Liverpool will be hoping to bounce back from their disappointing defeat against Southampton in the EFL Cup semi-final when they return to FA Cup action on Saturday.
Jurgen Klopp’s men have been pretty poor so far this year after taking the Premier League by storm in the opening months of the season. The manager is under some pressure and some (ludicrous) fans went as far as suggesting he was due the sack! It’s extremely unlikely that will happen any time soon but it certainly won’t do Klopp or his team any favours if they suffer another defeat against Wolves.
Wednesday evening’s defeat has eliminated one opportunity for silverware so Liverpool will now be eager to push on in the FA Cup competition. It is still one of the most prestigious trophies in the world and success in the competition would certainly signify the improvements Liverpool have undergone since Klopp’s arrival.
For Wolves it is simply a matter of seeing how far they can go in the competition. They are not expected to reach the finals but victory against one of the Premier League giants would certainly give Paul Lambert’s side a much-needed confidence boost. Wolves have struggled in the Championship this season and they currently sit in 18th place – just seven points off the relegation zone – so they need to start picking up some form.
They knocked out Stoke with a comfortable victory in the last round which will have given Wolves a great platform to build on. They have nothing to lose because Liverpool will go into the tie as clear favourites but Wolves have shown glimpses of what they are capable of achieving at times this season and they will be hoping to produce the goods on the weekend.
Liverpool have picked up just one victory in 2017 and that was in this competition during the third round replay against Plymouth Argyle but Wolves picked up a hugely encouraging victory against Aston Villa two weeks ago.
Nathaniel Clyne was ruled out on Wednesday and it is unclear whether he will be fit for action so Trent Alexander-Arnold could be called upon to play in the right-back role yet again. Sadio Mane will remain absent as he is currently on duty for Senegal at the Africa Cup of Nations.
Former Liverpool academy star Conor Coady is expected to line-up against his boyhood club but Wolves will be without goalkeeper Carl Ikeme as he serves a two-match suspension for the red card he was shown at Carrow Road.
- The last time the two sides met Liverpool recorded a commanding victory at the Molineux under Kenny Dalgish.
- None of those three scorers on that day in January 2012 are still at Liverpool (Craig Bellamy, Andy Carroll & Dirk Kuyt).
- Wolves’ last victory against Liverpool came in December 2010 when they stunned the Reds with a 1-0 victory at Anfield in the Premier League.
- The two sides have faced each other on 100 occasions in their club’s history.
Philippe Coutinho: The “Little Magician” is back to full fitness and he will be crucial to his side’s attack on Saturday. Liverpool have struggled to produce goals since Mane’s departure for AFCON and Coutinho is usually at the heart of everything going forward. He was one of Liverpool’s best players on Wednesday and they will need him to bring his magic wand if they hope to breakdown another wall on Saturday.
Helder Costa: The forward is the club’s top goalscorer this season and alongside David Edwards, he has been the main threat in attack. He is one of just two players in the Wolves squad to have scored in the FA Cup so far this season so he will hope to add to his tally on Saturday as his side go searching for an upset.
Liverpool’s poor form surely won’t last forever, right? After Wednesday’s performance the Reds will be keen to bounce back and prove to their fans that they want to pick up silverware so they should be dominant. Wolves will most likely put men behind the ball but they don’t have the defensive stability that Southampton have so they will be opened up eventually and made to suffer.