Liverpool will be hosting Wolverhampton Wanderers on Wednesday as they look to continue their fine league form and push towards the top 4.
The Reds have improved their league form after a horrendous start to 2023 as they picked up just a point in their first 4 games of the new year. They were held to a goalless draw by Crystal Palace last time out in a game which saw both the sides have clear-cut chances to score and break the deadlock with Mohamed Salah and Diogo Jota hitting the woodwork. They currently sit 7th with 36 points and are 9 points behind Tottenham Hotspur in 4th with 2 games in hand.
Wolves have looked resurgent under new boss Julian Loptegui as the Spaniard has helped them move clear of the relegation zone and are currently in 15th 3 points off the drop. They picked up a point over the weekend against Fulham who equalized in the second half to share the spoils. Loptegui’s men have only lost to Manchester City in their last six away matches in the league and have already beaten Liverpool earlier this month on their home turf.
When & Where?
Date: 1st March 2023.
Time: 8:00 PM GMT.
Venue: Anfield Stadium
Referee: Paul Tierney
Assistants: Constantine Hatzidakis, Nick Hopton
Fourth Official: Graham Scott
VAR: Stuart Atwell
Assistant VAR: Scott Ledger
Liverpool were without Darwin Nunez for the trip to Crystal Palace as the Uruguayan had a shoulder injury from which he had recovered just a few days before. There have been no new updates on the former Benfica striker’s situation and he remains a doubt for the Wolves game. Arthur Melo played for the U-21 side as the Brazilian inches closer to first team action and could make the bench. Thiago, Joe Gomez, Calvin Ramsay and Luis Diaz are all unavailable as they nurse their respective injuries. Roberto Firmino made a substitute appearance in the game against Crystal Palace and could start ahead of Cody Gakpo.
Wolves lost Matheus Cunha to an ankle injury in their last game as the Brazilian had to be stretchered off in the second half. This piles more woes on Loptegui as he will be without Cunha, Hwang Hee-Chan, Sasa Kalajdzic and Chiquinho for the trip to Merseyside leaving him with only Raul Jimenez and Diego Costa as the only fit strikers in the squad. Podence, who was benched last time out, could make his return to the starting XI to replace the injured Cunha.
Liverpool’s only realistic chance of getting into the Champions League next season is finishing in the top 4 now after the 5-2 defeat to Real Madrid in the first leg of the Round of 16. Klopp will have to rally his squad and continue their winning ways to keep building momentum and climbing the league table. The midfield crisis and injuries to key players has played a huge role behind their downfall this season even though the side looks better in recent weeks.
The injury return of Roberto Firmino and Diogo Jota will be a huge boost to the squad as Klopp can start a fully refreshed attack against Wolves. With 3 consecutive clean sheets in their last 3 games and the return of Ibrahima Konate, the Reds would be fancying their chances of winning the game and avenging the 3-0 loss at Molineux.
Wolverhampton Wanderers have settled in well under new boss Loptegui and the Spaniard’s style of play has suited them well. The problems lie in attack for them as they have scored just 18 goals this season which is the 2nd lowest in the league. To put this stat into context, they managed to score 1/6th of their season’s goal tally against Liverpool during the reverse fixture. They have been unlucky with injuries to their attacking players and the loss of Cunha at the weekend sums up their injury situation this season. Regardless, they have been able to get the results and continue their momentum. This time around they will face a more defensively sound and resilient Liverpool side who will have their home supporters behind them. The 3-0 win at Molineux would certainly be a decisive psychological factor for Wolves and Loptegui to cause another major upset and dent the Reds’ top 4 ambitions.
The Egyptian has had an underwhelming season so far by his standards even though he has scored 16 times and assisted 7 times in 29 appearances for the Reds. Despite his poor individual form taking all the headlines, his underlying stats are still very encouraging and impressive. He is averaging 8.3 touches per 90 in the opposition box which is in the 99th percentile in the league. Getting him more involved in the attack was a huge problem for Klopp in the beginning of the season, but it looks like the German has managed to solve this problem. The Wolves defence will certainly be difficult to break down though Salah’s individual brilliance could be enough to get all 3 points for Liverpool.
The Portugese has settled well since his January arrival at Wolves and has contributed well to the attack. Since his Premier League debut, Sarabia has created more chances(7), had more shots on target(3) and played more passes into the box(29) than any of his teammates. He was also on the scoresheet against Fulham and will want to continue his fine form in attack.
Liverpool predicted lineup vs Wolves: Alisson, Alexander Arnold, Van Dijk, Konate, Robertson, Bajcetic, Fabinho, Elliot, Salah, Firmino, Jota.
Wolves predicted lineup vs Liverpool: Sa, Bueno, Dawson, Kilman, Semedo, Sarabia, Lemina, Neves, Nunes, Podence, Jimenez.