Harvey Elliott’s stunning 13th-minute strike earned Liverpool a 1-0 victory at Wolverhampton Wanderers in an Emirates FA Cup third-round replay on Tuesday night.
Elliott’s wonderful long-range effort secured a deserved win for Jürgen Klopp’s side, who delivered an accomplished all-round performance at Molineux.
The Reds will now face Brighton & Hove Albion in the fourth round, with the tie set to take place at the Amex Stadium on Sunday January 29 (kick-off 1.30pm GMT).
Liverpool made eight changes to the team which started in the Premier League at Brighton three days previously.
Caoimhin Kelleher was selected in goal, with James Milner, Joe Gomez and Kostas Tsimikas coming into the back four. Stefan Bajcetic and Naby Keita began in midfield, while Elliott and Fabio Carvalho were named in attack.
Ibrahima Konate, Thiago Alcantara and Cody Gakpo retained their places from the weekend’s clash.
Liverpool: Kelleher, Milner (Phillips 66’), Gomez, Konate, Tsimikas, Bajcetic (Fabinho 75), Thiago (Doak 75), Keita, Elliott, Carvalho (Salah 66’), Gakpo (Jones 66’).
Unused substitutes: Alisson, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Robertson, Matip.
After an opening spell where both teams progressed the ball into dangerous areas without creating any clear-cut opportunities, the game exploded into life on 13 minutes.
Liverpool launched a swift counter-attack after Gomez blocked Rayan Ait-Nouri’s effort, with Thiago finding Elliott with a crisp crossfield pass.
The 19-year-old collected the ball in his own half before driving forward and unleashing a superb swerving strike from 25 yards. Wolves ‘keeper Jose Sa was beaten all ends up by the shot’s whip, pace and dip – and the Reds were off to the perfect start at Molineux.
Klopp’s side had a chance to double their advantage three minutes later when Carvalho played in Tsimikas after slick passing move, but the Greek full-back fired over the bar.
While Liverpool looked a threat every time they attacked, the home side were struggling to gain any rhythm in the face of the Reds’ energetic pressing and front-foot defending.
Liverpool came again just after the half-hour mark. Gakpo took aim from just inside the area and sent a venomous drive fractions over.
The Reds had firmly asserted their authority on the contest by this point, as they circulated possession with precision, speed and purpose.
Carvalho had the ball in the net on 35 minutes, clinically finishing from Keita’s through pass, but the Portuguese was flagged offside.
Liverpool appeared in total control, but Wolves fired a warning shot on 40 minutes when Adama Traore darted clear down the right and flashed a rising drive over the bar.
Liverpool made a bright start to the second half, with Keita first to have a meaningful effort on goal. The midfielder’s shot on 52 minutes went wide of the post, however.
Traore then skied a shot well over for the home side, before Gakpo forced a fine save from Sa after racing onto a through ball from Keita – the Dutchman was a couple of yards offside, in any case.
Klopp made a triple substitution on 65 minutes, with Mohamed Salah, Nathaniel Phillips and Curtis Jones brought on for Gakpo, Carvalho and Bajcetic, who had delivered an extremely mature performance in the midfield engine room.
Wolves had made a few changes of their own by this juncture, with Matheus Cunha and winger Daniel Podence among those brought on by Julen Lopetegui.
The new faces seemed to galvanise the home side, who began sustained attacks as they hunted a leveller.
Ruben Neves’ free-kick was tipped over the bar by Kelleher, before Raul Jimenez headed just over under pressure from the impressive Gomez.
Wolves fashioned their best chance of the game with three minutes remaining, but Cunha blazed over when well positioned.
Jones shot agonisingly wide for Liverpool in the game’s closing stages and, while Wolves mounted a late flurry, the Reds successfully saw out the game to book a fourth-round meeting at Brighton next weekend.