Can Liverpool maintain their incredible Premier League run? George Pitts previews their Thursday night clash with Wolves at Molineux.
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Wolves v Liverpool
- 2000 GMT kick-off on BT Sport 1
If any team can topple this great Liverpool side, surely it is the only one that has done the double over Man City in the Premier League this season?
You would think so, but football does not always work that way. What we can say from evidence is that Wolves have performed well against the big six in their two seasons in the top flight under Nuno Espirito Santo.
In 2018/19, they collected four points from Man United, four from Arsenal, three from Spurs (and the defeat was a close 3-2 thriller), one from a dominant Man City (at Molineux), none from Liverpool (but an FA Cup win) and another four from Chelsea.
This time around, they have beaten City twice, as mentioned, and drawn with Leicester, Man Utd and Arsenal (and it should have been Spurs but for a late Jan Vertonghen strike).
They had a difficult spell recently losing three of five games in the Premier League but coming from two down to win 3-2 at Southampton on Saturday will have given them a significant confidence boost.
They lost the reverse fixture at Anfield narrowly, a 1-0 scoreline at the end of last month, when Santo's side were unfortunate not to get a point after Pedro Neto's goal was chalked off by VAR for offside - by the thinnest of margins, too.
A worry for them in the second half of this season is most definitely burnout. If the post-Christmas period was not bad enough, this will be Wolves' 42nd game due to their Europa League involvement and, as they currently sit in sixth, it would be no surprise to see them drop off a little.
Regardless, they are a force against the top teams, setting up well and making it hard to break them down while posing the threats to exploit the top sides at the other end.
Liverpool keep on chugging like the machine they are and it is difficult to call where they will next drop points due to their dominant and effective style this term.
Their defence started out poorly though, with clean sheets a rarity and both teams have scored in 13 of their 22 games so far.
Granted, they have kept six successive clean sheets but such a run has to come to an end sooner or later (although when their unbeaten run ends is a different story!).
With this in mind, the price available on both teams to score at a fraction under evens looks worth taking. Even if they fail to get a result, they can at least find the back of the net.
Another fancy is to look at the set piece market. Two sides with plenty of creativity, Wolves average six corners per game in the league this season, as do Liverpool.
With the visitors inevitably due a dominant period of the game (if not most), they could easily rack up the corner count and backing 11 or more in the game - they had 11 alone in the weekend win over Manchester United - looks a great price at 13/10. Between two teams, it is not a big ask.
Score prediction: Wolves 1-2 Liverpool (Sky Bet odds: 15/2)
Wolves full-back Ruben Vinagre will miss the Premier League clash against leaders Liverpool due to a hamstring injury. Willy Boly (fractured leg) is out while Diogo Jota may return after a serious dead leg.
Wolves completed the signing of striker Leonardo Campana on Wednesday but he is not available for the match as he is currently involved in Ecuador's Olympic 2020 qualifying campaign.
Provisional squad: Patricio, Ruddy, Doherty, Coady, Kilman, Jonny, Bennett, Sanderson, Giles, Perry, Dendoncker, Gibbs-White, Saiss, Moutinho, Neves, Jimenez, Campbell, Traore, Neto.
Liverpool midfielder Fabinho came off the bench against Manchester United and could start for the first time since November after recovering from an ankle problem. Dejan Lovren (hamstring) is back in training but remains a major doubt for Jurgen Klopp's side, while midfielders James Milner (hamstring) and Naby Keita (groin) remain out.
Xherdan Shaqiri is also set to miss out with a calf injury but Joel Matip could again feature on the bench after not playing since October due to a knee issue.
Provisional squad: Alisson, Adrian, Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, Van Dijk, Lovren, Robertson, Williams, Matip, Henderson, Fabinho, Wijnaldum, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Lallana, Minamino, Shaqiri, Salah, Firmino, Mane, Origi.
- Wolves have lost each of their last six Premier League meetings with Liverpool, scoring just one goal in that run, since a 1-0 win at Anfield in December 2010.
- Liverpool haven’t lost away against Wolves in league competition since August 1981. They’ve won three and drawn three of their six visits to Molineux since, keeping a clean sheet in each of the last four.
- This will be Wolves’ first ever Premier League game on a Thursday. Meanwhile, Liverpool have won just 25% of their Premier League games on this day (2/8), their lowest win rate on a specific day in the competition’s history.
- Wolves are unbeaten in their last seven home evening kick-offs in the Premier League (7pm or later), winning five and drawing two since a 0-2 loss against Crystal Palace last January.
- Liverpool have won each of their last eight evening kick-offs in the Premier League (7pm or later), scoring 31 goals in these games and conceding just six in return.
- Should they remain unbeaten in this game, Liverpool will be only the fifth team in the history of the English Football League to go 40+ league games undefeated, after Nottingham Forest (42, 1977-78), Arsenal (49, 2003-04), Chelsea (40, 2004-05) and Huddersfield Town (43, 2011).
- Wolves have won 18 points from losing positions in the Premier League this season, seven more than any other team. They are one of only nine teams to have come from 2+ goals behind to win in more than one Premier League game in a season, and the first since Man Utd in 2017-18.
- Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah has been directly involved in 88 goals in 93 Premier League appearances for the Reds (65 goals, 23 assists) – the Egyptian scored and assisted in Liverpool’s 2-0 win over Wolves at Molineux last season.
- Wolves duo Adama Traoré and Raúl Jiménez have combined for seven Premier League goals this season, more than any other partnership. Traoré has registered six assists this season, twice the amount he managed in his previous three Premier League seasons with Aston Villa, Middlesbrough and Wolves (3).
- Liverpool have won their last seven Premier League games without conceding a goal – the last time a team won eight in a row without conceding was in February 2009, when Manchester United won nine consecutively.
Odds correct at 1500 GMT (22/01/20)
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