LIVERPOOL 1-2 WOLVERHAMPTON WANDERERS
Liverpool have been knocked out of the FA Cup. This defeat comes as the 3rd successive win our opponents have had and all of them were at Anfield sadly for our fans who like to go to our home games.
Liverpool’s team wasn’t exactly full strength, as it has not been since the end of 2016 really. Sadio Mané has been in Africa playing at the African Football Cup Of Nations (AFCON). Others have picked up injuries with Coutinho and Clyne and Lallana all missing games in the last month. There was a few Academy/reserves youngsters in the squad like Randall, Gomez, Stewart, Wilson and Woodburn.
Liverpool have had a very tight fixture list this January and being required to play 3 games in 7 days is rather a lot to ask of any team. Still, if you’re wondering why your team has lost them all after climbing to the top of the league and beating Manchester City less than a month ago, this is why. Injuries, suspensions/ineligibility to play and a fixture list that was so demanding nobody would relish having to play through it. Our squad wasn’t the exact same to the one that had taken us to first place until Chelsea started climbing the table to head past us. We’ve had setbacks which weren’t easy to recover from and were close to impossible to keep the winning streak going to the end of the season as some of our most needed players started disappearing for various reasons.
Many Liverpool fans had expected their team to be within 5 points of Chelsea as we came to play them at the end of January. We had seen consistency in 2016 that no other team (except perhaps Chelsea) had come close to achieving. We regularly won, so much that our fans were yet again singing songs about Liverpool going on to winning the league for the first time since Luis Suarez was scoring 30+ goals for us in a single season (the 2013-2014 season). It wasn’t ridiculous to be doing so, either. We had been leading the table for a large part of 2016 and were within two wins of heading past Chelsea (as long as they lost twice as we won twice, we’d take 1st place). We also knew the fixture list would bring them to Anfield in the new year and victory in that game could potentially have brought Chelsea to within just a couple of points of Liverpool.
Even as we beat Manchester City on New Years Eve, many Reds were confident that we could spend the next month winning all our games up until the time when Liverpool had to play Chelsea at Anfield, which would have been an opportunity to claw Chelsea back to about only 2 points ahead of us (if we had won at least as many Premier League games as them in January). Things haven’t planned out like that, though.
Instead, Liverpool have started to draw and lose – even at their home games. Meanwhile Chelsea used the opportunity to continue winning and further their lead on Liverpool to about 10 points. Predictions, huh? You can’t predict exactly right results every time. If you could, the bookmakers would all go bankrupt.
Back to this game, though.
The first goal of the game came in under a minute. Liverpool conceded a free kick very early on, which was crossed in by Costa and headed past Karius by Stearman. Liverpool 0-1 Wolves
Liverpool attacked our opponents but pitifully, we actually only managed to have our first shot on target by the 59th minute – yes, the second half. The entire first half was spent hitting off target shots towards the general area of the goal, but the Wolves goalkeeper never had to make a save to stop us scoring as none of them were ever in with a chance of going into the net.
Wolves were obviously made aware of our weaknesses by their manager ahead of this fixture. I would say that he’d made a plan to target the younger and more inexperienced players which Klopp had been using in these Cup competitions previously. Costa spent much of the match rushing towards our goal right past Ben Woodburn or as fans say – “Costa had Woodburn in his pocket”. Costa was also the one who set up Andreas Weimann to have his chance against our goalkeeper Loris Karius and he would double Wolves’ lead before half time. Liverpool 0-2 Wolves
The second half would see some substitutions made and Liverpool looked a better team for these tactical decisions. Indeed, we might wonder why Coutinho and Sturridge hadn’t been playing since the first minute of the game because they seemed to be the key factor in us doing considerably better than before now. Even Emre Can was an improvement on what we had been seeing in the first half. You know your peformance hasn’t been great when Emre Can comes on and makes most of the rest of the team look worse than him. No offence to Can, but he hasn’t even been a “key player” this season for us. Just a backup for when we have actual key players out and they need replacing.
Statistically, Liverpool had the large majority of ball possession and significantly more shots taken than our opponents. However only 1 in 4 shots would even go on target with 5 attempts being able to become a goal. Of those 5 shots on target, Liverpool scored 1 goal. Thank you, Divock Origi for that.
Our goal came late in the 2nd half of course. the 86th minute, to be exact. Daniel Sturridge deserves some credit for assisting his teammate with a cross that allowed Origi to rush in close and strike hard and fast enough to score from within the 6 yard box. Liverpool 1-2 Wolves.
Man Of the Match
Origi worked hard througout this whole game. He’d been a part of the starting 11 lineup and never stopped playing until the final whistle. He really worked particularly well with Daniel Sturridge (Klopp might want to consider their fruitful partnership for a more regular setup) and from the moment he got Liverpool’s goal in the 86th minute, I had honestly started to believe that Liverpool could find a second goal and equalise. He gave me hope in a game that had been rather hopeless for the previous 85 minutes. Indeed, he actually came extremely close to finding that 2nd goal himself but the Wolves goalkeeper would make a terrific save as a shot from just as close range as the goal had been found it’s way into Burgoyne’s arms instead of the back of the net. Origi was definitely closest of anyone in our team to equalise though. Nobody else had a better chance to draw the scoreline level. Well done, Divock. I just wish the entire rest of the team had shown such strong performances as you had. It’s just not enough to have a few players on form while 1 or 2 are making the others look bad.
Liverpool’s manager Jurgen Klopp would even apologise after the game for such a let down to the fans:
“I am responsible for this performance because I thought this line-up was ready for this game but obviously we weren’t and that doesn’t feel too good.
I could look for excuses but I don’t want to, maybe we should use this time to be disappointed, to be frustrated, to be angry at ourselves.
All I can say. Sorry.”
Liverpool fans have been talking about this Liverpool V Chelsea fixture since 2016. Even if we can’t claw Chelsea back to within 2 points of us any more, we should still try and beat them and stop this awful losing streak that has been happening to us at Anfield in January.
Walk on with hope in your hearts, Anfield Family. You’ll Never Walk Alone.
[written by] Stuart Drewery.
I’m an Englishman (born and raised in Liverpool in the 80s). My whole family including my parents and grandparents were Liverpool fans so I was born into being a red.
I’ve seen Liverpool win the league (more than 25 years ago) and I’ve been 100% loyal and committed while supporting the Reds through all the good times AND the bad times since the 80s