Liverpool defeated Wolverhampton Wanderers (Wolves) 1-0 in the replay of their FA Cup third-round fixture on Tuesday, January 17.
Wolves entered this contest on the back of two wins, two draws and one defeat in their past five games. They secured a narrow 1-0 win over West Ham United in the Premier League as they looked to overturn their poor start to the season. Julen Lopetegui fielded a competitive lineup for this game.
The Reds, on the other hand, have won two, lost two and drawn one of their past five fixtures. They were hammered 3-0 by Brighton & Hove Albion in a game which would have forced Jurgen Klopp to rally his troops and reorganize as they looked to progress to the fourth round of the FA Cup. Liverpool lined up with a mixture of experience and youth.
Liverpool started on the front foot as they looked to grab control of the proceedings early on. They raced into an early lead as Wolves were left exposed in midfield. Thiago Alcantara played the ball to Harvey Elliott in space, who drove forward for a few yards before unleashing a strike that caught Jose Sa off-guard. Despite scrambling backwards, he was unable to prevent the Reds from going 1-0 up.
Neither side created clear-cut chances apart from the goal as there was only one other shot on target, which came from Liverpool. Wolves were toothless in front of goal as none of their four shots hit the target in the first half. After an entertaining 45 minutes, the visitors led 1-0 at the break.
The second half saw the hosts make several attempts as they tried to claw their way back into the game. However, Liverpool were composed at the back and did not allow Wolves to find ways through their defense. Despite attempting seven shots, the hosts hit the target just twice. The Reds, on the other hand, were subdued in attack as they fired two shots off-target.
Wolves dominated possession with 64% of the ball in the second half, especially in the final quarter of the hour. The Reds were determined, and with the help of timely substitutions by Klopp, they held on to secure a deserved win.
On that note, let's take a look at the five talking points from the game.
#5. Liverpool have an exciting set of youngsters ready for their break
Today's Reds lineup included youngsters Harvey Elliott, Fabio Carvalho and Stefan Bajcetic, all of whom are gifted players. They began the game strong and played with flair and fearlessness, something this Liverpool side were renowned for not so long ago.
Harvey Elliott led the charge as he took matters into his own hands and scored a scorching goal from about 30 yards. His strike ultimately turned out to be the difference between the two sides. Carvalho and Bajcetic, too, had good games as they looked confident and poised on the ball.
#4. Wolves need to find a way past their inconsistency
Out of their eight games since the Premier League resumed following the World Cup break, Wolves have won four games. However, just two of them were back-to-back victories as the team struggles to find their rhythm under Julen Lopetegui.
One thing that will encourage the Spaniard and his team is that they haven't lost by more than one goal in either of their two defeats. With Rayan Ait-Nouri and Adama Traore up front, they surely have the potential to be a better team. However, with Raul Jimenez looking a shade of himself since returning from injury and Diego Costa looking past his prime, they will need to find solutions soon.
#3. The game began with a very unusual incident
When Adama Traore burst down the right flank seconds after kick-off, there was a very strange incident that occurred. Just before he attempted to cross the ball, all the lights in the stadium suddenly went out and it was pitch black, much to the amusement of the home support.
This also happened once during the pre-match warm-up, as mentioned by the commentators, who later also clarified that there was a power cut in the localilty just before the match.
You can watch the video below:
#2. Liverpool will need to add reinforcements to contend again
While there is no doubt the Reds have multiple young prospects among their ranks ready to break onto the big stage, they also need strengthening in key positions. With injuries and age catching up to their once world-beating squad, Liverpool are in desperate need of one or two additions in midfield and attack.
While they were slightly fortunate they came up against a Wolves side struggling to score goals, this will not be the case in the latter rounds of the FA Cup or other competitions. With just under two weeks left in the January transfer window to end, Klopp will need to rack his brains and hopefully recruit some players.
#1. Harvey Elliott stole the show with his stunning goal
With just 13 minutes on the clock, the game was just about beginning to settle as both Liverpool and Wolves had spells on the ball prior to that. Thiago passed the ball forward to Elliott, who took advantage of the fact that Wolves defenders afforded him acres of space as they dropped back into their own half.
He also saw Jose Sa several yards off his line and decided to shoot, resulting in one of the most spectacular goals of Liverpool's season so far.
You can watch the goal below: