Diogo Jota marked his return to Molineux with the decisive moment as Liverpool beat Wolverhampton Wanderers 1-0 on Monday night.
The Reds forward forced a low finish past Rui Patricio in first-half stoppage time for a goal that proved sufficient to clinch victory and move his team up to sixth in the Premier League table.
Here we have picked out five talking points from the win for Jürgen Klopp’s men...
Jota follows the script
With his match-winning effort on the stroke of half-time, Jota fulfilled the perfect plot line to deliver three points for Liverpool at the home of his former club.
His fellow attackers were the architects as Mohamed Salah moved the ball across to Sadio Mane and he in turn to Jota, who was waiting to pounce in the left channel.
The Portugal international did just that, dispatching a low, first-time hit off his left foot that evaded the grasp of Wolves goalkeeper Patricio and crept inside the near post.
It brought up double figures for a delighted Jota in his debut Reds season – with his 10th goal of the campaign, and first since returning from injury earlier this month, coming on just his 21st appearance.
“Very special,” he said of the evening. “I had been here for over three years, working every day with almost everyone in that dressing room.
“Obviously it was special, I just wish the fans would have been here as well – but anyway, a good result for us and for me.”
Reds extend Wolves dominance
Success in the Midlands further extended Liverpool’s lengthy winning streak against Wolves in the top flight.
In the 100th league meeting between the sides, the Reds made it nine consecutive victories against the opposition in the Premier League.
They are now unbeaten on their last eight league visits to Molineux, too, with just one goal conceded – to Raul Jimenez in 2019-20 – in the last six.
“I think Robbo called it an ugly three points and I called it a dirty three points,” said Klopp. “I couldn’t be more happy about these three points.”
Perfect three for Kabak and Phillips
A third outing from the start for the central defensive partnership of Ozan Kabak and Nathaniel Phillips yielded a third clean sheet in a row.
The manager had cited the benefits of consistent selection in the position during his pre-match media previews, and duly opted to deploy the pair together again in an unchanged XI.
His faith was rewarded as Wolves were shut out, Kabak clocking up two tackles, six clearances and three interceptions as Phillips recorded six clearances and three blocks.
Such has been the tumultuous circumstances for the Reds at centre-back this term, only the partnership of Fabinho and Joel Matip (four) has gained more clean sheets than Kabak and Phillips have in the past 16 days.
Closing the gap
Victory over Wolves lifted Liverpool back into the Premier League top six as they reduced their deficit to Chelsea and West Ham United.
Klopp’s team now trail the former, who occupy fourth spot, by five points with nine top-flight matches still to play.
There’ll be an extended pause before they can continue their pursuit of a Champions League qualification berth, though, with their next game not until the first weekend in April when they journey to Arsenal.
They’ll do so having won six of their past seven encounters away from Anfield.
Thoughts with Patricio
All of the above was, of course, rendered insignificant when Patricio was stretchered off in the closing stages of Monday night’s game.
The home stopper required medical attention after an accidental clash with teammate Conor Coady inside his own box as Salah netted a goal that was then ruled out for offside in the 86th minute.
Thankfully, Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo was able to provide a positive update on his goalkeeper’s condition following the final whistle.
“We just had an update now and he’s OK. He’s totally conscious and he remembers what happened. He’s aware, so it should be OK,” he said.
“We have spoken already. All these situations when it’s a concussion and the head, all of us are worried. But he is OK, he’s going to recover.
“We’ve spoken to the doctor and he told me he’s going to be OK. I think he was immediately assisted well by the doctors.
“Of course, we need to take the right precautions, because it’s a concussion to the head, so it’s something we have to be aware of, but the first signs are OK.”
We all wish Patricio a speedy recovery.