Friday, January 21, 2022

Prediction: Wolverhampton Wanderers vs Liverpool

Verdict: Total away goals over 2.5

Best odds: 8/5

Bookmaker: Unibet

The month of December, always extremely busy when it comes to English football, is well under way. Following their midweek exploits, Wolverhampton Wanderers and Liverpool are set to take each other on at Molineux on Saturday, in what will be the 15th match of the 2021-22 Premier League campaign for both sides.

Wolverhampton Wanderers

Wolves have done reasonably well this season so far. At the moment, they occupy the eighth place in the Premier League – a very good position for any team outside the usual top six, with 21 points. To put that into the right perspective, Manchester United in seventh also have 21, Tottenham Hotspur in sixth have 22, Arsenal in fifth 23, and West Ham in fourth are on 24.

Bruno Lage’s team have obviously shown decent form recently. Their last-six record contains a 1-1 draw away to Leeds United, a 2-1 home win over Everton, a 2-0 defeat away to Crystal Palace, a 1-0 win at home over West Ham, and two goalless draws, one away to Norwich City and one at home against Burnley on Wednesday.

A look at the stats from that last match will tell you that Wolves really should have won it, having held the ball for 66 percent of the time and taken a total of 16 shots, compared to six from the visitors. But Burnley are known as a team which doesn’t mind conceding possession and defending deep throughout an entire match, and they have never been an easy nut to crack under Sean Dyche.

Team News

The list of players unavailable for selection for the home side is quite extensive at the moment. Lage won’t be able to call upon centre-backs Willy Boly (long-term muscular problems) and Yerson Mosquera (hamstring), fullbacks Jonny Otto (knee), Fernando Marcal (COVID-19) and Hugo Bueno (hamstring), as well as winger Pedro Neto (knee). Attacking midfielder Daniel Podence also had a case of COVID-19 recently, and it remains to be seen if he recovers completely in time to play in this match.

However, the Wolves boss will be able to welcome midfielder Ruben Neves back into the fold, after the Portugal international served a suspension against Burnley.

Raul Jimenez is set to lead the line again, flanked by Adama Traore and Hwang Hee-chan. Captain Conor Coady will be commanding the back line against his former club, with Romain Saiss and Max Kilman by his side. With a number of left-backs injured, Ait Nouri is practically certain to start, with former Barcelona man Nelson Semedo on the other side.

Liverpool

Liverpool seem to be on an unstoppable run at the moment. Since the defeat at the hands of West Ham a month ago, the only one they’ve suffered this season in any competition so far, they’ve been a joy for their supporters to watch. At the moment, the Reds sit in third place with 31 points, just two less than Chelsea at the top of the table and with Manchester City squeezed in between. It seems the title race will be a tight affair between these three teams for the rest of the campaign.

Over in the Champions League, Jurgen Klopp’s team have done a magnificent job, winning all five matches they’ve played so far and securing the top spot in the group ahead of FC Porto, Atletico Madrid and AC Milan, with a game away to the Rossoneri yet to come next week.

Liverpool’s last-six run in all competitions includes a 2-0 win over Atletico at home, the already mentioned 3-2 defeat away to West Ham, a 4-0 thumping of Arsenal at home, a 2-0 win over Porto at home, a 4-0 win over Southampton at home, and a 1-4 triumph away to Everton in the first Merseyside Derby of the season on Wednesday.

The Reds completely dominated that match, with captain Jordan Henderson scoring the opener, two goals from Mohamed Salah enclosing Demarai’s Gray solitary strike for the Blues, and a Diogo Jota masterpiece to wrap the match up.

Team News

There are no fresh injury problems for Klopp, but neither is anyone among those who’ve been missing a while ready to return yet. Defender Joe Gomez (calf) and midfielder Naby Keita (hamstring) are back in team training, but the match on Saturday comes too soon for them. Young defenders Curtis Jones (eye) and Harvey Elliott (ankle), and experienced forward Roberto Firmino, will be out a while still.

With games coming thick at the moment, Klopp is likely to give some space in the team to Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Divock Origi and Takumi Minamino soon, but the Champions League match against Milan next week seems like a better moment for experiments than this one. There is simply no room for slipups if Liverpool want to keep in step with Chelsea and Manchester City in the Premier League.

Therefore, Jota, Salah and Sadio Mane should be upfront again, with Fabinho, Thiago Alcantara and Henderson in the middle of the park. Virgil van Dijk will be marshalling the defence, with Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Roberson out wide. Naturally, Alisson Becker will be standing between the posts.

Conclusion

Having played against Burnley in midweek, Wolves could not have had a more different opponent for the following match than Liverpool, not only in terms of quality, but style too. Lage’s men will hardly seek to dominate this one; they’ll need to be sharp at the back and explosive upfront.

But if the Merseysiders show their illustrious game in full, there likely won’t be anything the home team can do to stop them. What’s more,

Verdict: Total away goals over 2.5

Best odds: 8/5

Bookmaker: Unibet

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Veselin Trajkovic


Vesko is a football writer that likes to observe the game for what it is, focusing on teams, players and their roles, formations, tactics, rather than stats. He follows the English Premier League closely, Liverpool FC in particular. His articles have been published on seven different football blogs.

SHARE OR COMMENT ON THIS ARTICLE

WE RECOMMEND

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Live Scores

advertisement

Betting Guide Advertisement

advertisement

Become a Writer
More More
Top
1
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x