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Preview: Liverpool vs. Wolverhampton Wanderers - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Sunday's Premier League clash between Liverpool and Wolverhampton Wanderers, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

For the first time since being crowned champions, Liverpool will play in front of their own fans as 2,000 supporters return to Anfield for the visit of Wolverhampton Wanderers on Sunday night.

Jurgen Klopp's side head into the weekend with only goal difference keeping them off the top of the table, but Wolves could move to within just one point of their opponents if they end the Reds' long unbeaten run at home.


Match preview

Curtis Jones celebrates scoring for Liverpool against Ajax in the Champions League on December 1, 2020© Reuters

Few Premier League clubs will have missed the roar of their fans as much as Liverpool as Anfield opens its doors to supporters for the first time in nine months this weekend.

In that time, Liverpool have of course been crowned champions for the first time in 30 years, but fans have had to wait until Sunday to recognise that achievement in person, and even then only 2,000 will be lucky enough to have the opportunity to do so.

One thing which has not changed in the absence of supporters is Liverpool's imperious record at home; their unbeaten run now stands at 64 games - the second-longest such run in English football history - while they have won 29 of their last 30, picking up an incredible 88 points from the 90 on offer in that time.

It is a remarkable fact that a significant chunk of their current squad - including Alisson Becker, Virgil van Dijk, Andrew Robertson, Fabinho, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane - have never lost a league game at Anfield during their Liverpool careers.

Wolves will be looking to change that stat for those who are fit to play this weekend, and they have cause for optimism after beating the champions away from home last season too - a 2-0 triumph over Manchester City.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp gestures to officials against Brighton & Hove Albion on November 28, 2020© Reuters

Should they repeat that feat at Anfield then they would be become only the third team in Premier League history to beat the defending champions away from home in consecutive seasons, and they will consider this as good a chance as any with Liverpool potentially missing as many as 11 first-team players.

The Reds have so far coped admirably with their injury crisis and still sit joint-top of the table heading into the weekend, despite dropping points at Brighton & Hove Albion last time out.

The controversial VAR decision at the end of that match, coupled with Klopp's post-match protestations about the TV scheduling, could have threatened to knock Liverpool further off course in what has already been a disrupted and unique campaign.

However, they returned to winning ways with a 1-0 triumph over Ajax in midweek, booking their place in the last 16 of the Champions League with a game to spare thanks largely to the contributions of youngsters Caoimhin Kelleher, Curtis Jones and Neco Williams.

That was only Liverpool's second win in their last five outings across all competitions, though, and the draw with Brighton last weekend means that they have now dropped more points from winning positions this season than they did throughout the whole of last term.

Wolverhampton Wanderers manager Nuno Espirito Santo pictured in August 2020© Reuters

That statistic may not surprise Klopp given both the incredible season they enjoyed last term and the unprecedented circumstances of 2020-21, but it will still be a concern heading into a match against a Wolves team more than capable of exposing a patched-up defence.

Nuno Espirito Santo's side overcame the distressing departure of Raul Jimenez with a fractured skull en route to victory at Arsenal last weekend - a result which leaves them seventh in the table and only four points off the top after 10 games.

It is Wolves' best start to a top-flight campaign since 1979-80, and in a season where many of the 'big six' have struggled, victory at Anfield may just raise hopes of a top-four push this term.

Only Manchester United have now won more Premier League away games than Wolves in 2020, but they have not won back-to-back such games since June and should their recent trend of alternating between wins and losses on the road continue this weekend then they are set for defeat on Merseyside.

They have a poor record against Liverpool too, losing each of their last seven Premier League meetings and only winning one of 12 overall - although that did come at Anfield almost exactly a decade ago.

Liverpool Premier League form: DWWDWD
Liverpool form (all competitions): WDWLDW

Wolverhampton Wanderers Premier League form: WDWLDW


Team News

Liverpool defender Trent Alexander-Arnold receives treatment for an injury on November 8, 2020© Reuters

Liverpool's scarcely-believable injury list continues to grow, with up to 11 first-team players - including arguably seven of their strongest XI - potentially missing this match.

