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WOLVERHAMPTON WANDERERS 23-01-20 PL (A)

We seem to have had a few Thursday games recently.  At least it has given us a 4 day break after the United game.  This could be one of the most difficult of our remaining fixtures.  Wolves are a strong, well organised team with a system that they are comfortable with.  I've been impressed with how they have coped with the extra demands of the Europa League this season.  Having said that we are an incredibly difficult team to take points off.  The only selection issue for me, unless there are any last minute injuries, is whether to start Fabinho or Ox.  It may make sense to wait until Sunday to start Fabinho so I can see the same team being selected as for the United game:

Alisson

Trent  Gomez  VVD  Robertson

Ox  Henderson  Wijnaldum

Salah  Firmino  Mane

They are strong all over the pitch but the main danger men are Traore and Raul Jiminez.  They may decide to play an extra man in midfield in which case those two would play up front which might suit us as they would be up against Gomez and VVD rather than Traore being up against Robertson who could be caught out of position with no chance of catching him when tracking back.  It should be an interesting tactical battle.  With City dropping points agaist Palace at the week-end a draw would not be a disaster but three points would send a huge message to our nearest rivals.

 

 

 

 

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  • I thought this could be our most difficult fixture of the post-World Club period and so it proved. Losing Mane was a big blow, not just for what he offers in attack but also for his tracking back. Neither Minamino nor Ox was able to offer Robertson the degree of protection that Mane does. I felt sorry for Minamino coming into a game like that. He worked hard but to little effect, though there were glimpses of what he can offer. Alisson, Gomez and VVD all had immense games to minimise the Wolves threat, while Henderson in front of them continued his outstanding form and contributed a goal and an assist. A draw would have been a decent result but the win was very sweet and Firmino's goal must have been greeted by huge groans in the city of Manchester.
  • That was close, well both games home and away. That was a rare goal from a set piece by Henderson plus an important one too. Wolves should be sitting inside the top four at this point of the season since they are a good team. Losing Mane was a disaster and the question is how long will he be out with the hamstring? Salah needs to understand that there are other players in the team that he can pass the ball to instead of being selfish.
  • Thankfully those two games are done and 6 points in the bag, bloody hard fought 6 points i might add. Fairplay to Wolves, their a really good team, surely a big club will come in for Traore, For a big guy he's really quick, if he can sort out his crossing he'd be a top player.
    Hendo, again, was fantastic, a real proper captain but what's really starting to annoy me is Salah, the amount of times he loses the ball during a game is very frustrating and also his greed with it, many many times a pass is on for a player in a better position to score and he doesn't pass, is it something we just have to accept with his game or can he change, i'm not sure but it's bloody annoying at times.
    • This may sound daft but I'm not sure Salah always 'sees' his teammates. When he's got the ball at his feet in the box he's so hyperfocused on getting into a position to shoot I think he gets tunnel vision to a degree. That doesn't excuse not passing to a teammate when he's got lots of time and space but that singlemindedness to score, which gets us many goals, seems to have negatives as well as positives.
    • I agree with you on Salah, he does it a little bit too often for my liking. Remember the incident not too long ago when Mane got annoyed as well when in a perfect position to score. Klopp and the 2 played it down though and quite rightly so but it must still there simmering under the surface
  • I thought, in retrospect, I was being a bit pessimistic about our chances before the game and then the game started and I remembered why Wolves make me so nervous. They cut through our defence so easily at times and we didn't seem to have an answer. Wolves can join the list of teams who had a number of good chances against us but failed to take them. Our first goal was interesting because obviously Wolves didn't see Henderson as a big threat at corners, they left him completely unmarked. Mane going off injured is a blow, a 'muscle tweak' apparently (possibly a hamstring). I don't know whether it was losing Mane or the success Wolves were having out wide but Klopp went to a 4-4-2 when out of possession at halftime and it's rare for him to make a formation change that early in a match. To say we rode our luck for much of the second half is an understatement but if there's one thing teams should've learnt it's that you've got to convert your chances because we'll probably score in the dying minutes of the game. It felt a little unfair that Wolves walked away with nothing but results like this are as much about our never-say-die attitude as they are about our opponent's inability to convert chances.
  • Same team as expected, we'll see a different 11 at the weekend i suspect.
  • On paper this is a horrible game for us, a real potential bannana skin but then how many times have we said that this season???? I would agree with the team above, make wholesale changes against Shrewsbury at the weekend, god knows this first team could do with a rest. Expecting a tough game but not to be beaten, i think coming away with a point wouldn't be the worst result here but expectations are so high i expect a win.
  • I'm actually more nervous of Wolves taking points off us than United. There are a few teams who seem, either through personnel and/or setup, to be able really get at us and I'd put Wolves and Napoli in that bracket. Traore and Raul Jiminez are as dangerous to us as any pairing in the PL so I hope we deal with them better than we did during our previous encounter. I doubt Klopp will deviate from the usual 4-3-3 (I'm undecided whether he's likely to start with Fabinho or not) but given the issues we've had with Wolves before perhaps a tweak to 4-2-1-3 might be an idea with Wijnaldum and Henderson sat a bit deeper than the other CM (probably Ox) providing more cover for the wide channels, especially when Trent and Robertson get forward. I recall Klopp doing this before, I think it was in a European game, but I think he may think it's a bit too negative an approach against Wolves.
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