There’s a very real chance that Liverpool could end the 2022/23 season outside of the European places and without a trophy to their name following another heavy defeat. Brighton were full value for their 3-0 win over the Reds on Saturday, and that loss adds extra significance to Liverpool’s trip to Molineux on Tuesday for the FA Cup third round replay – that competition may be their only real hope of lifting a trophy this term, which would go some way to papering over the cracks.
It was the nature of the defeat on the south coast that was most worrying. Brighton played with complete freedom, unencumbered by the ‘fear factor’ that has been present in Liverpool’s game in recent seasons. Instead, these Seagulls sensed an easy meal from their frail visitors.
Jurgen Klopp’s men were very much in the game in the first half, and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain really ought to have opened the scoring when missing a decent chance.
The Ox failed to convert another good opportunity early in the second period, but by then his side were a goal down. Liverpool played a lot narrower than normal it seemed, and so it’s perhaps no surprise that Brighton’s wingers had a field day. Kaoru Mitoma ran Trent Alexander-Arnold ragged, while the other – Solly March – scored twice as the Reds’ defence once again went AWOL.
The first was the result of another individual error from a Liverpool defender – this time Joel Matip, although there was no fortune in March’s rasping drive for his second.
Danny Welbeck ran rings around Joe Gomez for the third, and it was no less than Brighton deserved. By contrast, this was one of the worst Liverpool performances in recent memory.
Can they right themselves against Wolves on Tuesday evening?
Liverpool Team News
It was indicative of Liverpool’s woes that Klopp made a quadruple substitution after 69 minutes against Brighton, and you wonder if those changes will feed into his team selection on Tuesday.
Joel Matip, who was booked and gave away a goal, was one of the players withdrawn, and it’s possible that he will be replaced by Gomez from the start.
Harvey Elliott and Naby Keita came on in midfield to add extra energy and movement – they could also be given the nod, while Klopp once again handed a cameo to exciting prospect Ben Doak. Will he finally be unleashed from the start in the West Midlands?
Darwin Nunez’s thigh complaint isn’t thought to be too bad, but it will likely be enough to keep him out on Tuesday, and so Klopp may ask Cody Gakpo to play through the middle with Mo Salah right and Doak left.
Keita and Elliott could join Jordan Henderson in midfield as Fabinho’s wretched campaign continues, and Klopp will be hoping the reshuffle had the desired effect on his beleaguered troops.
If the ruckus at the end of Wolves’ defeat to Nottingham Forest in the EFL Cup is anything to go by, new boss Julen Lopetegui has definitely lit a fire under his new players.
That seems to have been translated into more battling performances out on the pitch, with the Midlanders winning twice in the Premier League since Boxing Day – they’d only won twice all season prior to that.
Victories over Everton and West Ham have been hard-fought rather than sparkling, but those – allied to a draw with local rivals Aston Villa and a close 0-1 defeat against Manchester United – see Wolves in much greater spirits than before.
Wolves vs Liverpool Betting Tips
Liverpool fans have to accept the fact that their side are not value prospects in this game at quotes of around even money.
Therefore, Wolves are value – to the extent that they are 10/11 in the Win/Draw Double Chance market.
The 2-2 draw in the initial FA Cup game between the sides was probably indicative of how this tie will go – Klopp won’t lower the drawbridge to protect his defenders, you wouldn’t expect, and so 8/11 about Over 2.5 Goals is fair, and boosted by adding BTTS into the mix as a double at 11/10.
Although he’s by no means a certain, or even likely, starter, Oxlade-Chamberlain has been Liverpool’s main goal threat against Brighton and Brentford lately. At 5/1 to score anytime, he may well be worth following in again.