Wolves 0-1 Liverpool
Molineux, Premier League
Saturday 4 December, 2021
Goals: Origi 90+5′
Patience and profligacy
Recent months have seen Liverpool go out and simply blitz everyone they come across, culminating in that record-breaking run of notching two or more in so many matches.
This, against a team who concede fewer shots on goal per match than any Premier League side other than the top three, was always going to be a very different occasion.
Wolves simply don’t allow you much space in the box without working very hard for it or having real quality in the build-up.
Of course the Reds would always create some chances and Diogo Jota had to score at least one of his big two, a header and an open goal, while Mane was denied late on and Trent blazed over in the first half.
And, then, Origi.
A reminder that our stellar attack is not utterly infallible and of why having a brilliant defence is a must as well, to keep a shut-out of their own and at least preserve the chance of victory until the last.
Liverpool’s centre of the park has been exemplary over the last few games, but they had a hit-and-miss time of things at Molineux.
Thiago had unquestionably the best outing of the trio, showing his passing and progressive play over and over again, including for the best two chances of the first half coming via his vision.
Defensively, too, he offered plenty in both halves, and if a few passes went wayward, it was a minor negative compared to some of the decision-making on show by certain individuals on both teams.
Jordan Henderson didn’t have a great outing after a few big recent showings, while Fabinho was excellent to start with but a little marginalised by necessity once he was booked for taking down Adama Traore.
Adama Traore: Reds target or flashy and ineffective?
The past couple of weeks have seen Adama Traore rumours doing the rounds once more, a frequent name linked to Liverpool but rarely with any more end product than, well, than Adama himself across the course of a season.
In the first half, the allure and the possibility of his play was on show. Twice he carried the team about 40 yards upfield, weaving away from challenges into five yards of space each time.
Both occasions he overhit the pass at the end.
Second half, he forced an error from Van Dijk and his powerful running in possession got both Fab and Robbo booked, but overall, there was again very little in terms of real creativity from his good positions and no direct threat to Alisson.
Perhaps that is more the side of an undoubtedly exciting player which determines whether or not he’s a real addition option.
Jota’s dismal day out
He should have won the game, simple as that. Some of Diogo’s off-the-ball work was decent, but this was one of those games when nothing he did in possession was simple or effective.
Missed passes overhit, bad choices made to shoot at some times and woeful execution at others.
Jota should have scored in the first half with a close-range header, sent wide, but every Premier League player should be scoring Jota’s second chance, basically an open goal after a defensive mix-up with just two defenders on the line, right together in the middle of the goal.
Pass to Mane? Roll it in either corner? Switch it to his right foot? Basically, anything other than the option he took would have ended up in a goal, but Jota blasted it with his left straight at the two defenders.
Wolves don’t give you many chances, but Liverpool forced a huge one – Jota blew it this time.
He owes Big Div a pint of Ribena.
Title charge and Villa vibes
From a run of important fixtures to a total dead rubber, for all intents and purposes, in midweek.
We head to Milan knowing this is merely fixture fulfilment, aside from obvious financial and fitness implications from the 90 minutes.
A few players returning from injury will hope to feature, as will those who have been fit but out of the line-up for the past couple of weeks, like Ox and Kostas.
Meanwhile in the title race, the Reds are top of the table – at least for a couple of hours.
That late, late, late, late winner from Origi gives us serious Aston Villa vibes from the title season: that late turnaround where Mane and Robbo struck in stoppage time to turn defeat into three points and spark another upsurge of belief.
Chelsea‘s slip-up at West Ham both gave us a chance to pounce and also served as evidence that our own defeat there wasn’t all that bad after all – and now we’ve taken our chance to keep winning and leapfrog them. Onto the San Siro!