Jordan Henderson was the game changer for Liverpool as a late Roberto Firmino strike sealed a 2-1 win against Wolves at Molineux on Thursday.
Liverpool were off to a great start, as Jordan Henderson broke the deadlock after heading the ball in from Trent Alexander-Arnold’s corner. Wolves, though, took the game to their Reds and should have equalised when Matt Doherty missed an open header.
The hosts duly levelled things up early in the second half when Raul Jimenez powered in a header after being found by a delightful cross by Adama Traore. A keenly contested affair ensued with both sides creating plenty of chances before Roberto Firmino sealed all three points for Liveprool with six minutes left in regulation time. The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over Jurgen Klopp’s men.
Alisson Becker: 8/10
Another solid performance by Alisson, who has become a wall behind the defence of late. Did let in a goal, but that was more a result of some brilliance by Wolves, as well as some poor defensive work by Andrew Robertson, than his own doing.
Made two huge saves to deny Raul Jimenez and Adama Traore, absolutely clutch moments in the scheme of the game. Nearly flawless apart from a comical moment in the air and his distribution was on point as well. Such an influential player in goal for Liverpool.
Trent Alexander-Arnold: 7/10
A game of hits and misses for Alexander-Arnold. The full-back started off strongly, delivering the cross for Jordan Henderson’s goal to bring up 10 Premier League assists for the season. Defensively strong in the first half when up against Jonny and Pedro Neto, but had a difficult job at hand when Jota was introduced.
A nervy moment late on could have ended up with a second Wolves equaliser. All in all, however, this was another positive showing by the English international.
Joe Gomez: 8/10
A colossal showing by Gomez, who was, at times, even more solid than Virgil van Dijk. A bit harried to begin with, Gomez was sublime as soon as he found his feet, with his only blemish in the game being that he could have perhaps stayed tighter to Jimenez for Wolves’ goal.
Some of his numbers are simply astronomical. Gomez won each of his tackles, made 5 clearances, 6 recoveries and 3 interceptions. One block in the second half was crucial. An absolutely vital display by Gomez, especially at a time when Joel Matip and Dejan Lovren have regained fitness.
Virgil van Dijk: 9/10
There were fears that van Dijk could miss out due to illness, but he started against Wolves. And, Liverpool’s defensive leader was nothing short of rock solid on the night. Bar one anxious moment against Traore, van Dijk was just brilliant. The standout defensive moment was when he nonchalantly let the ball roll past the line when under pressure from Jonny.
The Dutchman won everything in the air and kept the backline organised, which reflected in the fact that Alisson made just a couple of saves. Often, van Dijk also had to cover up for Robertson, with the Scot pulled out of position a number of times over the course of the game. A godsend for Liverpool.
Andrew Robertson: 4/10
One of the more underwhelming displays this season by Robertson, who endured a nightmare at Wolves. Up against the tricky Traore, Robertson was unsettled throughout, which also reflected on his output in the final third. Horribly exposed for Wolves’ goal, Robertson committed himself too early and was then run ragged by Traore for the remainder of the game.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain: 6.5/10
Making a third successive start, Oxlade-Chamberlain was decent for most parts of the game, but did go missing at times as well. The English international kept play ticking smartly when Liverpool were in command and supported Alexander-Arnold well in the defensive phase, although some of his passes were sloppy when he moved out to the left flank.
Jordan Henderson: 9/10
The Liverpool captain was in his elements from the word go. Started the game in incredible fashion, scoring from his head via his shoulder to put his team in front. Then set about working diligently in the middle of the park to restrain Wolves, winning half of the duels he contested and leading the Liverpool press remarkably.
Jordan Henderson’s game by numbers vs. Wolves:
80% pass accuracy rate
50% duels won
2 chances created
Captain fantastic. © pic.twitter.com/gS6m1p7jtp
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) January 23, 2020
Henderson, though, was not done just yet, as he pounced on a ball left stray by Mohamed Salah to make a trademark first-time pass towards Firmino, who netted the winner. Captain Fantastic for Liverpool, whose calming presence has meant Liverpool never missed Fabinho one bit.
Georginio Wijnaldum: 7/10
Liverpool’s midfield workhorse was his typical industrious self on Thursday. With Liverpool more in command in the first half, Wijnaldum never got out of second gear and helped move things along well. Came to the fore when Wolves grew into the game, running himself into the ground and even covering a lot of ground for Robertson. Such an asset for Klopp.
Mohamed Salah: 6/10
Salah was the liveliest player on the pitch for Liverpool, but it did not translate in tangible returns on the night. The Egyptian was constantly looking to take on the opposition defender, but was almost too selfish at times.
Inexplicably chose to go for glory when picking out a teammate would have been a better option. Nevertheless, on another day, Salah could have even celebrated a brace, with Rui Patricio denying him twice. Had his part to play in the winner, as he linked up with Henderson before Firmino scored.
Roberto Firmino: 8/10
For much of the game, Firmino set about going his usual way of harrying the opposition defenders off the ball. The player who sacrificed his position after Sadio Mane was taken off, Firmino still remained effective, creating the joint-most chances for a Liverpool player (2).
Left frustrated by Rui Patricio, who made a smart save to deny him, Firmino was at hand to get the better of the Wolves goalkeeper when he received the ball from Henderson before creating space for himself and curling the ball into the net. That is now a tenth away goal of the season; Firmino has netted some very crucial goals indeed.
Sadio Mane: 6/10
A frustrating evening for Mane, who had started the game strongly and created an opening for Salah, but had to walk off the pitch due to a hamstring injury. Did not seem to be hobbling, meaning it should not be a long layoff for him.
Takumi Minamino: 6/10
Not the kind of circumstances he would have hoped or expected to be making his Premier League debut in. Did not appear to be at his sharpest and thus, looked to keep things simple when connecting midfield with attack. Could have had the chance to score his maiden Liverpool goal had Salah spotted him in clear space.
Given the final 20 minutes or so, it became apparent why Fabinho had not started, as he continues building up peak match fitness and sharpness. Helped provide control late on, though.
Divock Origi: N/A
A late introduction, Origi helped see the game out.