Wolves saw Rui Patricio stretchered off following a horrific collision late on as Diogo Jota claimed a 1-0 win for Liverpool on his return to Molineux.
The Portugal goalkeeper was clattered by skipper Conor Coady in an incident that brought back memories of the injury striker Raul Jimenez suffered at Arsenal back in November.
It overshadowed Jota’s first game back at his former club after the forward reignited the Reds’ top four hopes when he finished off a flowing move right at the end of the first half to claim his 10th goal of the season.
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Jurgen Klopp named an unchanged team from the 2-0 Champions League victory over RB Leipzig and his players responded with a solid if unspectacular showing.
Wolves may feel they could have had an early penalty when Alisson barged into Nelson Semedo, but too often Nuno Espirito Santo’s men lacked quality in the final third.
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The result sees Klopp’s men move up to sixth in the table, five points adrift of fourth-placed Chelsea with nine games to go. Wolves remain 13th.
Liverpool will now head into the international break early with some much-needed momentum before making a trip to Arsenal on Easter Sunday. Wolves host West Ham a day later.
TALKING POINT - Liverpool’s improvement overshadowed
You have to feel for Wolves. They lost their main forward, Jimenez to a fractured skull back in November and the Mexican still hasn’t returned to first-team action. It’s really unfortunate that another collision has led to an injury for Patricio. A decision was made not to show TV replays of the collision with Coady and Nuno was once again left worrying more about the health of one of his players rather than the result. The medical teams spent a length of time assessing Patricio before finally carrying him off, but there was an update post-match to suggest the keeper was conscious and should be OK. There will no doubt be more news about the incident in the days ahead.
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As for Liverpool, they will be keen to show their support to Wolves and Patricio, but will also be pleased to have given their top-four quest a boost heading into a break. Klopp’s men took advantage of slip-ups from many of their rivals for the European places at the weekend and he will hope to do further work with the majority of his players prior to the clash at Arsenal. The central defensive partnership of Ozan Kabak and Nat Phillips is far from perfect, but it has kept three clean sheets in three outings when both players have started. That will only help with the team's overall confidence moving forward.
Diogo Jota (L) celebrates
Image credit: Getty Images
MAN OF THE MATCH - Sadio Mane (Liverpool)
The forward has looked far from his best in the Premier League this year, but he was important to this victory. Had a big hand in Jota’s winner and was at the heart of Liverpool’s best attacks.
Wolves: Patricio 7, Boly 7, Coady 7, Saiss 7, Semedo 7, Neves 6, Moutinho 7, Jonny 6, Neto 7, Jose 6, Traore 7. Subs: Silva 6, Dendoncker 6, Gibbs-White n/a, Ruddy n/a (concussion substitute for Patricio).Liverpool: Alisson 6, Alexander-Arnold 8, Phillips 7, Kabak 7, Robertson 7, Wijnaldum 7, Fabinho 8, Thiago 7, Mane 8, Jota 8, Salah 7. Subs: Milner 6, Keita 6, Oxlade-Chamberlain n/a.
2’ – WOLVES PENALTY SHOUT! Did Liverpool get away with one there? Alisson fumbles a right-wing cross and barges into Semedo. There are no real appeals but that could easily have been seen as a penalty.
14’ – LIVERPOOL CHANCE! Thiago and Wijnaldum link up in the middle of the park to send Mane clear. The forward rounds Patricio but goes too far wide and can't get an immediate shot away. When he cuts back his attempt is well blocked by the covering defenders.
38’ – LIVERPOOL CHANCE! Mane powers a header just wide of target after super link up from Salah and Alexander Arnold on the right. It really was a peach of a cross from the full back.
45+2’ – GOAL! Wolves 0-1 Liverpool (Jota): Jota nets the opener at the expense of his old club. Salah and Mane combine brilliantly to tee up Jota to squeeze a shot beyond Patricio at his near post.
49’ – WOLVES CHANCE! Coady is left free at the far post but can only head over from Saiss' lovely cross.
80’ – LIVERPOOL CHANCE! Salah bursts into the right side of the area. It's a narrowing angle but he still forces Patricio into a smart save with a low, angled strike. Liverpool keep the ball alive and Jota sees his fizzing drive kept out by the Wolves keeper.
87’ – PATRICIO INJURY. Salah buries Oxlade Chamberlain’s pass but is flagged offside. Patricio was clattered by Coady and needs medical treatment. After several minutes the keeper is carried off and replaced by Ruddy as per the new concussion substitution rule.
90+16’ – WOLVES CHANCE! Silva’s eyes light up as he meets a high ball around the six-yard box, but it comes off his shoulder and not his head. Easy for Alisson.
- Jota is just the second player to score both for and against Wolves in the Premier League after Stephen Hunt.
- Wolves have lost their last nine Premier League games vs Liverpool, their joint-longest losing run versus a side in their league history alongside nine consecutive defeats vs Brighton between 1979-1989.
- James Milner is making his 158th Premier League appearance as a substitute, the joint-most in the competition's history alongside Peter Crouch.
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