Liverpool vs Wolverhampton Wanderers
Referee: Martin Atkinson
TV: Sky Sports
Liverpool’s midweek heroics changed their fortunes when all seemed lost against Barcelona. They overcame a three goal defect to win four nil on the night and put themselves in the Champions League final. However, at the climax of the Premier League this Sunday, Liverpool’s title hopes are out of their hands. They must win when Wolves visit Anfield and Manchester City must fail to win away at Brighton in the final round of fixtures in the 2018/19 campaign.
After Manchester City uncomfortably squeezed past former Reds manager Brendan Rodgers and his Leicester City side through an unworldly strike from Vincent Kompany, it means Liverpool remain in second by one point. Pep Guardiola’s men need to fail to win away at Brighton and Liverpool need to win.
Upon release of the fixtures, any title-chasing team would have been overjoyed to have a newly promoted side at home, on the last day of the season. However, with Wolves, this is not the case. Ignoring the fact that they have secured seventh in the league with one game remaining, the Wanderers have made a name for themselves against the top six and have already done what only Manchester City, Chelsea, PSG, Napoli, Red Stat Belgrade and Barcelona have achieved this season, which is beat Liverpool.
Wolves knocked Liverpool out of the FA Cup third round at Molineux but did lose the same fixture in the Premier League. Another reason Liverpool won’t write Wolves off is that they have the impressive feat of beating all the finalists in the Champions League and Europa League this season.
Liverpool however, have only lost once in the league and that was to current reigning champions Manchester City. Regardless, Liverpool wouldn’t have anticipated these opponents to be a considerable threat to their fascinating final day title chase.
Even though Wolves have secured seventh place after winning three consecutive games and against one of the rivals for seventh, Watford, their good run of form and their ability to beat the big teams will be enough to make sure Liverpool focus on the game at Anfield and not elsewhere.
Klopp has already iterated that he and his players are focused on Wolves despite the miraculous footballing events that occurred on Tuesday night and their Champions League final to come.
Nuno Espirito Santo has revealed his side’s hunger to topple Liverpool again and decide their Premier League fate for them. He’s stated his team will rise to the occasion which doesn’t need to be stated considering their impressive results and performances against the top six this season.
Their impressive season may earn them a Europa spot if Manchester City beat Watford in the FA Cup final. Going toe to toe with the Champions League finalists will only motivate the Premier League’s smallest squad to prove they can challenge Europe’s elite.
Not only is the Premier League trophy on the line, but both managers have also been nominated for manager of the season and this fixture could be critical in that winning decision. Nuno and Klopp have been nominated alongside Guardiola and Pochettino. The fact the Wolves boss is in the mix highlights the astonishing first season Wolves have had since their return to the top tier of English football.
The Anfield crowd will be in full voice knowing Salah is available after his concussion. Henderson and Robertson both picked up injuries in the midweek madness against Barcelona but they are expected to overcome their respective knee and calf injuries and will be available for selection.
Frontman Firminio will not feature in the final league fixture but is expected to be fit for the Champions League final. Therefore, it’s likely Origi will get another run-out and add to the goal he scored against Wolves in the FA Cup loss.
Nuno has no fresh injury concerns as has been the case all season and could name his favoured starting eleven for the fifteenth time this season. Neves and Jimenez will likely worry Liverpool after their goals caused Liverpool’s early exit from the FA Cup.
Predicted Starting XIs
Liverpool (4-3-3): Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Van Dijk, Matip, Robertson; Fabinho, Henderson, Wijnaldum; Salah, Origi, Mane.
Wolves (3-5-2): Rui Patricio; Bennett, Coady, Boly; Doherty, Dendoncker, Mouthino, Neves, Jonny; Jota, Jimenez.
Prediction: Liverpool 3 Wolverhampton Wanderers 1
Earlier this week, Liverpool were the living embodiment of the statement, anything can happen. In this week of football which has thrown up the most memorable and unbelievable comebacks, who’s to say that there’s not something dramatic in line for the final day of the season. Liverpool have won four of the last six meetings with Wolves winning two. There’s no doubt Liverpool will go for it but Wolves won’t roll over without a fight.