Well, if Carlsberg did the perfect footballing week, it would looks something like the seven or eight days that Liverpool have just enjoyed.
Liverpool fans of a certain vintage will remember when the club’s home and away kits were sponsored by the beer brand.
Their slogan ‘if Carlsberg did….’, was a way to suggest that they are the best in the business when it comes to producing the alcoholic beverage.
The 4-0 thrashing of Bournemouth was a tasty appetiser for the mouth-watering main courses, of which there were greedily two.
The triumph over Napoli to progress in the Champions League was perhaps expected, but also fraught with the kind of jeopardy that requires the cool heads of your players to prevail.
And then onto Sunday’s clash with Manchester United….a fixture in which anything goes.
Sadio Mane got us off to the perfect start, and at that point Jose Mourinho’s men were rarely in the game. But a sucker-punch from Jesse Lingard – the sheer definition of a goal against the run of play – rather soured the mood on the Anfield terraces.
There was no real reason for Jurgen Klopp to panic: we were dominating in every area, and surely it was only a matter of time before we made another decisive breakthrough?
The second half rumbled on, and the manager decided to make a change: bringing on Xherdan Shaqiri in place of Naby Keita.
It was a masterstroke, as it proved, with the Swiss ace bagging a pair of deflected strikes to finally break United’s resolve and secure a much-deserved three points that kept us top of the Premier League table.
We enjoyed some 65% possession, won the corner count 13-2 and fired in a whopping eleven shots on target compared to United’s two. Yep, this was as dominant as it gets.
And so we head into the Christmas period in festive spirit; necessary given the difficulties on the horizon.
Game against Arsenal (December 29) and Manchester City (January 3) are up ahead, and that follows a hectic double-header in which we tackle Newcastle on Boxing Day after a trip to Molineux to take on Wolves on Friday.
It’s actually worked out quite well – Tottenham, for example, have to play on December 23 and again less than 72 hours later, but we cannot afford dropped points even though squad rotation will be necessary.
A as we know, Wolves will prove to be no pushover this week.
Liverpool Team News
A hectic fixture list is not ideal given our current defensive shortages.
Joel Matip and Joe Gomez are definitely out until into January, while Trent Alexander-Arnold may be able to return on Boxing Day.
And so it’s bare bones time, although the good news is that James Milner may be winning his battle to be fit for Friday.
You would think that Klopp would play hi strongest available back four here and make any necessary changes for Newcastle at home on Boxing Day, so we would assume Van Dijk, Lovren and Robertson will start in front of Alisson.
Then the manager must decide between Nathaniel Clyne – who did nothing wrong against United – or Milner at right back. We suspect he might opt for the former.
Indeed, with Jordan Henderson able to play 90 minutes here in a midfield featuring Fabinho and Gigi Wijnaldum, it’s possible that Milner and Naby Keita will be held over until the Newcastle match.
In attack, Klopp may want to reward Shaqiri for his efforts against United with a start, so he may start wide right with Mo Salah through the middle and Sadio Mane left.
Wolverhampton Wanderers Form
Wolves had undergone many of the usual phases that a high quality promoted side goes through.
So there was the bright start (W4 D3 L1) followed by a blip and a reality check through late-October and into November (W0 D1 L5).
But the West Midlanders have rallied lately, and they are currently enjoying a run of three league wins on the bounce.
The most recent of those came against Bournemouth on Saturday, where goals from Raul Jimenez and Ivan Cavaleiro guided them to a 2-0 victory.
Wolves vs Liverpool Betting Tips
Wolves are typically solid on home soil, with just three defeats in nine, and after our fabulous week we have to expect some kind of a regression here.
That’s not to suggest we won’t win this game, but Wolves are so confident and in front of a raucous home crowd – many of whom will be buoyed by finishing work for the holidays and in lively mood – Friday night could turn into a real challenge for the Reds.
The bookies make us favourites at around the 8/15 mark – absolutely fair enough, but you just wonder if the real value here is in backing Wolves in some way.
Happily, we can do just that while allowing for the fact that Liverpool are a worthy favourite. We can take Wolves with a +1.00 Asian handicap at the even money mark, and that seems more than fair enough to us.