Wolves remain stuck in mid-table after they were outclassed by Liverpool and suffered their second four-nil defeat of the season.
The away side dominated the opening stages but fell behind after Mohamed Salah pounced on a Conor Coady mistake to slot Liverpool ahead.
After the break, they doubled their lead through a sumptuous Gini Wijnaldum strike to essentially put the game to bed.
They sealed a dominant victory through a powerful Joel Matip header from a wonderful Salah cross, and an own goal from Nelson Semedo as he tried to block Sadio Mane’s effort from a whipped ball.
Wolves came into the game on the back of two promising performances with their new back four formation. They worked wonders against Arsenal without Raul Jimenez after his gut-wrenching head injury (which he is now, thankfully, recovering well from) and used the 4-2-3-1 to great effect.
Fans were positive going into this one having seen Liverpool labour to a draw against Brighton in their previous game, and with the home side missing a number of first team players.
The game started with that positivity as Wolves looked dangerous going forward and got in behind Liverpool several times. Adama Traore and Pedro Neto were testing the fullbacks and getting balls into the box, although Wolves were wasteful.
Podence came close to opening the scoring with a delightful chipped attempt on the edge of the box, but Premier League debutant Caoimhín Kelleher managed to tip it wide. Another chance presented itself as Traore burst clear of Andrew Robertson, only to fire his cross too hard into the box with Podence waiting on the penalty spot.
Wolves were made to rue those missed chances as Conor Coady tried to chest a forward pass, only managing to divert it into the path of Salah who duly converted into the bottom corner 16 minutes in to give the home side the lead against the run of play.
Liverpool then began to assert their dominance and Wolves struggled several times to defend in transition and regroup when they lost possession, there was a constant danger of the defence being overrun and they looked out of shape whenever there was a turnover.
Despite using forward runs from Semedo and Traore, Wolves couldn’t get the ball to stick up-front and looked blunt trying to create clear-cut chances. Conor Coady went over to win a penalty which was initially given, but on the VAR replays it showed that Coady dived for the spot-kick and the decision was overturned.
The half-time whistle came at a good time for Wolves as it seemingly gave them a chance to regroup, but it was very much the opposite.
Liverpool began to grow in momentum and Wolves began to look more and more stretched as they tried to equalise, and the pressure paid off as Wijnaldum scored 10 minutes into the second half with a wonderful curled strike from 18-yards out. Whilst the strike itself was magnificent, questions could’ve been asked about the defence backing of the Dutchman as he ran towards goal.
After the second goal went in Wolves capitulated, they lost the ability to even retain possession and Liverpool stepped up into fifth gear. Salah and Mane were constantly forcing the fullbacks into their own half and exposed Willy Boly and Coady as Semedo and Marcal were further up the pitch.
They extended their lead on 67 minutes as Salah whipped in a wonderful cross and it was met by the towering figure of Joel Matip, who celebrated emphatically to match the power of his header.
As Wolves tried to get themselves on the scoresheet, they became frustrated and lost confidence in the game – something we haven’t seen often from a Nuno side.
The Reds completed their rout with 15 minutes to go as Nelson Semedo inadvertently scored an own goal as he slid in to block Trent Alexander-Arnold’s cross. With Sadio Mane mishitting the shot, the sliding Portuguese defender saw it deflect off his left leg on to his right and into the back of the net.
Fabio Silva was brought on to try and help things up top but he couldn’t stamp any mark on the game and Wolves continued their abysmal record of only picking up one point from a losing position this season.
Man of the Match – Willy Boly
Despite the torrid time the defence Boly stood out to me as slightly more solid than the rest of them, he made some good blocks in both halves and looked comfortable in possession. Didn’t put too much of a foot wrong but it still wasn’t one of his stellar performances. Best of a bad bunch I’m afraid.
The back four has been something we’ve all wanted for a while and I think this game highlighted some of the teething problems it will throw up this season, it very much feels like a transition at the moment and this performance showed that. This formation and tactical overhaul will take some beatings over time but we can still remain hopeful that good things will come of it. Liverpool are still one of the top teams in Europe and plenty have been blown away by them before, so this result is by no means a disgrace. Lots of negatives but plenty to analyse and improve upon for Nuno and his team.