Liverpool defeated Wolverhampton Wanderers in the Premier League thanks to goals from Virgil van Dijk and Mohamed Salah, boosting their chances of finishing in the top four.
Darwin Nunez’s goal was disallowed by VAR, giving Jurgen Klopp’s team hope that their Anfield match wouldn’t be as painful as it had appeared. However, Reds captain Van Dijk scored the game-winning goal with a close-range header from Diogo Jota’s cross, and Salah added a fourth after Konstantinos Tsimikas’ cutback.
With a game remaining, the victory pushes Liverpool up to sixth position in the standings, six points behind fourth-place Tottenham Hotspur. Wolves, who have presented little threat moving forward, are still in 15th place, three points above the relegation zone.
After going without a goal in four of their previous six Premier League games, Nunez’s return after missing the dull draw at Crystal Palace due to a shoulder injury may have encouraged Klopp. Despite the Uruguayan striker’s efforts, Liverpool struggled offensively for the entirety of the match before making a breakthrough from a set-piece.
Van Dijk used his shoulder to direct a free kick that Trent Alexander-Arnold sent in the direction of the goal. Jota kept the ball in after Jose Sa made a wonderful save, and the Dutch defender’s second header from close range struck the back of the net.
The tension around Anfield noticeably decreased, and Liverpool’s second goal was a far more appealing sight. With a raking pass to the left, Alisson found Tsimikas, and the Greece left-back sprinted into the area before turning back to Salah. The Egypt forward came one goal short of matching Robbie Fowler’s total of 128 Premier League goals for Liverpool when he guided the cross in off his thigh.
This was a much-needed boost for Liverpool before the match against Manchester United this weekend after the humiliating 5-2 home loss to Real Madrid and the somber draw at Palace over the weekend.
Prior to grabbing the lead, Liverpool’s quality moments at a quiet Anfield were few and far between. When they did manage to find a gap, Nunez’s tenacity and strength on the ground were typically to blame.
The returning Harvey Elliott wastedfully headed wide from eight yards after the former Benfica striker raced on to a pass and cut the ball back from the touchline in the 35th minute.
Nunez appeared to have given Liverpool the lead shortly after the hour mark when he skillfully finished a loose ball from six yards out.
Jota was found to have fouled Nelson Semedo as he carried the ball into the box, according to VAR, and after consulting the pitch-side monitor, referee Paul Tierney disallowed the goal.
When you see the [disallowed] goal in slow motion, you can see the contact, but Klopp insisted that it was still a goal. “But that’s not important now,” he remarked.
“The players don’t have a replay, and it’s obviously a goal for them. Afterward, you must respond.
I wasn’t concerned, but of course you watch how the lads respond, and the response was excellent.
The goal Van Dijk’s team nearly earned was scored shortly after, assuaging any fears Liverpool fans may have had that this might be the game’s turning point.
Due to Matheus Cunha’s absence, Wolves were once again ineffective in front of goal despite their tenacious and organized defense. After suffering an ankle injury at Fulham on Friday, the Brazil striker failed a late fitness test.
Midfielder Joao Moutinho took his place in the starting lineup as manager Julen Lopetegui switched back to a three-man midfield with the veteran Portuguese player seated beside Mario Lemina and Ruben Neves.
For a while, it effectively restrained Liverpool, but Wolves could need to provide a little more in the coming weeks to guarantee their place in the Premier League for 2023–24.
We didn’t receive anything, but Lopetegui claimed that we didn’t deserve to receive anything, so it was frustrating.
“Maybe in the first half, but in the second half we lost the rhythm and when they scored it was obviously harder.
We lost one game, which is unfortunate, but we need to quickly shift our perspective because we have another crucial game coming up [at home against Tottenham] in three days. But, we couldn’t make this work for us.
Source: BBC Sports