Fabinho was a rock at the back as an efficient display by Liverpool saw them cruise to a 4-0 win over Wolves at Anfield on Sunday.
Wolves had the best chance of the game in the early exchanges, as Caoimhin Kelleher was alert to parry away Daniel Podence’s shot. Thereafter, though, Liverpool assumed charge, with Mohamed Salah putting them ahead midway through the first half when Conor Coady made a meal of Jordan Henderson’s long ball.
Shortly after, Coady was involved in another moment to forget as he was deemed to have indulged in simulation after referee Craig Pawson had initially awarded Wolves a penalty for a foul by Sadio Mane. Liverpool then doubled their advantage early in the second half, when Georginio Wijnaldum was released by Henderson for a fine counter-attacking goal.
The third goal came in the 67th minute when Joel Matip headed in from Salah’s cross before the win was rounded off in the 78th minute, as Nelson Semedo bundled in the ball into his own net to complete Wolves’ misery. The result took Liverpool level on points with Tottenham, who had won their game earlier in the day. The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over Jurgen Klopp’s men.
Caoimhin Kelleher: 8/10
Kelleher did not have a great deal to do after his early save to deny Daniel Podence. However, the big save to deny the Wolves forward was crucial with the game tied at 0-0 at the time. Composed enough with the ball at his feet and commanded his area superbly.
Neco Williams: 7/10
With Trent Alexander-Arnold not fit enough to start just yet, Williams got another chance to impress. The Welshman did a solid job at the back, for the most part, winning 4 duels while making a couple of key clearances. However, he did not carry a great deal of threat down his flank, though he linked up well with Mohamed Salah. Decent enough.
Joel Matip: 8/10
5 – Five of Joel Matip's six goals for Liverpool in all competitions have been headed, with five also coming from a corner situation (one free-kick). Target. pic.twitter.com/ChMSFxiYs0
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) December 6, 2020
Raul Jimenez’s absence was always going to work in favour of the Liverpool defenders and Matip had a reasonably simple job of keeping Podence quiet. Hardly misplaced a pass and lost possession just thrice. Capped off a solid performance with a peach of a header, which was Liverpool’s third of the game.
Yet another colossal showing at the back by Fabinho. The Brazilian had just one moment to forget when Adama Traore beat him. Otherwise, though, there was no getting past Fabinho, who made 5 clearances and won 4 duels in addition to completing 73 of the 78 passes he attempted. You would not know that he is playing as a makeshift centre-back.
Andrew Robertson: 8/10
Up against the tricky Traore, Robertson produced an accomplished defensive performance, edging the duel between them. As ever, a constant outlet down the left flank, the Scotsman created a couple of fine chances and could have grabbed an assist on another day.
Curtis Jones: 7/10
Continuing his run in the side, Jones was thoroughly professional in his display. The youngster carried the ball with elan, showed some neat touches and completed 95 per cent of his attempted passes. Did not create a great deal of danger, but was always willing to do the dirty job.
Jordan Henderson: 8.5/10
Jordan Henderson vs. Wolves
91% Pass accuracy
6/7 Accurate long passes
3 Chances created
1/2 Dribbles completed
4/5 Duels won
Henderson's status as one of the best in the business at what he does is apparently a well-kept secret. Utterly vital. pic.twitter.com/HnrWSHgBlY
— The Tactical Times (@Tactical_Times) December 6, 2020
A top-class display by Henderson, who led by example. The Liverpool captain was involved in each of the first three goals. The first instance saw his long ball being poorly dealt with by Conor Coady before Salah scored. Henderson then provided the assist to Georginio Wijnaldum before linking up with Salah when Matip scored Liverpool’s third. Typically put a shift in off the ball.
Georginio Wijnaldum: 8/10
Another player who was superb in the middle of the park for Liverpool. Wijnaldum kept things ticking in midfield and helped assert the Premier League champions’ dominance over Wolves. The Dutchman lost the ball just once and created a fine chance. The moment of the game for him, though, was when he scored Liverpool’s second. Klopp will be desperate to see Wijnaldum sign a new deal.
Mohamed Salah: 8.5/10
You just cannot take Salah out of a game. The Egyptian showed tremendous awareness to pounce on Coady’s mistake and put Liverpool in front. That was his 52nd Premier League goal at Anfield for Liverpool – only Lionel Messi at Camp Nou (63) and Robert Lewandowski at the Allianz Arena (59) have more at a single venue in the big-five European leagues since he joined the Reds in 2017.
Kept posing a great deal of threat thereafter and ended the game with an assist as well. It was the 17th time Salah has both scored and assisted a goal in the same Premier League game for Liverpool; since 2017/18, this is five more times than any other player in the competition (Son Heung-min, 12).
111 – Since returning to the Premier League for the 2017-18 season Mohamed Salah has scored or assisted 111 times in the competition (82 goals, 29 assists), at least 20 more times than any other player (Kane, 91). Inevitable. pic.twitter.com/OhjeAerD4L
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) December 6, 2020
Roberto Firmino: 7/10
He might not have been on the score sheet, but Firmino continued taking crucial steps in his bid to rediscover his best. His movement troubled Coady and Willy Boly a great deal on Sunday and the Brazilian also appeared to be quite sharp on the ball. As ever, Firmino put in the hard yard off the ball as well.
Sadio Mane: 7/10
A night when Mane did everything right except finishing. The Senegalese was a thorn in the side of Nelson Semedo all night long and he did not give the Wolves right-back a moment’s rest. It was this nippiness that forced a mistake out of Semedo for Liverpool’s fourth of the game. However, he will be desperate for a goal, having now gone eight games without one.
Trent Alexander-Arnold: 7/10
Introduced midway through the second half, Alexander-Arnold crucially got some minutes under his belt. Took some big steps on the night and was involved in Liverpool’s fourth as it was his low cross that eventually led to Semedo’s own goal.
Diogo Jota: 7/10
On for Firmino, the former Wolves forward was typically nippy and even threaded in a key pass during his cameo. A good run-out against his former side.
Naby Keita: N/A
A late introduction, Keita, like Alexander-Arnold, would have benefitted from getting some minutes under his belt.