Liverpool 2 vs 0 Wolves: Van Dijk and Salah down Wolves as Liverpool move up to sixth

van dijk celebrates goal against wolves

Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool fought hard to maintain their hopes for a top four finish as late goals from Virgil van Dijk and Mohamed Salah gave them a crucial three points.

Having endured a tough start to 2023, they now stand just six points off Tottenham in fourth, with a game in hand on the London side.

Win that and the gap will be reduced to three points, and with more than a dozen games to play, the perennial Champions League outfit will fancy their chances even more after this win.

It also gives them four clean sheets in a row and 10 points from their last 12.

For Wolves and boss, Julen Lopetegui, they are still hovering just three places above the relegation zone.

Liverpool face a huge test on Sunday as they host the in-form Manchester United at Anfield, whilst Wolves host Spurs on Saturday, where ironically, they could give their most recent conquerors a big favour, by beating their top four rivals.

Harvey Elliott dominates the visitors

The game’s first real chance fell to Wolves, as Raúl Jiménez made progress down the far right side, before sending in a deep cross to João Moutinho.

And the Portugal veteran headed down to Pablo Sarabia, and the Spaniard laid the ball back and Moutinho’s driving shot was sneaking in at the far post but Alisson was alert to the danger.

It was then Liverpool’s turn to attack the Wolves goal, Diogo Jota ran at his former club with some fancy dribbling, before playing in Darwin Núñez.

The Uruguayan sent in an inviting cross but Harvey Elliott could only glance his header wide, and should have at least tested the goalkeeper.

But the teenager did so much better with his next chance.

Trent Alexander-Arnold played the ball into the box, Núñez headed down into the patch of Elliott, and the midfielder nailed a fine left footed downwards volley that was well saved by José Sá.

In their fourth encounter of the season, and all coming this year in 2023 in the space of the last few weeks, both sides were fairly familiar with each other’s game plans.

And the fluent attacking passing of the visitors soon became a bee in the bonnet of Anfield midfielder Fabinho, and he was lucky to still be on the field after a two-footed collision with former Southampton man Mario Lemina.

Although, both players went for the loose ball, referee Paul Tierney decided to book Fabinho, much to the Liverpool number three’s protests.

Both teams failed to break the deadlock in the first-half, and Reds fans would be forgiven for fearing the worst that another disappointing 0-0 draw was on the cards, having already incurred two in the past few weeks.

Jota – Núñez VAR drama

It looked almost for a second, that Jota had returned to haunt his former club, as Matheus Nunes, often so reliable in the centre of the park, had his pass intercepted and charged down by Elliott.

And the ball nearly awkwardly fell right into Jota’s path, one on one with Sá, only for Max Kilman to come up with some quality last minute defending to sneak to the rescue.

The whole of Anfield at last believed their team had seized the breakthrough, as Jota tore into the Wolves box, before Núñez slammed into the bottom corner.

In wild celebrations, the striker and his team mates wheeled away as the Kop erupted into cheers.

However, this was cruelly, and perhaps wrongly ruled out by the Video Assistant Referee (VAR), as Jota was judged to have fouled Kilman in the build up to the goal.

The goal was thus chalked off, although everything always looks much worse in slow motion, and there seems to be no deliberate intent from the Portugal star.

Van Dijk and Salah break the deadlock

Sometimes, it’s up to a team’s best players to literally drag their team over the finish line, and that’s exactly what Mr van Dijk and Sir Salah did.

Alexander-Arnold’s in swinging free-kick was nodded towards goal by van Dijk, an outstretched Sá could only palm into the direction of Jota, who delicately flicked the ball across goal, and van Dijk was on hand to head home a HUGE goal.


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A post shared by Virgil van Dijk (@virgilvandijk)

1-0 with 17 minutes left, and Liverpool surging towards an important victory.

And it was soon 2-0, as the impressive Konstantinos Tsimikas broke clear with pace down the left wing, before crossing sublimely for Salah, who stuck out his thigh, and the ball crashed against the back of the net.

Game, Set and Match Liverpool and up to sixth in the Premier League, overtaking Fulham, Brighton and Brentford, and putting Spurs and Newcastle firmly in their sights.

Fighting adversity

Having harshly had a goal ruled out which would have given the home side a vital lead, the boss praised his team’s resolve as they battled back to win the match in style.

“I think you all saw the disallowed goal a couple of times back, and when you see it in slow-motion, you see the contact then.

“But I still think it was a goal, although that’s not important anymore,” said Klopp.

“I was not worried and our reaction was really good.

“We forced the second goal. I think Virg could have scored already with the header from the free-kick, but then, top situation from Diogo and a really nice goal.”

“The second goal was exceptional play, a really good counter-attack, and each pass was perfect.

“It was a good performance from us and a really important one.

“Again, a clean sheet, which is extremely helpful. These are all positives for us.”

The power of Anfield

A tough game awaits Liverpool on Sunday with Erik ten Hag’s United fresh off beating Barcelona in the Europa League, winning the Carabao Cup against Newcastle and seeing off West Ham in the FA Cup.

They are clearly flying high and Mousier Klopp delivered his verdict.

“It’s a different game and a big challenge, of course.

“I think Man United is the team in form at the moment, maybe with Arsenal and Man City also doing well,” he said.

“But it’s a home game and it’s Anfield.

“I thought Anfield proved a point again tonight. It was super, super-enjoyable.

“It felt like a proper unit, we were all together – I loved that. That’s what we need again on Sunday, but of course it will be difficult.”

James Spencer

My name is James and I have supported Liverpool since I was 6 years old. My favourite players growing up were Steven Gerrard and Sami Hyypia. My most memorable match would be the UEFA Cup Final win over Deportivo Alaves that finished 5-4 to Liverpool! I am studying journalism in Manchester although I am a Liverpool fan through and through.

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