Match verdict from Paul Gorst as Diogo Jota helps Liverpool seal 1-0 win against his old club Wolves

As the nature of this Premier League season becomes increasingly harder to predict, Liverpool might just be primed to profit from the chaos.
After six straight Anfield defeats saw the Reds’ stock plummet to its lowest in years, Champions League football seemed further away than ever just eight days ago.
But in a weekend that saw everyone between fourth and seventh drop points, this latest away-day triumph has dragged Liverpool by the scruff of the neck back into the mixer.
And it just had to be Diogo Jota who did it at Molineux, didn’t it?
When the post mortem of this campaign is undertaken, the focus will inevitably fall on the spate of season-ending injuries at centre-half, but the near three-month absence of Jota should not be easily discarded either.
The Portugal international scored nine times in two months before a knee injury left him on his sofa in a brace as his team-mates began to slip away from the summit.
His 10th of the season – scored in bittersweet circumstances for him, no doubt – was timely, arriving just seconds before the half-time whistle blew.
How much different might Liverpool’s season look had Jota been available for those barren winter weeks across January and February?
And perhaps the same can be asked of Fabinho, who once more sparkled at the base of Liverpool’s midfield.
Read More
Related Articles
Read More
Related Articles
The Brazilian was inspired in the engine room, winning the ball, using it intelligently and, most crucially, providing a double-glazed screen for the impressive duo of Ozan Kabak and Nat Phillips at centre-back.
After spending much of the campaign as an emergency centre-back, Fabinho’s triumphant return to midfield has been much-needed.
When Klopp’s side last visited Molineux, a hard-fought victory was enough to take them 16 points clear of second-place Manchester City en route to a first title since 1990.
How times have changed.
And while that 2-1 triumph in January 2020 was merely further evidence of an impending title procession, all this latest win in the Black Country does is provide more questions about what might be achievable.
Now up to sixth, a five-point buffer between them and Chelsea still has the Londoners as favourites for that final Champions League spot, but the challenge is once again a genuine one to chase for Klopp and his players.
If they can somehow harness this absorbing victory and build on it over the next two months, a finish inside the top four may not look the laughable prospect it was just last week when relegation-threatened Fulham left Anfield with maximum points.
Achieve that and we will say no more about what has been a wretched campaign to forget for Klopp’s side in the main.
That the Premier League champions do not play any of their top-four rivals again is a lamentable fact, but the weekend’s sequences of results offers hope that the likes of West Ham, Tottenham, Everton and Chelsea are far from imperious.
For all the criticism Liverpool have deservedly received for their home form since the turn of the year, their away-day fortunes have flown quietly under the radar in recent weeks.
Sign up for daily Liverpool news
Get all the latest Liverpool breaking news, team news, transfer rumours, injury updates plus analysis of what’s next for the Reds.
You’ll also get the latest transfer talk and analysis every day for FREE!
Sign up here – it only takes a few seconds!
They have now won five of their last six away from home in all competitions. It’s half-a-dozen from seven, if you include that ‘home leg’ against RB Leipzig in Budapest last week.
The green shoots of recovery might just be starting to sprout for the champions inside the final 10 games.
If they can rectify this unbelievable slump at Anfield then there might be something to salvage from the wreckage of 2020/21.
After last week’s success in Budapest, Klopp named an unchanged team for this one with Roberto Firmino still not fit enough to make the squad.
Liverpool’s first real chance arrived when Sadio Mane went clean through against Rui Patricio.
Electing to go around the goalkeeper, the Reds forward was touched en route before the angle was closed off.
The chance eventually came to nothing as the Senegal star saw his honesty go unrewarded.
It’s not the first time Mane has failed to earn a spot kick under duress. File this one alongside Southampton, Sheffield United and Newcastle.
Perhaps the Liverpool forward may benefit from a more streetwise streak in future?
Mane’s second chance would also go begging as he put Trent Alexander-Arnold clever cross wide with a diving header before the break.
But if his confidence is not at its highest right now, he showed his class with a wonderful sweeping counter-attack that also involved Mohamed Salah.
Diogo Jota of Liverpool celebrates after scoring
The pair exchanged one-touch passes before Mane found Jota to squeeze it past Rui Patricio with virtually the last kick of the first half.
It was a beautifully crafted goal that proved for all the toiling Liverpool have done in recent weeks in the final third, they remain a potent force when it all clicks.
All it took was one moment of incision to open Wolves up and win this game.
Klopp sent on Naby Keita and James Milner for Thiago Alcantara and Gini Wijnaldum to freshen up his midfield inside the final 25 minutes.
With the back four finally getting a settled look about it, it was a rare luxury for Klopp to rotate in the middle as the expected onslaught from Wolves was anticipated.
Salah thought he had ended proceedings late on but the offside flag was raised as Patricio was accidentally caught by Conor Coady’s knee.
Seven minutes were added on as Jon Ruddy was permitted to enter for his stricken colleague as a ‘concussion sub’.
Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo was at least able to confirm his goalkeeper “was fine” after the game.
The inevitable late charge arrived from the hosts but the Reds’ character, one that has been conspicuous by its absence in recent months, rose to the foreground once again.
Suddenly, Liverpool are looking up once more.
Read More
Related Articles
Read More
Related Articles