5 Talking Points: Liverpool vs Wolverhampton Wanderers

The weekend's fixture is set to be a momentous occasion for all Liverpool fans. For the first time since being crowned English champions, the Reds will welcome back 2,000 lucky fans to Anfield as they take on Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Jurgen klopp at anfield
Image Source: Bavarian Football Works

Jurgen Klopp's men head into this weekend's fixture sitting joint top of the league table with Tottenham Hotspur, and he will know full well that his side is up against a resilient Wolves side capable of frustrating the especially the "top teams".



We take a look at some of the key battles and talking points, as well as our score prediction at the end.


1. Key Battle: Diogo Jota and Conor Coady


The match could well be decided by this much anticipated battle, as the two players will have a chance to reunite with their former clubs. Both players left their clubs on a positive note (something that cannot be said often, these days), and will be relishing the opportunity to play a big part in Sunday's clash.


Coady left Liverpool in 2013 after failing to nail down a spot in the Reds' starting eleven, playing for Sheffield United and Huddersfield Town before establishing himself at Molineux Stadium. The former Liverpool Academy player is now regarded as one of the best defenders in the Premier League, captaining a quality Wolves side as well as winning his first international cap with England. His huge personality and leadership also makes him one of the most well-liked players in the division.

conor coady and diogo jota for wolves
Image Source: The Boot Room

Quickly proving himself to be the signing of the season, Jota took little time to settle at Anfield after departing Wolves in September 2020. His explosive start to his Reds career meant that he had already established himself as one of the fans' favorite, and we bet the Portuguese winger cannot wait to finally have the chance to play in front of them. Yes, it might not be the entire Kop, but we are certain it will help...


2. The perfect time for Nuno Espirito Santo



There perhaps will not be a better time to play against Liverpool this season, as Klopp's side find themselves massively crippled by injuries. Alisson Becker is the latest victim, while Andy Robertson might well be the only available first choice player in the backline on Sunday. The usual suspects of Thiago Alcantara, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Naby Keita and Xherdan Shaqiri are all unavailable in the midfield, while only the frontline remains relatively unscathed.

Nuno Espirito Santo for wolves
Image Source: Sports Mole

Wolves have always been able to set up well defensively against the top sides, hurting oppositions to devastating effect on the counter attack. But perhaps a ravaged Liverpool team will give Nuno the confidence to set up his team in a more offensive manner this weekend, loosening the leash off the likes of Adama Traore, Daniel Podence and Pedro Neto.


3. Key Battle ll: Caoimhin Kelleher vs Fabio Silva


Another intriguing battle to keep a lookout for will be the two youngsters thrusted into the limelight no thanks to injuries suffered by key players Alisson and Raul Jimenez. Kelleher's storming performance against Ajax in midweek will definitely have given him a huge dose of confidence, while the 18-year-old Silva's performance against Arsenal was one that looked beyond his years.

Kelleher and Klopp
Image Source: Liverpool FC

Both young players will have huge boots (or gloves) to fill, and will be keen to carry on from their encouraging showing in their previous games. Can the Irish shotstopper keep the Portuguese forward at bay?



4. Will Liverpool start the "Fab Four"?


When Liverpool signed Jota earlier this year, it was largely seen as a move to provide cover for the irreplaceable front three of Sadio Mane, Mo Salah and Roberto Firmino. But with the Portuguese forward taking his new challenge like duck to water, coupled with the ever-expanding injury list, Klopp has found a way to fit the fantastic four into his system, with Firmino often playing in a deeper role.

Firmino, Salah, Mane, Jota
Image Source: This is Anfield

Jota and Salah both look equally capable of playing down the middle — allowing the side to possess a fluid attacking trio that seems interchangeable across the front three positions, leaving opposition defences with a nightmare to deal with.



Setting up in such an attacking fashion will no doubt leave some holes at the back, meaning the likes of Jordan Henderson and Gini Wijnaldum will have extra ground to cover.


With the fixtures coming in thick and fast, will Klopp take on a more conservative approach against a pacey Wolves side and opt for Curtis Jones in the midfield instead?


It is a tough call, but we cannot see Klopp leaving any of the front four out at the moment.


5. A chance for the Reds to secure top spot


This weekend will be a good opportunity for the Reds to further stake their claim to defend the Premier League title, as teams around the top all face potential banana skins in what is proving to be one of the most competitive seasons.


Current leaders Spurs will face bitter rivals Arsenal in a North London derby where the form book gets tossed out of the window; Chelsea hosts a tricky Leeds United side; Sheffield United will be desperate to get their first win against Leicester City; Manchester City who have yet to convinced face a resurgent Fulham team while top-half teams Manchester United and West Ham United are facing each other.

firmino and wijnaldum celebrating
Image Source: Football Addict

It is unlikely that this Sunday's game will be looked back at the end of the campaign as one of the defining moments of the season, but a victory against a very strong Wolves side will be a perfect way to kickstart the hectic year-end schedule.


Score Prediction: Liverpool 2-1 Wolverhampton Wanderers


 

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