It was another one of those special nights on Merseyside under the lights as Liverpool continued there long unbeaten run at home in a flawless display on Sunday evening.
With the return of fans to stadiums the main story ahead of this game, Klopp reiterated to his players the importance of the fixture and the difficulty of the opposition. With Wolves giving Liverpool several close games over the last couple of seasons, nothing was being taken for granted.
With supporters taking their seats once again, many were excited but wary of what Nuno Espírito Santo’s side could produce. By the time the full-time whistle blew, each will have thoroughly enjoyed a relaxing evening as the Reds produced a stunning display fitting of the occasion.
Liverpool will now move into midweeks game against FC Midtjylland with plenty of confidence. With the Champions’ League group stage all sorted from the Reds point of view, it will give Klopp the opportunity to rotate and give minutes to some of the fringe players and those returning from injury. With this fixture essentially a dead rubber, he will have one eye already on next Sunday’s game against Fulham at Craven Cottage, knowing a win is paramount with fellow league leaders Tottenham on the horizon.
The German made one change from the side who started the win over Ajax on Tuesday evening. Diogo Jota dropped to bench, in a move that surprised many, with Roberto Firmino returning to the number nine role. With many speculating that all four-star forwards (Salah, Firmino, Mané and Jota) could start, Klopp went for his tried and trusted 4-3-3.
Here are my winners and losers from the game:
Andy RobertsonEmbed from Getty Images
This is an ominous sign for teams in the league that this man is performing really consistently once again. He was truly outstanding, dictating everything down his side of the pitch. Having already played a ridiculous number of games this season for club and country, he keeps charging down that left hand side like it’s the first game of the campaign.
His attacking threat all evening continued to defy belief, with his adventurous runs forward, to his pin point accurate passes down the wing to his colleagues, he just amazes every Liverpool fan.
What stood out most however from this game was his defensive and tactical battle against Adama Traore. Many a Premier League defender has been made to look silly by the strength and pace that the winger holds. On this particular evening the Spanish international was completely ineffective as Robertson out manoeuvred him throughout the game.
With his pace a clear threat, Robertson pushed up the pitch as much as possible to bring Traore back towards his own goal. This negated the possibility of any quick counter attack from the winger, giving Liverpool time to crowd him out once he gained possession. When he did manage to get free, the Scottish international was patient and stood on his feet, making the forward decide what he wanted to do, with the vast majority of his decisions leading to loss of the ball.
With Trent Alexander-Arnold’s return to fitness, Liverpool will be back to the double full back threat that has been so successful for them over the last few years. Plenty of praise must go to Robertson though as he has continued to perform, and sometimes single handily, to the highest level throughout Trent’s vacancy. Long may his good form continue.
FabinhoEmbed from Getty Images
It is really hard to believe that he isn’t a centre back by trade. He has exceeded all expectations in this position. Not even the most positive Liverpool fan would have seen this coming. Some will argue that playing defensive midfield he will have plenty of transferable skills, which I agree with completely. However, it is the new found ability that he is showing that is impressing fans and Klopp alike.
His dominance in the air was something that he showed glimpses of whilst in the midfield trio, but at the back he has truly taken this aspect of his game to the next level. He did not lose a single header and I can’t remember the last time he lost one. This part of his game has come on leaps and bounds and when he does eventually move back into midfield, he will be even more commanding than before.
His partnership with Joël Matip has really blossomed in recent weeks. The communication between the two is perfect, each understanding the others game and quickly acting upon any weaknesses that may show themselves. Against Wolves, everything came together perfectly with Nuno’s side struggling to gather any momentum going forwards.
What also impressed was the Brazilians availability to help Kelleher through any potential sticky situations. Like Matip, when the Irishman was on the ball and no clear option was available, they would make an exerting ten-yard sprint to receive the ball and take pressure of him. The selflessness from both really showed the chemistry that is building among that back line and the confidence that fans clearly now have in them.
Liverpool still require a centre back in January there is no doubt about that, but what Fabinho has done since moving to the role has been inspiring. His adaptivity is on the same level as Milner’s which is not a mean feet to achieve. With the transfer window now on the horizon, and a difficult winter schedule approaching, it is vital that he stays fit and performing at these levels alongside Matip.
Mohamed SalahEmbed from Getty Images
Back to his best and completely unplayable. It was a performance which oozed excellence from the start. He continued to add to his ridiculous Liverpool record with another two goal involvements (goal & assist) and fans could just sit back and enjoy his onslaught down the right channel.
He is a special player there is no doubt about that. Every time I see him contribute another goal or assist; I imagine Roma are kicking themselves for selling him to us for the price they did. He is near the top, if not the top, of Michael Edward’s purchases at Anfield.
His goal was taken in clinical fashion that we have come to expect from the Egyptian. After a ball over the top was poorly collected by Coady, Salah pounced onto the loose ball and dispatched it beyond the helpless Rui Patrício. From this moment the Wolves defence knew they were in trouble.
Marçal in particular had a torrid evening, with Salah running rings around him to the point that I don’t know how he wasn’t substituted for Rayan Aït-Nouri. The speed caused the most problems for the Brazilian as Salah floored him a number of times before waltzing around his body.
The former Roma man capped his evening with a sumptuous ball into the box with which Matip nodded home the Reds third. This delivery has encapsulated what Salah has been doing in recent weeks, with his less selfish approach really paying off in his play. His all-round performance is spellbinding as he looks completely unstoppable. Removing the one dimensional “shoot all the time” aspect has really heightened him as defenders no longer know what he is going to do.
It was special for fans to see the 28-year-old in full flow. It is another ominous sign for opponents that he is on his way back to top form. With key fixtures coming up, he will be need to perform at these levels for Liverpool to walk away with the wins they require.
The FansEmbed from Getty Images
What a game to return too! The site of seeing 2,000 fans in the Kop was wonderful and the start of, hopefully, the return to normality. The lucky individuals who managed to get a ticket will have thoroughly enjoyed there evening as the Reds put on a show.
Much has been made of the atmosphere without supporters. After this game it is clear that the game loses something without them. Hearing all the songs and chants throughout the 90 minutes was wonderful, but the hairs on the body stood up when you hear the singing of You’ll Never Walk Alone and the cheers of a goal being scored. Nothing beats that elation and shared happiness with others and seeing that four times was special.
Having fans back their team is something that shouldn’t be underestimated, especially when the Anfield crowd gets going. With the Reds at home next against Tottenham in a week on Wednesday, the supporters will need to be vocal in a top of the table clash that could be another classic evening on Merseyside.
LosersEmbed from Getty Images
None. When you wait nine months to return to watch your team and they perform like that, you cannot complain about anything.
Every player performed to an extremely high level which left a very good Wolves team bemused and completely dejected. We can hope that plenty more of these displays are coming our way throughout the remaining of the season.
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