Preview: Liverpool v Wolves (H)

With the Reds on a low trajectory following elimination in the semi-finals of the EFL Cup in midweek, Stephen Lindell looks forward to the FA Cup home tie against Wolverhampton Wanderers. 

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It’s been a difficult period of the season for Liverpool Football Club. 

The Reds were swift off the blocks as the season commenced – and topped the table on November 6, finishing Christmas as runners-up.

However, on the back of the festive period, Liverpool have struggled to rediscover their scoring ability, confidence & mentality.

Jurgen Klopp’s side are yet to win a league game in 2017 against the likes of Sunderland, Man United & Swansea; revoking doubts regarding the team’s complacent attitude heading into games against the ‘lesser’ teams.

Klopp & the side heaped more negative media attention on themselves with heartbreak in midweek – in a 1-0 defeat to Southampton at Anfield, in the EFL Cup. It was a performance that typified our recent run – rebuffed of creativity, ideas or quality at the back.

Therefore, you can’t really ask for anything more than a win here against Championship outfit Wolverhampton Wanderers in the Emirates FA Cup.

Even though this is a game we MUST be winning, I can’t stress how important it is that the team don’t underestimate the visitors.

Wolves have already dumped out fellow Premier League side Stoke City away from home – so a good start is key. If we take too long to get out of second gear, they’ll immediately be able to suss our already-outdated 4-3-3, like Southampton did at Anfield.

The Reds are in imperative need of some FA Cup magic to spur them on.

Team News

  • Klopp insists ‘we won’t make 10 changes’ ahead of Wolverhampton, but a relatively strong side expected to feature.
  • Adam Lallana required stitches for cut obtained in Southampton defeat in midweek. Unlikely to feature.

My Starting XI

Even though this is a different proposition to Southampton, Klopp still insisted that he will play a strong side for the visit of Wolves on Saturday lunchtime. It’s positive that lessons have been learnt..

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I’m going with a 4-2-2 diamond here, instead of the standard 4-3-3, which sides have began to suss without Sadio Mane. Play the slideshow below to see my pick..

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Prediction

Like I said before, it’s imperative the Reds are sharp from the off and don’t take chances. Focus and attitude is vital – both of these attributes have cost us in our previous outings in all competitions. Divock Origi, being a senior player, has a point to prove, following his goal drought & recent poor performances, which have really come under the radar.

This’ll also be a test of Liverpool’s defence too. The youngsters such as Joe Gomez and Trent Alexander Arnold will be looking to impress, having done so recently.

Going forward, I think Ejaria, Origi & Ojo’s pace will be a key asset. Paul Lambert’s Wolves could possibly come to Anfield solely fighting for the replay and putting several men behind their goal, as League 2 outfit Plymouth did to great effect.

A win here is the minimum return required – with leaders Chelsea at home looming, it’s important to at least restore some parity to the Anfield ranks, something we’ve been rebuffed of recently.

A defeat – and the season is already dead & buried, where silverware is concerned. The league is a different story, for a different day.

Verdict: Liverpool 2-0 Wolves 

Odds:

Back the flailing Reds at 1/3 to prevail against the Midlands side, but the visitors for an upset at 21/20 at Betfair.

Written by @SteLindellLFC

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