Dare we say it: NOW we can begin to dream of the Premier League title. The cushion remains 16 points at the top of the table with a game in hand, and just as importantly Thursday saw another tough assignment ticked off the list.
Wolves away is the kind of fixture that can cause something of a headache, but once again the Reds rose to the occasion and did what they have been doing for a while now: they ground out another narrow victory.
That came courtesy of a late winner from Bobby Firmino, who fired through a mass of bodies to spark euphoric scenes among those wearing a red shirt. It continued the bizarre stat that all of his last eleven goals in all competitions have come away from home.
Liverpool goals bookended this fixture, with Jordan Henderson’s headed goal from a Trent Alexander-Arnold corner coming as early as the eighth minute. If you ever wondered about the providence of practicing set pieces, or in having a player like TAA to deliver them, then this was Liverpool’s eleventh Premier League goal of the campaign from a set play – only Newcastle have netted more.
In between there was an equaliser from Raul Jimenez, and to be fair to the Midlanders they did enjoy plenty of passages of positive play.
But as has been customary from Liverpool this term, we weathered the storm and came out the other side with all three points intact.
Premier League matters get parked temporarily this weekend. It’s back into the FA Cup for a fourth round tie at League One outfit Shrewsbury Town.
Liverpool Team News
As we know, Jurgen Klopp has not necessarily given the domestic cup competitions his full focus as far as naming a strong side is concerned.
And yet, timing is everything – this Shrewsbury tie gives the manager a chance to hand some much-needed game time to some big players in this squad.
Joel Matip and Dejan Lovren need minutes under their belts after recovering from injury, and they could start as the central defensive partnership on Sunday with Adrian in goal behind them and a youthful pair of full backs on either side: Neco Williams to the right, and Yasser Larouci to the left.
And how about Fabinho in midfield? He continues to work his way back to full fitness, and a start here would certainly help.
He could be joined in the middle of the park by Adam Lallana, who has been struggling with an illness bug this week, and the exciting Curtis Jones.
Takumi Minamino will get the nod, after impressing off the bench in the Midlands, and he will surely be flanked by Divock Origi and Harvey Elliott – assuming Xherdan Shaqiri isn’t fit enough to start.
Shrewsbury Town Form
It has been dogged, rather than superlative-laden, progress from Shrewsbury Town this season.
They sit sixteenth in the League One table, and are currently on a run of five games without a win (W0 D3 L2).
The Shrews are not overly strong at home either (W5 D4 L3), with a goal difference of +0. A tally of 15 goals scored in those 12 home fixtures does little to whet the appetite.
But they did beat higher league opposition, Bristol City, in a replay to get to this point, following earlier round victories over Mansfield Town and Bradford City.
On the whole, you would suggest Liverpool’s second string should still prosper, however.
Shrewsbury Town vs Liverpool Betting Tips
It’s a funny betting market is this, because we can guarantee you one thing: if Jurgen Klopp names the starting line-up we have suggested above, there is no way that Liverpool’s price of 1/2 will hold.
The bookies have actually priced into their odds the fact that Klopp will make changes, but as we’ve seen the starting eleven highlighted earlier in this preview still has plenty of experience and class and would surely beat Shrewsbury let’s say 80% of the time.
Of course, we are taking a leap into the unknown, because the manager doesn’t always deliver as expected.
But there is little to fear from Shrewsbury, whose home advantage will be mitigated somewhat by what is a decent playing surface at the New Meadow.
So yes, we don’t have any earth-shattering betting tips to report this week: our advice is to simply tuck into the 1/2 about a Liverpool win here with relish.