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Wolves 0-1 Liverpool Match Report

With Jota back at Molineux on his birthday, Wolves fans feared the worst. But those in attendance were pleasantly surprised with the fight on display as they fell late on to title-hunting Liverpool. Origi added to his ever-growing portfolio of clutch moments for the reds, inflicting damage in the dying moments, following a titanic defensive performance against one of the best teams on the planet. More importantly, the West Midlands teams put rivalry aside, as we remembered Arthur Labinjo-Hughes in a matchday tribute during the 6th minute.


After spending three days quietly concerned for how many Liverpool would put past us, the team was released, and confidence came from nowhere. Following his suspension, Neves returned for Moutinho, whilst Adama kept his place in the starting eleven. Much to the relief of Wolves fans, Liverpool were hugely off their game offensively, conceding possession too easily and not creating enough in terms of goal-scoring opportunities. Wolves held the ball well in spells whilst nullifying the likes of Salah, Mane, and the returning Diogo Jota for the first 20 minutes or so. Klopp’s men demonstrated their class soon afterwards, with arguably the best midfield in the world currently, Thiago and Henderson had the pack chasing side to side. 


Unfortunately, despite the spells of possession in the first half, Wolves were unable to fashion any openings to test Alisson properly. There was a clear tactic was to utilise Adama as the out-ball, once enough Liverpool pressure had been soaked and possession was regained, a long ball was fired up to Traore, to engage in a tussle with either of the reds centre halves. Thanks to his freakish physical attributes, this worked a few times as a worried Van Dijk resorted to putting the ball into touch. 


Again though, similarly to the Burnley match, Wolves’ positives remained in the defensive areas, with this art of defending episode provided by yours truly: Conor Coady. Saiss and Kilman were exceptional once again, with Saiss preventing an almost certain tap in from the form-man right now, Mohamed Salah. But our captain will receive the majority of my praise with one of the greatest goal line clearances anyone will see. Jota capitalised on a moment of miscommunication from Saiss and Sa, finding himself running in on an open goal with only a helpless Kilman and Coady to beat. What came next epitomised the word sacrifice, with Conor Coady leaving everything on the goal line.

Key moments


Aside from Jota’s back post header, and the square ball with Saiss doing enough to prevent Salah, the back five were immense in keeping Liverpool’s world class talent quiet for 45 minutes. The second half became a game of maintaining a compact defensive unit and using Adama’s pace and physicality to generate counter opportunities. Managing to weather the storm for 94 minutes, Van Dijk reached Salah with a long-range pass, and the Egyptian’s touch took it way away from Hoever, who then found Origi, smartly finishing on the turn to send the Steve Bull lower into pandemonium. 


Man of the match – Rayan Ait Nouri

You could choose any of the back five as the MOTM and there wouldn’t be many qualms. However, many hail Mo Salah as the best player in the world right now, many said how Rayan Ait-Nouri would be his next victim. Salah was lucky that our Algerian star boy got injured because I highly doubt Liverpool would have won if it would not have been for the 20-year old’s substitution. Rayan shushed the Premier League legend for 93 minutes, tackles and interceptions galore. Boss. 




Defending brilliantly is wonderful, and the greatest teams often leave you with little choice in the matter. However, our attacking display was abysmal today, we were extremely one dimensional and Alisson had nothing to do all game. Wolves wasted possession cheaply, the front men lacked cohesion and the ball would not stick. Manchester City will dominate possession, replicating the defensive performance of today will help, but being more efficient in the final third must improve. Five shots on target in three games is embarrassing. Additionally, the concept of a substitution is to give an advantage to your team in the latter stages, ours seem to be aiding the opposition recently and this is no fault of Bruno, our squad depth is nothing short of comical. A message to FOSUN – January investment has to happen.

