The pre-Xmas schedule has started well, and next up for Liverpool is a weekend trip to Molineux Stadium. Wolves are having a fine season thus far, and currently sit 8th in the table, with 21 points from 14 games. Liverpool sit 3rd on 31 points, as part of the three team title chasing group.
Since arriving from Benfica, Bruno Lage has continually impressed. Last season saw Wolves stagnate somewhat, but they have once again found their identity this term. With a busy few days behind them (and two goalless draws), Lage will be keen to gain maximum points this weekend. With his strongest available lineup in evidence against both Burnley and Norwich, he may now be forced to shuffle the pack. Fabio Silva and Trincao will be pushing for minutes, in what will remain a 3-4-3 system.
Liverpool head into town with a full head of steam, and an abundance of goal scoring momentum. Despite Wolves’ relatively modest 12 goals scored, they even that out with only 12 conceded. Liverpool have been able to exploit teams that adopt a 3 man defence, however Lage appears to have his system finely tuned to grind out results.
Jürgen Klopp probably has the more pressing selection issues, with a trip to Italy (to face AC Milan in the Champions League) in midweek. Liverpool have already qualified for the knockout stages, so this may see Klopp try to maintain the brunt of his first team. Ibrahima Konate will probably continue to rotate with Joel Matip, so should expect a start. Kostas Tsimikas may come into contention, though Andy Robertson appears to have his best form back.
The midfield is where a change is most likely, with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain a genuine rotation piece this season. Jordan Henderson and Thiago Alcantara will be vying to continue as starters, yet one may well come out for their own good. James Milner is also waiting in the wings, with a suspension in place for the Milan game. The current attack will surely continue, with their potency at its frightening best. Roberto Firmino is still on the injured list, and the remaining attacking backups will no doubt start in the week.
This contest is most definitely intriguing, and could be a hard game to predict. Wolves seem happy to sit deep and counter, and their organisation is looking sound. Raúl Jiménez is starting to look the part again, and will offer a good outlet for any breaks. The pace of Hee-wan Chang and Adama Traore will have to be monitored, especially with Liverpool’s dominance of the ball seeing a high line maintained.
Liverpool are flying, and there seems a real intent after the West Ham loss. Their appears a real want to take games away from the opposition right now, and their overwhelming patterns of play should see them as narrow winners. Diogo Jota will be looking to add to his brilliant tally, and his return to Wolves will make for an interesting watch.
Player to watch – Diogo Jota
Wolves 1 – 2 Liverpool