Liverpool faced Wolves at Molineux with the following line-up: Reina, Carragher, Skrtel, Kyrgiakos, Insua, Maxi, Mascherano, Lucas, Riera, Gerrard, Kuyt. On the bench: Cavalieri, Aquilani, Degen, Darby, Pacheco, Ngog and Babel. The Reds yet again opting for a 4-4-2 line-up with Maxi and Riera promising to give Liverpool vital width. Aside from Gerrard being fit and fielded from the first minute, we must say that we were very close in our predictions to Rafa’s team selection for this game. The referee doing the honours was Peter Walton.
Therefore Rafa showed his intentions from the offing for this encounter, fielding arguably the best formation from what was at his disposal. Many, of course, would have loved to see Aquilani in place of Lucas from the first minute.
Before this game Wolves had lost 4 of their 5 previous PL encounters and seemed to have a congenital issue with scoring, having netted only 17 goals before this match, but naturally the home crowd was all behind them. For some reason they were also booing Pepe Reina every time he touched the ball!
The first 25 minutes passed like a breeze and the Reds not only did not have a single attempt at goal, they did not even manage to put a string of three consecutive passes together. The game was on the brink of boring with both goalies enjoying a bank holiday as most of the play was in midfield with players running at each other to fight for possession. In fact, both sets of teams seemed to be cancelling each other out.
On 29th minute first corner for the Reds which was punched away by Hannemann. On 32nd minute Wolves produce a counter attack and Doyle flicks the ball just before Reina comes to meet it and hits the side netting. First chance of the game goes to Wolves. A second chance for Wolves on 42nd, coming close with a header which was easily neutralized by Reina.
Two extra minutes added to a first half which saw the Reds not producing a single shot at goal! I wondered what Rafa was planning to say in his half-time team talk. Four corners to nill in the first half for the Reds. Scrappy first 45 minutes with the Reds a far cry from the first 45 minute performance against Spurs, which accidentally were winning 1-0 at home against Fulham taking them to three points above us!
Second half was underway with an unsurprisingly unchanged Liverpool line-up. And Wolves set out to frustrate Liverpool’s game for at least another 45 minutes! The Reds seemed to look the business from the opening minutes with a lovely volley from Reira giving Hanneman something to worry about. The match continued to look disjointed but the tempo was surely two notches up in the second half.
On 56th Doyle lets fly from just outside the area the shot going high above Reina’s goal, and yet up to this stage of the game we were nowhere close to scoring a goal, on the contrary Wolves seemed to gain more confidence and were coming at us more frequently.
On 62nd first real attempt with a fierce shot from Dirk Kuyt just outside the area that brushed the right post with Hannemann beaten. At this stage, the game seemed open with any team able to find the right chance to open the scoring. On 66th Reira was recalled and David Ngog entered the fray, with Rafa trying to create more enterprise on the attacking front. The young Frenchmen settled in his position and immediately let fly with a snapshot from the right saved by the Wolves keeper.
On 72nd Skrtel arrives late on Berra and gets rewarded with the first yellow card of the game. Wolves made a change barely a minute later with Milijas being taken off and David Jones coming on. The Reds seemed livelier with the introduction of the French forward that kept running at the Wolves defence, but Gerrard did not seem to be at his best. Wolves made another change on the 88th minute. Three added minutes and it’s all over.
A setback for the Reds with 2 points lost. The Reds play a lackluster game against a team that did their best to make the game as disjointed as possible. Mick McCarthy did his homework well after seeing us play Spurs at Anfield giving his team a vital point for the relegation battle.
Another missed opportunity for the Reds, and the belief we witnessed against Spurs is yet again dented. Spurs won their home game against Fulham and are now 3 points ahead of us. Next game we have Bolton at home!