jordan Henderson’s flighted pass forward into the path of Salah.

The Egyptian took it in his stride in the box and slammed it across Rui Patrício and into the bottom-right corner with impressive ease to earn the lead.

Patrício gathered a powerful Salah free-kick 11 minutes later as the home momentum built.

It looked, though, like Wolves had a route back into the game in the 43rd when Coady looked to have been caught by Mané in the box – leading Craig Pawson to point to the spot.

A check of the VAR screen, though, showed there was no contact and a free-kick instead went Liverpool’s way.

From there, the Merseysiders pushed on.


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Within two minutes of the restart, Mané had brilliantly taken down a Henderson diagonal pass and stung the palms of the visiting stopper and he sidefooted wide from a clever Robertson pull-back in the 52nd minute.

Wijnaldum doubled the advantage six minutes later, though. And stylishly.

A flighted Henderson pass was again the source. It accelerated a counter which the Dutchman took on and finished brilliantly, by curling a 20-yard right-footed shot into the top-right corner.

A well-earned goal for a so often under-appreciated member of the team.

Now the champions were purring in front of their ever more vocal and cheerful 2,000-strong support.

Matip nodded home Salah’s brilliantly floated delivery from the right, following a 67th-minute short corner to make it three.

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The unfortunate Semedo, in his efforts to deny Mané, then unintentionally converted a similarly teasing Trent Alexander-Arnold cross from the same flank with a little over 12 minutes of normal time remaining.

He’d only been off the bench for ten or so minutes but it was an ideal – and somewhat typical – way for the Scouser to mark his return from a four-week injury lay-off.

As if to remind us of the solidity going the other way this week, Kelleher then ensured the clean sheet remained intact by keeping out a powerful left-footed strike from one of Wolves’ substitutes – Rayan Aït Nouri – in the 80th minute.

A night where the onfield spectacle was perhaps only exceeded by the the sight and sound of supporters in the Kop.

Hopefully a sign of things to come.

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