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Wolverhampton Wanderers vs Liverpool: 21/12/2018 – match preview and predicted starting XIs

Wolverhampton Wanderers vs Liverpool

Date: 21/12/2018

K/O: 20:00

Venue: Molineux

TV: Sky Sports Main Event

Referee: Craig Pawson

Wolves will host an undefeated Liverpool side under the Friday night lights at Molineux with the visitors aiming to increase the gap at the top and confirm their place at the summit for Christmas Day. Meanwhile, the hosts are aiming to be the only Premier League team who have not yet been defeated by Jurgen Klopp.

The Reds travel to the Midlands high on confidence after qualifying for the knockout stages of the Champions League followed by an impressive 3-1 victory over bitter rivals, Manchester United. A win at Molineux would be an early gift for Liverpool fans, guaranteeing them top-spot at Christmas.

Yet, if the Reds think Friday night will be a walk in the park, they are severely mistaken. They face a revitalised Wolves side who have won three consecutive games against Chelsea, Newcastle and Bournemouth respectively, which has solidified their league position of seventh. An extraordinary victory at home to Chelsea put an end to a worrying slump for Wolves and the fact they have only lost to one ‘top six’ club in the lead up to this fixture will give them great assurance.

Team News

Wolves: Nuno may be forced to reshuffle his attack with the in-form Diogo Jota picking up a hamstring injury during the match against Bournemouth. After his goal against the Cherries, it is likely that Cavaleiro will pick up another Premier League start.

Raul Jiminez is the focal point of the Wolves attack and is leading the stats for goals and assists this season at the club. He will come up against one of the best defences this season and will rely on support from other areas of the pitch. He has come out this week stating he wants to have a permanent move to Molineux and is clearly enjoying the challenge of the Premier League.

Aside from the injured Diogo Jota, Wolves have a clean bill of health and unless Nuno feels there needs to be a change in the starting CI, then it will surely only be to accommodate for the busy Christmas period.

Liverpool: Joe Gomez and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain are accompanied on the injury list along with Trent Alexander-Arnold and Joel Matip who both picked up knocks last week. Milner could be brought back in as a makeshift right-back but he too is a doubt. Therefore, Nathaniel Clyne could make it back to back 90 minutes against Wolves and considering the defensive performance of the back line, it’s likely not going to change.

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Shaqiri has been a great impact player from the bench this season but this fixture could see the Swiss international line up from the start, especially considering his brace against the Red Devils last weekend. Fabinho and Keita have also been influential when on the pitch and these are problems that will face Klopp in his team selection. Having said this, with the busy festive period approaching, it is not a bad problem to have.

Salah has scored in his last five matches against newly promoted sides and he will be looking to make it six when facing Wolves on Friday night. The Egyptian has been challenged by critics this season despite being one of the top scorers in the league and assisting his teammates. The attacking line up will likely be unchanged as they are beginning to emulate performances which saw them turn teams over last season with Salah at the center of that.

Predicted Starting XI’s

Wolves (3-4-3): Patricio; Bennett, Coady, Boly; Doherty, Moutinho, Neves, Jonny; Costa, Jimenez, Cavaleiro

Liverpool (4-2-3-1): Alisson; Clyne, Lovren, Van Dijk, Robertson; Henderson, Wijnaldum; Shaqiri, Firmino, Mane; Salah

Score Prediction: Wolves 0 Liverpool 2

Wolves have proved that they can take on the Premier Leagues best and grind out a result. With their recent run of form, they are not to be written off. Their defense has been rocky of late though and they have not been their best despite their three-game winning streak.

Liverpool on the other hand have been consistently performing well and have ground out results themselves when needed. Most of the time they have looked calm and fluid as well as building patience and structure into their game. With their seemingly defensive woes of previous years being a thing of the past, they look more like a title-winning team and should pick up three points in the Midlands.


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Premier League Table

# Team MP W D L P
1 Liverpool 17 16 1 0 49
2 Leicester City 17 12 3 2 39
3 Manchester City 17 11 2 4 35
4 Chelsea 17 9 2 6 29
5 Tottenham Hotspur 17 7 5 5 26
6 Manchester United 17 6 7 4 25
7 Sheffield United 17 6 7 4 25
8 Wolverhampton Wanderers 17 5 9 3 24
9 Arsenal 17 5 7 5 22
10 Crystal Palace 16 6 4 6 22
11 Newcastle United 17 6 4 7 22
12 Burnley 17 6 3 8 21
13 Brighton & Hov… 16 5 4 7 19
14 AFC Bournemouth 17 5 4 8 19
15 West Ham United 17 5 4 8 19
16 Everton 17 5 3 9 18
17 Aston Villa 17 4 3 10 15
18 Southampton 17 4 3 10 15
19 Norwich City 17 3 3 11 12
20 Watford 17 1 6 10 9

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