Sam Beeken is part of the Talking Wolves editorial team – you can follow him here

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Leeds United 1-1 Wolves Match Report

An afternoon of initial excitement crumbles into a sorry situation for Bruno Lage’s men, conceding to a penalty in the final moments of the game. Wolves looked to create history at Elland Road, by achieving a fourth consecutive win in the Premier League. The possibility was then enhanced with key figures of the Whites squad were missing (Bamford, Phillips and Ayling). Combined with Leeds’ poor beginning to the season, an opportunity was there for the taking.


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A couple of changes were made by Lage after the last gasp win against Villa, seeing Marcal replaced by Rayan Ait-Nouri. A welcome change for many fans, as we have often seemed imbalanced when progressing forward with the makeshift left wing-back. In addition, Neves lost his spot in the starting eleven to Leander Dendoncker, seeing the Belgian begin the match in a midfield two, partnered by Joao, the seasoned vet. And the return of RJ9 provided a much-needed focal point which was missing during last week’s affair. Despite Leeds missing players in key areas, their main threat, Raphinha started on the right-hand side. A cause for some concern against Rayan who has barely touched a ball competitively since his stint at left-midfield during pre-season.

As expected, the Wolves left-hand side was targeted by Bielsa, seeing many of the Leeds attacks finishing with their beloved Brazilian. Following a couple of half-chances for the Yorkshiremen, Wolves managed to break forward into the final third after a missed sliding challenge from Harrison allowed Semedo to deliver a cutback into Raul, with a mishit shot falling fortuitously into Hwang, and the Korean king pounced to push the ball past Meslier. Wolves struggled to gain much momentum following the goal, winning the ball effectively but unforced errors became a common theme surrounding the first half, conceding possession with many a wayward pass and aimless headers. 

Seasons prior demonstrated Wolves’ superiority in the second half of games, today was different. Succeeding a cagey beginning to the second half, Romain Saiss caught Raphinha, capping the Brazilians frustrating afternoon off with injury. What seemed like Wolves’ main concern turned out not to be the problem, instead, it was 19-year-old Joe Gelhardt who replaced Mateusz Klich for the hosts. The youngster was progressive and confident with his runs, forcing the Wolves back five into sustained amounts of pressure. A barrage of attacking pressure was invited by Wolves’ negative setup, with Nelson Semedo bringing Gelhardt down in the penalty area in the dying minutes, and Rodrigo confidently sent Sa the wrong direction.

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Two points dropped, considering the hosts were missing key players and had a single win in eight. Wolves gave themselves a hard afternoon up north, Joao Moutinho saw yellow in the fourth minute, joined early in the second half by Saiss and Kilman. All three had decent games considering their cautions, yet Moutinho looked tired from half time. Neves almost certainly would have controlled the tempo in what became a very nervous final 30 minutes but wasn’t introduced until the 90th. Many fans hold firm with their belief that if Adama isn’t on it, Wolves aren’t on it, today provided some truth to that belief. We missed his ability to move 100 yards up the pitch in a flash, although credit must be placed to Dallas and Cooper who had the Spaniard pocketed all afternoon. 

Considering the threat that opposed him in his first Premier League start this season, a man of the match performance from Rayan Ait-Nouri saw him look extremely confident at Elland Road. He struggled defensively at times in the first half against Raphinha, but even the best the Prem has to offer have been sent into retirement homes by the Brazilian. It’s what he provides offensively that was more than exciting to see. Marcal delivers defensive solidity, but he can’t cross his T’s, let alone a football. RAN gave Shackleton nightmares at times in the second half, offering a balance that Lage’s men had needed in attacking areas this season.

One key aspect is missing for Wolves, an assertiveness in possession and attacking position, that was apparent against sides arguably better on paper. Perhaps there’s an element of complacency creeping in against sides we ‘expect’ to beat, but that same assertiveness must be reinstated, as today’s performance looked alarmingly like one of Nuno’s disaster classes. I believe that if Neves is fit, he must be the first name on the team sheet, his ability to control a game on his own cannot be ignored. Yet, no player today was particularly poor, more so a case of negative tactics that a desperate Leeds side managed to capitalise on, disappointing, but by no means alarming. 


Sam Beeken is part of the Talking Wolves editorial team – you can follow him here