Liverpool v Wolves, Sunday December 6
7.15pm, Amazon Prime
Liverpool are in injury crisis and the loss of Alisson doesn’t help things. People will point to the fact that Caoimhin Kelleher excelled against Ajax on Tuesday, but they seem to neglect the fact that he conceded 10 goals in two League Cup games last season and is still very much an unknown quantity.
Jurgen Klopp’s side are now more vulnerable at the back than they have been in recent memory and Wolves can exploit that on Sunday night. Wolves came very close to taking something off Liverpool last season when the Reds were at the peak of their powers when they were denied an equaliser by the tightest of VAR calls.
They can go one better and get a result against this weakened Liverpool outfit.
Liverpool have a 100% winning record at home in the league this season and are unbeaten in their last 53 home games, but they could be thwarted by a Wolves side that is ideally set up to take advantage of Liverpool’s vulnerabilities and simultaneously restrict their potent attack.
Liverpool’s defence bears absolutely no resemblance to the miserly outfit we have seen over the past two seasons, especially without Virgil Van Dijk at the centre. Even with the Dutchman, however, Liverpool looked uncharacteristically vulnerable, conceding 11 goals in the four games he finished.
They currently boast one of the worst defensive records in the league, with only relegation-threatened Fulham and West Brom boasting worse, and Wolves can certainly exploit their defensive fragility through the pace of Daniel Podence and Adama Traore.
The loss of Raul Jimenez is huge, but Wolves will still pose a significant threat on the counter-attack.
On the other hand, Liverpool also boast the best attacking record in the league and possess endless attacking quality in a front four of Mo Salah, Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane and Diogo Jota. There could be goals on Sunday night.
It just feels destined to happen in Jota’s first outing against his former club especially considering the former Wolves forward has been a revelation since moving to Anfield. He’s scored nine goals in his first 15 games for Liverpool in all competitions, including five Premier League goals in his opening eight games.
He has scored in all four home league games he has played for Liverpool and all of them have been crucial, including match-winners against West Ham and Sheffield United and nerve-settlers against Leicester and Arsenal.
Signed as a back-up for Liverpool’s front three, Jota has already exceeded expectations and simply has to start every week at present.
There is a good chance that he will continue his impressive scoring streak at home on Sunday night.
There is a good chance Liverpool will set up camp in Wolves territory if Nuno Espirito Santo’s side do manage to frustrate the hosts and it stands to reason that they will win a lot of corners as a result. The Reds are averaging seven corners a game at home in the league this season and have won a significant number of corners when they have had to chase the game against the likes of Leeds and Sheffield United. It is highly likely that they will achieve similar numbers on Sunday.
Wolves, meanwhile, are averaging 4.5 corners a game this season and can at least match that on Sunday. Set pieces may very well be Wolves’ best chance to exploit Liverpool’s fragile defence and goalkeeper and they will surely hope to win their fair share of corners too.
Liverpool v Wolves tips
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