Liverpool v Wolves
Sunday 6 December, 19:15
Live on Amazon Prime Video
Fortress Anfield to fall?
They say all good things come to an end and circumstances look encouraging for Liverpool’s unbeaten home run to be cracked on Sunday.
Only Chelsea (Jose Mourinho 1.0) have posted a longer home unbeaten streak in top-flight history than the Reds’ current effort of 64 Anfield matches without defeat.
For the record, Crystal Palace were the last team to win there in April 2017. Alberto Moreno and Jordon Ibe both started for the hosts that day.
But these are testing times for Jurgen Klopp and his title-winning squad.
The injury list has hit worrying proportions with Alisson, Thiago, Joe Gomez and James Milner among those definitely out of this one.
Trent Alexander-Arnold and Naby Keita both resumed full training on Friday but given Klopp’s recent comments about muscle injuries, will he really be keen on rushing them back? There’s a dead Champions League rubber coming up on Wednesday if he wants to give the duo some minutes, while I can’t help but think Klopp must already be eyeing the looming clash with leaders Spurs on December 16 given how well Mourinho’s current side have started.
To be fair, the stand-ins have performed admirably – there is clearly much young talent in this squad – yet it’s also undeniable that Liverpool have not been the force of last season and even earlier this.
They’ve won just two of their last five with Atalanta winning at Anfield in the Champions League before Premier League points were dropped late on at Brighton.
The Reds bounced back on Tuesday with victory over Ajax, a result which ensured they won their group with a game to spare, but it wasn’t hugely convincing.
The case for Wolves
They may well grind out another result here but Wolves definitely have the tools to make things difficult.
How well Wolves played was rather lost but they produced arguably their best display of the season, causing all sorts of problems for the Gunners despite the early loss of their star striker.
Pedro Neto, who now has three goals in 10 games, continued his good form, while Daniel Podence looked back to the player who lit up the early weeks of the campaign. The 11/2 OddsBoost for him to score in this one looks tempting.
Adama Traore returned to the line-up and appeared determined to stay there, while Fabio Silva did well enough as Jimenez’s replacement.
Admittedly, boss Nuno Espirito Santo, who has defender Romain Saiss available again this week, may not stick with such an attacking XI at Anfield.
Last season here he left out Jimenez and played Neto and Diogo Jota – now plying his trade with the Reds – up top. But it worked a treat and Wolves were unfortunate to lose 1-0, two controversial VAR decisions going against them. Many labelled the best away team at Anfield last season.
The return game at Molineux was also close, Liverpool winning 2-1 thanks to an 84th-minute goal.
Wolves may not have got any change out of Klopp’s men last season but they again showed their ability to beat the elite, winning at both Manchester City and Spurs, a venue they also claimed victory at in 2018/19.
Visitors have decent chance
They have seven league wins on the road in 2020, a figure only Manchester United can beat. In terms of this season, they’ve won three of five so far.
Overall, I think that’s enough evidence to suggest Wolves have a decent shot here at a tasty price in the match result market – they are 7.26/1 for the victory with a home win available to back at 1.564/7. The draw is a 4.3100/30 shot.
Another low-scoring affair?
Another positive for Wolves has been their defence. Only Spurs and Chelsea have conceded fewer goals than their 11 and four of those came on one miserable night at West Ham.
They’ve managed four clean sheets – twice the number of Liverpool – and it’s not a short-term trend either. Going back to the calendar-year stats, Wolves’ 13 clean sheets in 2020 are a league high.
With Liverpool’s goal output having, perhaps understandably, dropped, under 2.5 goals is the potential value on the goals line at 2.26/5. It’s a bet which has landed in three of the sides’ four league meetings since Wolves’ top-flight return.
Traore a card magnet
Finally, it wouldn’t be a Wolves game without a nod to the cards market where Liverpool’s left-back may be in for a tough day if Traore is again in the starting XI.
He wins fouls galore for his side and the number of players booked for challenges on him has risen to ridiculous levels over the past 18 months – more than 20 last season alone.
Andy Robertson will likely be the man in that position, as long as he’s fit having picked up a knock against Ajax. He’s 4/1 to be booked.
Kostas Tsimikas is another possibility with his lack of Premier League experience a notable factor. The Greek is chalked up at 9/2.
With Craig Pawson – one of the better referees for producing cards – in charge, this looks a ploy to consider once the teams are known.
After conceding seven goals in their first three Premier League games this season, Wolves have shipped just four in their last seven in the competition.
Click here for more Premier League tips and previews