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A 4th clean sheet and a new midfielder – 5 talking points from Liverpool 2-0 Wolves



Liverpool’s fourth consecutive meeting with Wolves ended in victory, somewhat offsetting their shock defeat at Molineux.

Liverpool 2-0 Wolverhampton Wanderers

Goals: Van Dijk 72′, Salah 77′

Another revamped midfielder

Another day, another central midfield triumvirate.

After the utter despair of Saturday’s performance against Palace, Jürgen Klopp turned his attention this time to the youngsters in the middle third: Stefan Bajcetic and Harvey Elliott teamed up for the first time as No.8, with Fabinho behind them .

And defensively, he certainly played better than in the last games, not perfect but a step forward and very reserved (for once!).

As for the two teenagers, Elliott’s comeback was impressive in his pushes, getting into dangerous areas three times when opportunities presented themselves – but surely he should have gotten his head. Spain midfielder Bajcetic was in and out of the game but played an important recovery role against counter-attacks, being especially responsive after his early warning, although some of his passes were wayward.

It was a better overall performance by the trio compared to the last few weeks, although of course for a brand new line-up there were also some gaps and misunderstandings.

In attack, there were two other notable names in the squad after injury: Darwin Nunez after just one game and Diogo Jota returned after a long layoff.

The latter still seems miles away from full sharpness – that’s the nicest way to put it.

And yet, he produced a brilliant shot from deep that ended in the net – VAR ruled it out – which might at least suggest he’s getting a bit closer to his old level. He also eventually sent the ball back in the middle for Van Dijk’s goal, which counted.

Nunez saw the pace himself in the first half, being pushed aside by the left wing and not being too involved in the construction, but he was much more central in the second half.

A good finish was out of the question and attacking as a whole always looks a lot more threatening on the pitch.

The third member, Mo Salah, was quiet and stubborn for the most part again – more on that in a bit.

Of course, the Reds need Salah to constantly rediscover his touch and his clinical advantage, but perhaps a return to attack as a whole would matter more if he plays much more in tandem with each other. others. The combined play of the starting trio was minimal, the changes and chances between them were close to zero – and we needed a central defender to score the first goal.

Anyway, for Salah, it is sometimes said that when the goals are dead, the attackers only need a rebound to open the floodgates. Maybe a thigh high look works just as well?

Ibou returns to take his place

Virgil van Dijk recently returned from injury and the fight for his partner could start again. Joe Gomez had a good game, a bad game, then got injured. Joël Matip was poor and therefore didn’t have another chance to make a claim – so tonight it was Ibou Konaté, who returned from his own absence, who returned to the line-up.

He still doesn’t look as good as he could be, the No. 5, but his season has been mixed enough to be expected. Still, good pace and power when needed was a welcome sight, as was his dominance in the air.

Midfield has been a more problematic area of ​​the team when it comes to stopping Liverpool’s conceded goals compared to actual defenders.

But even so, the number of individual errors this season has skyrocketed. Tonight was a welcome return to concentration, zeal and a fourth successive clean sheet in the league – five from six, with the highlight being… Wolves, last time out.

The pursuit in the Champions League

It makes no sense to pretend otherwise now: the Reds’ path to Europe deepens with a top-four finish. This year’s European adventure will last exactly one game, barring miracles.

Then, the state of play in the Premier League after this win: the Reds are sixth, above Fulham on goal difference, two points behind Newcastle in fifth and six behind Spurs in fourth, but with one game left for the side north of London.

Consistency will be all that matters in a very short time; in the last four games the Reds have now taken one point more than the Spurs in the same period. Small margins, but that’s what it’s going to be after Game 38.

We have already beaten Newcastle twice and Spurs once, with Antonio Conte’s side coming to Anfield at the end of April. Until then, we still have to get in touch.

And don’t rule out Fulham either, as they steal in both the league and the FA Cup; Back then, the 2-2 draw with a promoted team looked bad – but at least he has a reason now.

We absolutely have to win this Anfield encounter if it is rearranged. Anfield again

A week or two ago, Anfield were killing it for the derby. Soon after, he rebounded before the match and 20 minutes into the Champions League match against Real Madrid, but the next 70 minutes left the stadium deflated.

This continued on the journey to Palace, albeit with the Reds in the minority, of course, and then into the early days of this game.

The performance was as flat as the atmosphere: a little worrying as Liverpool must now take their ‘guaranteed’ points for the rest of the season from Anfield.

It’s always a compromise between who sets the spark, the fans or the team, but if energy was easily sapped by a big defeat, hopefully it will be restored just as quickly after a fairly normal win.