Wolves 3-0 Liverpool: Dawson and Neves help inflict ANOTHER defeat

Wolves 3-0 Liverpool: Liverpool lose three successive away Premier League games for first time in more than a decade as Craig Dawson and Ruben Neves net after Joel Matip’s own goal to inflict more misery on Jurgen Klopp’s struggling side

  • A first-half own goal from Joel Matip saw Jurgen Klopp’s side go behind after just five minutes at the Molineux
  • Craig Dawson doubled the lead on his debut seven minutes later before Ruben Neves sealed all three points
  • The result piles more pressure on Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp with their straight away defeat

We know Jurgen Klopp doesn’t like to answer the money question. He scowls and snarls at it. He gets defensive. And so it is maybe with some irony that he is currently spared from tougher inquisitions around the freefall of a giant on account of how much credit he has in the bank.

Which is right, of course. There is a balance to these things and six and a half exceptional years cannot be undone by one almighty dud of a season. No set of scales, even in the grubby madness of this league, would accept such nonsense.

But you do start to wonder.

You wonder about a midfield that is no longer fit for purpose. You wonder about a defence that is fast catching it in the race to the bottom of acceptable standards. You wonder about a pressing system that was once worthy of a moniker and has now been shredded in three straight away defeats – their worst such run in 11 years.

From there, you wonder about a club that challenged for four trophies deep into last season and has almost run out of cards in February of 2023. You wonder about only one signing made in January and you do, reluctantly and ever so cautiously, wonder about Klopp and what they say about his habit for the seven-year itch.

Wolves smashed struggling Liverpool at home to jump up to 16th in the Premier League – two points above the drop zone

Liverpool suffered their third successive away defeat, with Wolves the latest team to hand the Reds a heavy defeat

More pressure mounts on  Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp, with the Reds barely hanging onto a place inside the top ten

It was a poor start for the Reds after Hwang Hee-Chan’s shot was deflected into the back of the net off Joel Matip

Craig Dawson doubled Wolves’ lead just 12 minutes into the contest with a thumping strike on his debut

Because we also have to ask, is this just a drama? Or is it a crisis? As it is starting to look an awful lot like one, with only fingernails keeping Liverpool in the top 10 having just been wacked for three by the worst attack in the league.

For a little meat on that bone, Wolves had scored only 12 goals in 20 prior to this game; through a Joel Matip own goal and further strikes for the debutant Craig Dawson and Ruben Neves, they had themselves a feast, only pausing to ask one another about how it wasn’t more.

For make no mistake, this was a hiding. Klopp says it wasn’t but it was. True, Liverpool got better after what he called the ‘misery’ of the opening 12 minutes, but had it been 5-0 it would not have been overly cruel or unusual.

That is a tremendous reflection on Wolves, it should be said. Julen Lopetegui was given fortunes to spend in summer and winter and this was a good repayment of faith for a club who opened the day in the muck of a relegation fight.

As much as Liverpool were dire, Wolves were excellent. They found a broken door ajar and kicked it off the hinges – more performances like this and they will pull it off.

But Liverpool?

Here, they were a shambles from the start, which has become something of a recurring observation around a side that statistically and anecdotally has been the worst out of the blocks of any in the division this season.

To contextualise that point, by the time Matip nudged into his own net – the fifth time Liverpool have conceded inside five minutes this campaign – they had already endured two near misses through poor defending.

Ruben Neves sealed a third goal for Wolves to kill the game off  after a devastating counter-attack led by Adama Traore

Mohamed Salah failed to make an impact for Liverpool on what was his 200th appearance for the club

Liverpool had a number of changes during the contest, including from Salah, but struggled to find the back of the net 

One big blow for Wolves was Hwang Hee-chan being forced off in the first-half after pulling up with an injury

Liverpool were played through the middle of the park at ease during the match and Neves got the third on a counter-attack 

That’s fine so long as warnings are heeded. So long as lessons are learned and attention shifts. But it didn’t and so threats morphed into a first-half walloping.

The opening goal was a blend of a defensive error and a subsequent misfortune brought on by the initial mistake, starting when Matip hesitated and allowed a floated pass from Pablo Sarabia to drop for Hwang. His cross then hit the defender on the knee and rerouted into goal. Harsh in its way but Matip sculpted the rod for his back.

The second goal was even uglier from the Liverpool standpoint, hence the contortions of fury that spread across Klopp’s face. It commenced with a free-kick by Neves, escalated when Andrew Robertson was beaten to the first ball by Cunha, and got worse when no great effort was made to prevent the Brazilian from crossing. 

Ultimately, Maximilian Kilman had a header blocked by Cody Gakpo before Dawson reacted quickest to finish. In a crowded area there seemed to be no challenge whatsoever. Dire, really.

MATCH FACTS AND PLAYER RATINGS

Wolves (4-3-3): Sa 7, Semedo 7, Dawson 8, Kilman 7 (Jimenez 60, 6), Ait-Nouri 6.5 (Jonny 84); Lemina 7 (Podence 82), Neves 8.5, Nunes 7; Sarabia 7.5, Cunha 7 (Moutinho 60), Hwang 7 (Traore 41).

Subs not used: Collins, Bentley, Hodge, Bueno.

Booked: Dawson

Julen Lopetegui 8

Liverpool (4-3-3): Alisson 6.5; Alexander-Arnold 5, Matip 4, Gomez 5, Robertson 5 (Tsimikas 86); Keita 5 (Henderson 65, 6), Bajcetic 5.5 (Elliott 77), Thiago 5 (Milner 85); Salah 5, Gakpo 5 (Oxlade Chamberlain), Nunez 5.5.

Subs not used: Jones, Carvalho, Phillips, Kelleher.

Booked: Gomez

Jurgen Klopp 5

Ref: Paul Tierney 6

Perhaps Dawson is a symbolic point in all of this. He was one of six players Lopetegui wanted for a thin squad last month and his wish was granted – if Wolves do go down it certainly won’t be for a lack of investment. If Liverpool blow the Champions League and miss out on top four, both of which feel very likely, Klopp might think the opposite.

Here, he was watching a horror show, exacerbated when Matip, one of his two changes from the FA Cup exit at Brighton, almost gifted Wolves a third after losing possession to Matheus Nunes. On that occasion he was bailed out by Alisson’s save, so two would have to do for Wolves in the first half.

Out of such bleakness, Liverpool actually started the second with more pace and they had a few chances, particularly for Salah and Darwin Nunez.

They were cranking it up. Awakening. And then of course they hit the wall again, with a third goal rooted in the sloppy loss of possession by Gomez before Adama Traore led the counter and squared for Ruben Neves, who had moved untracked into the area.

With his finish a song went around the Wolves end: ‘You’re getting sacked in the morning.’

Klopp stared at the ground. Maybe there were answers in the dirt.

Klopp has a big task at hand to stop the rot at Liverpool with a place in the top four continuing to slip further away

Source: Read Full Article