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Football News: Wolves vs Liverpool - A Liverpool (but not Ed001) Perspective

Wolves vs Liverpool - A Liverpool (but not Ed001) Perspective
Image from: freelargeimages.com

After a highly entertaining and enjoyable run of games, in which we were free scoring and playing well, the team had to dig very deep and grind out a result. Games like this can often be season-defining because things will not always go your way, the best teams find ways to win and we did just that. Despite the narrow scoreline I thought there was a significant difference in both the quality and approach of both teams and that, despite the dramatic nature of the game, we were fully deserving of the victory.


There were three key tenets of their play and they were used to their full effect: sit deep, counter attack, waste time. Wolves sat deep with lots of men behind the ball and looked to stifle Liverpool's attacking threat by reducing space. Despite doing that Liverpool were afforded a number of very presentable chances and, on another day, could've been out of sight long before the end of the game.

I thought Wolves were overly negative at times but the counter, and out ball to Traore, certainly had Liverpool worried enough times to draw fouls and see some very promising passages of play which, unfortunately for them, never really came off. The best chance came from a Van Dijk mistake and a lack of composure and final pass really let them down. Traore, Hwang and Jimenez show the ability to link with each other but we're rarely even attacking as a trio and that affected their overall effectiveness. I thought Hwang especially looked bright and, if Wolves could've utilized him more, might have created better chances.

The play acting, time wasting, "injuries" got to an embarrassing level with Jimenez at one point managing to get himself back onto the pitch in order to fall down and break the game up for "medical" treatment. Gamesmanship sure but it was frustrating as a spectacle and ultimately worked against Wolves as the 5 minutes of added time came about as a result of their theatrics. I don't blame Wolves for these tactics as officials allow it to happen and, whilst they do, teams will try whatever they can to disrupt the opposition and gain points.


I thought the tactics were spot on, the team was aggressive but didn't over commit and, for the most part, dealt with the counter attacking threat well. There were tense moments but the overall direction of the game was always moving in our favor, it was a case of making the dominating possession and play count and, as the saying goes, better late than never. Grinding out results is as important, if not more so, than steamrollering teams: It is one thing to smash teams when things are going well and the passes and moves you try are all coming off, you are confident, etc, it is another to grind out a result against tough opposition, in a hostile atmosphere, when things aren't going well. A valuable three points and a good precedent for future games when we inevitably face off against a team sitting deep, looking to play on the counter.

Klopp - got his tactics right, got the balance right, and, in one of the few things I usually find frustrating about Klopp, got his substitutions absolutely spot on. Henderson had been the least effective midfielder, Jota looked lost after missing the sitter, bringing off those players helped the team and, ultimately, helped us to the result.

Alisson - a relatively quiet game but, as he has the knack of doing, pulled off the required saves as and when called upon. Very consistent and reliable at the minute, crucial to our play.

TAA - I thought his defensive play was good, positioning good, and he helped stifle their threats on the break. Never stopped pressing or working hard either. It was a workmanlike performance and, despite a few silky outside-of-the-boot passes, didn't really get going in attack. He did miss a difficult volley first half but his trademark crossing was largely absent as that area of the pitch was overloaded with Wolves players trying to stifle both Trent and Salah. His corner delivery was good though.

Robertson - he has improved markedly and this was another sign of his improvement in form. His delivery and attacking verve as looked much better and he again caused problems. Defensively he had his hands full with Traore but he did well and, despite picking up a yellow, was solid when he needed to be, not to mention tireless in getting up and down the pitch.

VVD - for the most part he was solid and commanding but he looked rattled when Traore was running at him and it seemed to induce a few errors. None of these were punished and, as the game wore on, he became more and more comfortable until Wolves basically gave up as an attacking threat.

Matip - his runs from deep, which are often decent, only to misplace the eventual pass, drive me mad. However, he had a very good game and dealt with there attackers well. Traore never really made it to his side of the pitch and, as Traore was the player Wolves continued to try and utilize, he had a slightly easier day at the office.

Fabinho - another very good game, another yellow card (which was actually a "good" professional foul), another masterclass in reading and breaking up play, he stopped so many of their attacks before they got started and he was crucial to out dominance. When he plays well the team looks better as a whole.

Thiago - Man Of The Match - he was so good that he became an easy out ball/ pass for his teammates which meant a few players became over reliant on him. His tackling and work rate was excellent, his passing was top notch, he asked questions of them again and again and gave Wolves a real headache: get right to him and leave someone else open, give him an inch and watch him take a mile. Dictated large portions of the game, very impressive.

Henderson - he has been excellent recently but this was probably one of his poorer performances. Seemed to effectiveness on the ball and on a number of occasions seemed to impede Trent rather than help. His work rate was good but his passing wasn't up to its usual standard and, to me, he seemed a bit mentally tired. I'm sure though he'll be back to his best in no time, it was pleasing that Klopp recognized his dip in levels and subbed him.

Salah - got himself an assist, probably should've got himself a goal, but mainly gave Wolves a headache that meant they had to have two or three men near him just to stop him. In the end, with tired legs and minds, they still couldn't stop him and he played a vital part in our winner. His work rate was exemplary as well, he never ever let them settle and got back multiple times to help out the defense.

Mane - I thought he, like Henderson, seemed a little jaded mentally and it affected the speed of his play. Too often he slowed it down and took too many touches, his best moments were when he played quick, incisive one-touch passes but he didn't do this anywhere near enough. He had two very good chances second half and I think their goalkeeper Sa made an excellent save. He can and has been playing better, the lack of space up front probably didn't help, but he will want to do better next time out.

Jota - I thought he was playing well until his miss: good pressing and work rate, good movement, getting into dangerous positions, turning over the ball frequently, etc, but that miss was shocking and he seemed mentally shattered after. A very good decision to take him off by Klopp as he just wasn't focused at all, the fact we rescued a win is a massive boost for him as it means he probably won't fixate on that chance and allow it to affect him moving forward. Obviously should've scored one but he had a very good chance first half as well, maybe just one of those days for him. Write it off and move on.


Oxlaide-Chamberlain - I couldn't say that he was outstanding in any way but he looked sharp and his freshness and energy allowed the midfield to keep dominating and pushing for a winner. If he can maintain fitness and find some of his pre-injury form he will be a huge asset.

Origi - had a few touches and bits of interplay but, truth be told, didn't do much. until he did. His composure in crucial moments, at crucial times, shouldn't be underestimated and it again lead him to a goal and our team to a hard fought 3-points. I'm not convinced he has the quality to ever be a starter but, in the role he fulfills for us, I'm not sure there is anybody better. If he is willing to stay as a super sub we should be more than willing to sign him up.

Milner - brought on as a time wasting exercise after the goal.


Grinding out results is just as important as sweeping to three points, since the West Ham defeat we have done both - it has been a very strong response and we should feel confident in our teams ability to keep pushing until the season concludes. With the hectic winter schedule and upcoming AFCON there are a lot uncertainties ahead but this team looks well equipped to handle them. Add to that Curtis and Elliott due back and there is a lot to be hopeful for. Whether we sign anyone or not in January we are in a good position to challenge on multiple fronts, it will be interesting to see how we fare.

I wrote this match review after seeing Ed001 mention how busy he was and how he'd be happy if someone could write some in his absence. I cannot do every game but, if I'm able to watch the full game (weekend games are fine, weekday games not so much) I'll try and write something up.

Written by Seano_ December 05 2021 16:23:49


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