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5 crosses: Wolves’ maestro was a cut above his teammates during Liverpool defeat – opinion

Wolverhampton Wanderers put up a spirited fight against a Liverpool side who are 13 points clear and the top of the league and brushed away former second-placed club Leicester City in the previous game. It is a testament to Nuno Santo’s game plan that Wolves were able to hold Liverpool to a single goal, and they were in with a shout of inflicting only the second dropped points of the Premier League leaders’ campaign. Sadly, for the visitors, it was not to be, but they were excellent, and Joao Moutinho was at the fulcrum of everything good about the away side.

The Portuguese midfielder is thriving in the Premier League in spite of his 33 years and has shown no signs of slowing down this season. His fitness levels are outstanding, and he is still able to contribute at either end of the field. On Sunday at the back he was no different, the Portuguese international registered a team-high six tackles to dispossess the runaway Premier League leaders, along with a further interception and clearance. Having such an assured defensive presence as a screen in front of the back five is part of the reason Wolves have one of the best defensive records in the league this season.

Despite being pounced upon in possession by Liverpool’s industrious midfield trio, Moutinho kept a cool head and made the highest number of passes for the visitors with 41. Though his accuracy was lower than usual due to the intense Reds pressure, he still made sure 78.1 per cent of his efforts reached their intended target. Meanwhile, no other Wolves player made more crosses than the Portuguese midfielder’s five, as he proved to be a threat to Liverpool from all areas of the pitch with three accurate long balls.

Where Moutinho threatened Jurgen Klopp’s side most though was in attack, no other Wolves player managed to take on more shots than the 33-year-old, as he found the target with the frequency of Raul Jimenez and Diego Jota combined. Furthermore, he created an opportunity for a teammate with a key pass to top off what was an outstanding individual performance.

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Premier League Table

# Team MP W D L P
1 Liverpool 26 25 1 0 76
2 Manchester City 27 18 3 6 57
3 Leicester City 27 15 5 7 50
4 Chelsea 27 13 5 9 44
5 Manchester United 27 11 8 8 41
6 Tottenham Hotspur 27 11 7 9 40
7 Sheffield United 27 10 10 7 40
8 Wolverhampton Wanderers 27 9 12 6 39
9 Arsenal 27 8 13 6 37
10 Burnley 27 11 4 12 37
11 Everton 27 10 6 11 36
12 Southampton 27 10 4 13 34
13 Crystal Palace 27 8 9 10 33
14 Newcastle United 27 8 7 12 31
15 Brighton & Hov… 27 6 10 11 28
16 AFC Bournemouth 27 7 5 15 26
17 Aston Villa 27 7 4 16 25
18 West Ham United 26 6 6 14 24
19 Watford 27 5 9 13 24
20 Norwich City 27 4 6 17 18

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