Wolves vs Liverpool | Monday 15th March 2021, 20:00 | Sky Sports
Liverpool’s title defence is in tatters with Jürgen Klopp’s men left chasing a top-four finish, but they’ll still have hopes of regaining their European title.
The Reds saw off an uncharacteristically insipid Leipzig side in midweek to book their place in the Champions League quarter-finals.
Klopp has been boosted by the return of Diogo Jota, who could face his former club. While Fabinho moving back into midfield helped to bring some fluidity to their play in midweek.
I wasn’t too complimentary about Wolves before their game at Villa – that was another boring stalemate.
Part of their problem is when they create a good chance; it falls to their centre-backs. Conor Coady scored the consolation at Man City, while he hit the post at Villa Park before the rebound fell to Romain Saïss, who somehow blazed it over the bar from two yards.
That goalless draw in the Midlands derby makes it just one defeat in seven for Wolves, and that was a champions-elect Man City. So, Nuno Espírito Santo’s side has been collecting points without being too easy on the eye.
The betting angles
I found this a bit of a tricky one to assess. Liverpool have players returning from injuries, which is a big plus, while I think Wolves are a bit beige.
I toyed with the idea of backing the visitors to win and unders based on their midweek performance, but I can’t bring myself to put that up after recent Premier League showings.
Worryingly for the Reds, they’ve scored with just two of their last 67 shots from open play in the Premier League.
And then I did look towards the Pedro Neto 1+ shot on target from outside the box angle.
I played it in Wolves’ game against Villa last week. It won after the lively Portuguese attacker had two. But, this week, it’s a shorter price at 7/4, which looks on the skinny side.
So with Craig Pawson in the middle, I’m going to play the cards with a couple of players attractively priced.
I’ll start by saying that I did consider both teams over 1 card at 4/1 (Bet365). The numbers aren’t strong, so that would be purely a price play based on the referee.
The last time Pawson visited Molineux, he gave Wolves two cautions within the opening 20 minutes before sending off two Arsenal players.
While that angle copped when he last oversaw a Liverpool game – their 3-2 defeat v Man Utd in the FA Cup.
But there are two intriguing battles likely to play out, which pique my interest. The first is Nelson Semedo up against Sadio Mané.
Only Jack Grealish (99) has been fouled more often than the star Senegalese forward (60) this season. And, it’s unsurprising to see Mané ranking highly for both attempted and successful dribbles.
That means Semedo will have his work cut out keeping tabs on Mané, especially if he doesn’t get any protection.
He leads the way for tackles in this Wolves side with 61, an average of 2.4 per game. Overall, only João Moutinho has completed more tackles for the Old Gold this season.
Semedo likes to get stuck in. He won’t be fazed when Mané gets the ball at his feet and comes flying towards him. Plus, Andy Robertson likes to get forward to aid the Reds attacking output. His overlapping runs could also pose the Wolves defender some problems.
So, with Mané and Robertson attacking down Liverpool’s left flank – a side where 36% of their attacks come – then the 11/2 (Bet365) for him to be carded looks worth having on side.
The other battle involves Adama Traoré having the beating of Robertson. The bulky winger has been fouled 59 times this season, which is the joint-third most in the top flight.
There’s also the subtle switch of sides that takes place during games meaning Pedro Neto could spend part of this one attacking down the Liverpool left, meaning the Scottish captain is going to have his hands full tracking this lively duo.
When Robertson gets forward, there will be space for Wolves to attack. The hosts will have to exploit those areas when they open up, so we could see the Scot caught out on the wrong side.
Despite him having only committed 18 fouls and having one card to his name, the opposition he’ll face make him an interesting proposition in the cards market.
The 8/1 available on Bet365 looks far too big to ignore given the ability, flair and pace of both Traoré and Neto.
Two cards angles that look worthy of taking, so I’ll put them in a double for a bit of interest as well. It’s 60/1 using the Bet365 Bet Builder and that just looks bulbous.
Just for comparison, this bet ranges from 25/1 to 42/1 elsewhere. It’s backable with a referee who has shown 33 yellows and three reds in his last eight outings.