Andrew Robertson and Jordan Henderson became the latest players to join the list of possible absentees when they picked up knocks in midweek, although Klopp is hopeful that his left-back and captain will recover in time for this match.

Robertson is likely to be the only member of the first-choice back five who will start, although there was a positive update on Trent Alexander-Arnold, who has now returned to training after a calf injury and could be involved in the matchday squad on Sunday.

Naby Keita is in a similar position following a hamstring problem and, while both are back in contention, Klopp is likely to be cautious over throwing them straight back in from the start considering the nature of their muscle injuries and the packed schedule ahead.

Alisson Becker will once again miss out and be replaced by Kelleher, who impressed on his Champions League debut against Ajax and has now usurped Adrian as Liverpool's number two.

The Reds also remain without Van Dijk, Joe Gomez, James Milner, Thiago Alcantara, Xherdan Shaqiri and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, although the latter is not thought to be too far away from returning.

Diogo Jota is expected to start against his former club and could become only the second player to score both for and against Wolves in the Premier League era, after Stephen Hunt.

Doing so would also see Jota become only the fourth player to score in each of their first five Premier League home games for a specific club, although he would still be some way short of Alan Shearer's remarkable record of netting in his first 15 such games for Newcastle United.

Wolves will be without Jimenez for the foreseeable future as he begins to work his way back from the sickening fractured skull he suffered against Arsenal.

Record signing Fabio Silva could be set for an extended run in the first team as a result, while rumoured Liverpool transfer target Adama Traore will be hopeful of another start.

Pedro Neto is expected to start again having already equalled his goal tally from last season, with his three strikes in 10 matches so far being worth five points for Wolves.

Jonny remains sidelined for the visitors, but Romain Saiss is available again after recovering from coronavirus.

Liverpool possible starting lineup:
Kelleher; N Williams, Fabinho, Matip, Robertson; Henderson, Wijnaldum; Salah, Firmino, Mane; Jota

Wolverhampton Wanderers possible starting lineup:
Patricio; Semedo, Boly, Coady, Marcal; Dendoncker, Moutinho; Traore, Podence, Neto; Silva


SM words green background

We say: Liverpool 2-1 Wolverhampton Wanderers

Wolves certainly have the quality to threaten Liverpool's 64-match unbeaten run at Anfield, but it is almost impossible to back against the Reds at home on current form.

The added boost of welcoming fans back - even if it is only 2,000 of them - should only increase Liverpool's strength on their own patch, and we can see the champions once again getting the job done in their own backyard.


Top betting tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting under 3.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Under 3.5:data



Video prediction

Watch the Sports Mole Football Shorts prediction for this game below:


ID:425106:cQx

How you voted: Liverpool vs Wolves

Liverpool
75.3%
Draw
13.9%
Wolverhampton Wanderers
10.8%
555
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Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp gestures to officials against Brighton & Hove Albion on November 28, 2020
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Todays Game Header Right
Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Manchester CityMan City19125236132341
2Manchester UnitedMan Utd20124437271040
3Leicester CityLeicester20123536221439
4West Ham UnitedWest Ham2010553024635
5Liverpool1997337221534
6Tottenham HotspurSpurs1896333171633
7Everton1810352922733
8Chelsea2086633231030
9Arsenal209382620630
10Aston Villa1892733211229
11Southampton198562724329
12Leeds UnitedLeeds198293235-326
13Wolverhampton WanderersWolves206592129-823
14Crystal Palace206592436-1223
15Burnley196491324-1122
16Newcastle UnitedNewcastle2054111934-1519
17Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton203982229-718
18Fulham1927101527-1213
19West Bromwich AlbionWest Brom2025131548-3311
20Sheffield UnitedSheff Utd2022161233-218

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