Liverpool vs Wolves | Sunday 6th December 2020, 19:15 | BT Sport
Liverpool will look to extend their unbeaten home run in the Premier League to 65 when they host Wolves on Sunday evening.
The Reds won 1-0 in the Champions League on Tuesday with Caoimhin Kelleher keeping a clean sheet on his debut and making some important saves. But the attention returns to the league and they have to put last week’s controversial draw at Brighton behind them.
After Neal Maupay missed a penalty, it looked like Diogo Jota’s goal was enough for three points. But going into stoppage time, VAR told Stuart Attwell about a foul on Danny Welbeck allowing Pascal Groß the opportunity to level, which he duly did.
Wolves have only lost once in their last seven league games and that was a disappointing no-show in a Midlands derby against Leicester. Last weekend, they picked up three points, and played well in doing so, at Arsenal, especially after losing the talismanic Raúl Jiménez to a head injury, which will rule him out for some time.
Injuries not stopping the Reds
A lot has been made of the injury crisis Liverpool are facing. And with around 10 first-team players on the treatment table, it’s no surprise Jürgen Klopp is kicking up a stink about their schedule. Despite missing the likes of Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez, Trent Alexander-Arnold and now Alisson, the Reds have managed to restrict opponents to fairly few clear sights of their goal.
Barring the blip against Atalanta, teams have struggled to create more than a 1xG (expected goals) against them showing their solidity. Although Brighton finished with 2.22xG last weekend, just 0.62xG came from non-penalty chances.
Unsurprisingly they are devastating going forward. They’re the league’s top scorers and have the best expected goals for (xGF) at 23.1, so Wolves will have their work cut out dealing with Mo Salah, Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mané and former team-mate Diogo Jota.
That Scrooge-like Liverpool defence will have to be on their mettle with Fabio Silva, Adama Traore and Daniel Podence potentially all starting in a bold selection for Nuno Espirito Santo.
The problem for him is where will the goals come from? There was an excellent piece from WhoScored’s Ben McAleer highlighting the importance of Jiménez since he signed from Benfica – scoring 34 of Wolves’ last 75 goals.
But the Wolves analysts will have taken heart from how Brighton started against the Reds, with Aaron Connolly finding himself in behind the Liverpool defence but failing with his composure.
And given the pace the Midlands club possesses, there’s plenty of reason to think they’ll set up to counter Liverpool here.
The betting angles
It’s hard to take on Liverpool at Anfield given their unbelievable run. They’ve won 53 of the 64 (D11), scored 169 and conceded 42. But it’s finding a way in that works. This front four is full of goals and Jota has been in red-hot form since switching Molineux for Anfield. He’s also scored in each of his first four league home games – only three players have ever scored in their first five.
Klopp’s men have scored in both halves of all five home league games this season – netting 14 times with nine of those in the first half.
Despite what happened to Jiménez early on at Arsenal, they still bagged both of their goals before the break. And they will look to make a fast start to put this Reds backline under pressure.
Interestingly, 55% of their goals this season have come before half-time (6/11), unlike last season when it was just 27% of goals scored in the first half. With that in mind, I’ll have a nibble on the 7/2 for both teams scoring in the first half.
Last weekend, Jack Wright put up Leander Dendoncker to score a header. The Belgian nearly obliged with two headed chances in that first half. One rattled the bar and the other was a simple save for Bernd Leno.
Despite being a defensive midfielder by trade, he does crop up in the box and can make a late run to be picked out, so I requested some shots on target specials with SkyBet. They’ve priced him up at 7/1 for one headed shot on target and 125/1 for two – I’ll take both.
There was one other potential angle that I wanted to highlight, but I’ll wait for team news before pulling the trigger on the bet. It will depend on the shape of Wolves, and who lines up in those attacking positions, given Adama Traore, Pedro Neto and Podence are all likely to feature.
Against Old Gold, four centre-backs, three left-backs and two right-backs have all seen yellow. Take last week for example, both Héctor Bellerín and Kieran Tierney were cautioned.
Andy Robertson was struggling with an ankle issue against Ajax, so could be vulnerable. He’s committed eight fouls – third-most for Liverpool – but is yet to see a card. The Scot is a huge 9/1 for a card.
Meanwhile, on the opposite side, Neco Williams could be up against the baby-oiled Adama Traore, so that 17/2 with Bet365 could prove popular.