Diogo Jota made the difference while Fabinho was once again influential in midfield as Liverpool beat Wolves 1-0 at Molineux on Monday.
Wolves were the better of the two sides in the early exchanges, with Alisson Becker cutting a nervy figure in the first few minutes. The Liverpool no. 1, though, also made a fine stop to deny Nelson Semedo, with the visitors subsequently establishing a foothold in the game. Sadio Mane especially saw a couple of chances being set up for him, but could not finish either of them.
The Senegalese forward, though, would go on to set up the deadlock-breaking goal, combining with Mohamed Salah before releasing Diogo Jota. The former Wolves star then finished the chance off from close range to hand Liverpool the lead on the stroke of half-time.
Post the interval, the chances flew better, but both the goalkeepers stood strong between the posts. The game ended on a sour note, though, as Rui Patricio suffered a blow to his head and had to be stretchered off the pitch. As for Liverpool, they sealed a crucial 1-0 win to cut the gap to Chelsea to five points. The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over Jurgen Klopp’s men.
Alisson Becker: 7/10
Alisson made a nervy start to the game, spilling the ball once while also being a tad fortunate, as per some to have not conceded a penalty. However, the Brazilian made some big saves to preserve his clean sheet, an important one at that.
Trent Alexander-Arnold: 6.5/10
The better of the two full-backs, Alexander-Arnold set up a fine chance for Sadio Mane, only to see the Senegalese forward head wide. A constant outlet down the right flank, the Englishman played a game-high 3 key passes, but was also wasteful with the ball at times, losing possession a staggering 28 times. Defended astutely for the most part, however.
Nat Phillips: 7/10
A solid effort once again by Phillips, whose partnership with Ozan Kabak continues to grow. The young defender was solid in the air and made some important interventions while also clearing the ball 6 times and making 3 important blocks. Not too precise when playing out from the back, though, completing just 77 percent of his attempted passes. Solid enough otherwise.
Ozan Kabak: 7/10
Combining with Phillips at the heart of the Liverpool defence once again, Kabak did not really make the best of starts to the game, and was pulled out of position during the early onslaught by Wolves. A last-ditch tackle on Adama Traore was the standout moment for the Turk, who won 7 duels and made 6 clearances to help Liverpool to another clean sheet.
Andrew Robertson: 6/10
Facing a tricky test up against Traore, Robertson was pretty solid defensively, winning each of the 4 ground duels he contested. However, the Scotsman piled on the pressure on his side with his sloppiness on the ball, losing possession a staggering 20 times while completing none of the crosses he attempted. About time he stepped up.
Thiago Alcantara: 5/10
A sub-par performance by Thiago, who was not as meticulous in his usage of the ball as he can be. The Spanish international completed just 77 percent of his attempted passes, losing possession 16 times. There were a few hairy moments off the ball as well against Pedro Neto, although he did improve as the game wore on before being taken off midway through the second half.
Starting in midfield once again, Fabinho made a world of difference for the second game in a row. The Brazilian worked his socks off, winning 7 duels while completing 3 interceptions, 2 clearances and 1 tackle. On the ball, though, his output was poor, as he misplaced a third of his attempted passes, losing possession 15 times. That was the only blip in an otherwise solid display, though.
Georginio Wijnaldum: 5/10
A difficult evening for Wijnaldum, who could not influence the proceedings as much as he would have liked, owing to increased defensive workload. The Dutchman, though, misplaced just one pass all game and even set up a fine chance for Mane. Did not always cover his tracks well defensively but slowly grew in the game in that sense.
Mohamed Salah: 6/10
Salah made a slow start to the game and was not involved a great deal in the first third of the game or so. However, the Egyptian gradually grew into the game and had chances coming his way, only for him to fluff his lines on every occasion. Having said that, Salah did combine superbly with Mane for the winner before Jota scored it and was also reasonably precise with the ball at his feet.
Diogo Jota: 8/10
2 – Diogo Jota is just the second player to score both for and against Wolves in the Premier League after Stephen Hunt. Resurface. pic.twitter.com/hhDsJdDBoJ
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) March 15, 2021
The player who made all the difference, Jota produced a composed finish to earn Liverpool all three points. The former Wolves forward, though, flitted in and out of the game while also being quite wasteful on the ball. Nevertheless, the fact that he earned the Reds a big win bumps his rating.
Sadio Mane: 7/10
Not the best of performances in terms of his utilisation of the ball, with Mane completing only 74 percent of his attempted passes. Having said that, his pass to Jota for the winner was perfectly weighted. However, the Senegalese forward’s output in front of goal was questionable, and he did not pull the trigger on time.
James Milner: 6/10
On for Wijnaldum, Milner was typically industrious in the middle of the park and helped Liverpool see the game out.
Naby Keita: 6/10
On for Thiago, Keita hardly saw the ball during his time on the pitch while completing just six of the 10 passes he attempted, although he did play a couple of key passes. Worked hard off the ball, though, winning 3 of the 4 duels.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain: N/A
A late introduction, Oxlade-Chamberlain did not have many moments to create the openings, but he did set up that chance for Salah that was pulled back for offside.