WILL DYER (@w2Dyer) takes a look at Liverpool's second cup tie of the week. The hosts are in a bad place, could that pressure tell again as Paul Lambert's men come to Anfield with strong travelling support and nothing to lose?
Liverpool v Wolves | Saturday 12:30 | BT Sport 1
This is a big task for Wolverhampton Wanderers but the Championship club are meeting Liverpool at exactly the right time. The Reds have won just one of their last seven games in all competitions and even that was a 1-0 win, in which they limped over the line, at League Two Plymouth.
Big Bad Trouble
Three nights ago Liverpool were knocked out of the EFL Cup after another frustrating performance. Jürgen Klopp’s side have been found out of late. Teams are putting ten men behind the ball and defending with relative ease.
The Reds ‘heavy metal football’ fails if the opposition doesn’t play on the front foot. Defending has been Southampton’s number one strength in the Premier League in recent years and with a pacey Shane Long and Nathan Redmond on the counter attack, they had the perfect game plan.
Paul Lambert has a W5-D3-L5 record since joining Wolves in early November, which has marginally improved Wolves league position. They are conceding an average of 1.3 goals per game so the potential for them to go to Anfield, defend well and hit Liverpool on the counter looks a little low but it worked against Stoke three weeks ago.
Wolves Moving On Up
Wolves are no strangers to a competitive tie at Anfield. Their last two visits have returned a 1-0 win in 2010 and a narrow 2-1 defeat in 2011, both under Mick McCarthy. On Saturday they will have an 8,000 strong away following and I fancy them to at least go some way to defying their 12/1 quote.
Goals have not been in too short a supply for Wanderers. They don’t have one particular striker running away in the scoring charts but that’s not always a bad thing. Helder Costa has nine and David Edwards has seven for the season.
The former, on loan from Benfica, is the subject of a £13 million permanent bid. Losing Joao Teixeira to Nottingham Forest was not ideal but Lambert looks set to do more transfer business before the window is out.
Klopp is likely to field a strong team here to make a statement of intent. Liverpool need to win some silverware this season and the FA Cup is quickly becoming their only option with Chelsea pulling further away.
The pressure will be on the hosts again here after a disappointing month and I therefore make Wolves +1.5 on the Asian Handicap line too big at 19/17 with 888Sport. Wolves can lose by one goal, draw or win and the selection wins; only if they lose by two or more goals will the bet lose.
Liverpool v Wolves – Wolves +1.5 Asian Handicap (19/17 888)