Virgil van Dijk and Mohamed Salah goals give Reds victory over Wolves
Liverpool moved up to sixth in the Premier League table with a 2-0 win over Wolverhampton Wanderers at Anfield on Wednesday night.
After Darwin Nunez had an effort ruled out following a VAR review, Virgil van Dijk put the Reds into the lead on 73 minutes when he headed Diogo Jota’s return ball in from close range.
Mohamed Salah furthered the advantage of Jürgen Klopp’s side soon after by prodding in from Kostas Tsimikas’ cutback from the touchline.
The victory – which includes a fourth consecutive league clean sheet – elevates Liverpool to just six points behind fourth-placed Tottenham Hotspur having played one game fewer than the Londoners.
Liverpool’s teamsheet showed six changes from the weekend draw at Crystal Palace.
Ibrahima Konate and Tsimikas came into defence, Stefan Bajcetic, Harvey Elliott and Fabinho returned in midfield and Nunez was fit enough to return in attack.
Liverpool: Alisson, Alexander-Arnold (Milner, 89), Konate, Van Dijk, Tsimikas, Fabinho, Bajcetic (Henderson, 79), Elliott, Salah, Nunez (Firmino, 89), Jota (Gakpo, 75).
Unused subs: Kelleher, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Robertson, Carvalho, Matip.
With rain swirling around Anfield, the teams made a lively start with chances at both ends in the opening five minutes.
First, Bajcetic’s turn and shot from a central position inside the box lacked the power to truly trouble Jose Sa following good work between Salah and Elliott down the right.
Wolves broke and a one-two inside the area between Joao Moutinho and Pablo Sarabia resulted in the former having a shot palmed around the post by Alisson Becker.
From the resulting corner, Sarabia was a matter of inches away from meeting a recycled ball back into the danger zone with his head.
Nevertheless, it was the hosts forcing the early initiative with Tsimikas having a ball into the six-yard box cut out by Craig Dawson and Fabinho then causing panic among the visitors’ backline after regaining possession into the area, but he was unable to find a teammate.
At the other end, Van Dijk was required to produce a crucial block on a shot from Raul Jimenez following a break from Julen Lopetegui’s team.
With 35 minutes gone, Fabinho’s first-time volley back towards goal from a half-cleared corner was blocked as Liverpool looked to capitalise on another spell of pressure.
Next, Elliott was then presented with the chance of the night so far, but could only head down and wide from eight yards after Jota had slid Nunez into space for for a cross from the left.
The No.19 went closer with a near-post hit from Nunez’s chest off in first-half stoppage time; however, Sa was able to turn it behind, ensuring the opening period would conclude goalless.
Liverpool started the second half with Trent Alexander-Arnold having a shot charged down on the edge of the box before Elliott again tested Sa with a low effort following fine work from Nunez to set him up.
Just before the hour, Max Kilman had to deny Jota from getting a clear strike at goal after Matheus Nunes’ blocked pass had deflected into the No.20’s path in a promising position on the edge of the box.
The Reds thought they’d made the breakthrough soon after when Nunez drilled in from close range after Jota had weaved his way into space inside the area; however, a VAR check asked referee Paul Tierney to check the pitchside monitor, who deemed the Portugal forward had committed a foul in the build-up.
Nevertheless, Liverpool did take the lead on 73 minutes.
Alexander-Arnold’s free-kick from the left struck the shoulder of Van Dijk, but required Sa to claw it away. Jota reacted quickest to turn it back into the six-yard box, where the No.4 headed in.
A second followed moments later. Alisson’s goalkick out to the left was nodded down by Tsimikas to Cody Gakpo, who with his first touch after coming off the bench returned the ball to the Greek defender and sent him speeding down the left.
Tsimikas remained patient before pulling the ball back from the byline for Salah to nudge in from close range, sealing a crucial three points for Klopp’s men.