Well it has been a pretty dull first-half at Molineux. No real bright spots of play from either team, and a general muggy feel around the stadium not helped by the cliched chants from the Wolves fans.
I can’t say whether Wolves have brought Liverpool down to their level, or vice versa, but neither team seems to have got a good foothold in the game. There has been no real fluency to our play, but there have been a few nice-looking passages that seem to be straight from the training ground. Riera looking the most threatening player in Red, whilst the other left-winger on the pitch Matt Jarvis being the home-team’s brightest attacker.
Maxi Rodriguez looked sharp in patches earlier in the half, with Gerrard being virtually non-existent, but he is coming back from injury. Kyrgiakos is looking solid at the back again. Carragher is getting some trouble from Jarvis, but for now he is keeping the winger at bay.
As usual in these sort of matches (and more commonly in Liverpool matches these days), the midfield is a war of attrition. Milijas, Mancienne and Henry are closing down Gerrard, Lucas and Mascherano really well, and denying them any space whatsoever – and before you say it, I’m not so sure whether Aquilani will have that much of an effect with such little space available.
Perhaps our best chance was when Zubar lost the ball in the 31th minute. Rodriguez sent it to Riera, but the latter couldn’t get past Zubar and the chance passed by. A minute later, Matt Jarvis got past Carragher through sheer pace, and crossed the ball on the floor for Doyle, who missed the target altogether. A lucky escape perhaps?
After that it was just another scrappy passage of play. Rodriguez went to the floor following a painful Zubar lunge – one that the Wolves faithful thought was fair game – well, as fair as studs raking down on a calf can be. Wolves’ best chance had to be in the 42nd minute when Jarvis against crossed a telling ball to the back-post where Kevin Foley headed it straight at Pepe Reina who was positioned well.
All we can hope for in the second-half is for more fluency and more incisive passing. Whether this means Aquilani I can’t say, but I think N’Gog should be brought on sooner rather than later, because we need to keep the ball up front, and Big Dave’s close-control could come in useful. At the moment the only person to be taking on the Wolves defenders is Riera, so having N’Gog running at the defenders could be the way to go. Rodriguez should be told to attack the full-backs as well. If that can’t happen, then maybe switch Gerrard to the right-flank and tell him to have run – although I don’t think Gerrard will play the full 90 minutes.
Anyway, lets see how it goes.