Wolves 1 (Jimenez 51) Liverpool 2 (Henderson 8, Firmino 84)
Wolves were denied against the Premier League leaders in a spirited display by Nuno Espirito Santo’s men, who fell to a narrow defeat to unbeaten Liverpool at Molineux.
Raul Jimenez thought he had done enough to secure at least a point for Wanderers when his header brought Wolves level with just over five minutes of the second-half gone after his side had fell behind in the opening half to Jordan Henderson’s header. However, Liverpool struck late through Roberto Firmino to take the three points back to the north west.
A deafening Molineux crowd was almost cranked up to 11 when Pedro Neto whipped a low free-kick across the six-yard box, but no Wolves player was able to get their foot on the ball, and Liverpool were able to clear the danger.
However, it was the visitors who broke the deadlock just eight minutes into the first period. After Romain Saiss was able to head a dangerous Mohamed Salah free-kick behind, Henderson was able to get up highest and divert Trent Alexander-Arnold’s corner past the outstretched arms of Rui Patricio and into the top corner of the net.
Moments later, Wolves could have found an immediate response. From a Joao Moutinho corner, the Portuguese midfielder played it out to Ruben Neves who curled a beautiful cross towards the back post and directly on the head of Matt Doherty, but the Irish wing-back could only plant his headed effort wide after aiming across Alisson’s goal.
Wolves’ defenders had to be alert when Sadio Mane and Salah burst forward for the visitors, and after the two linked up well to release Salah into the penalty area, and after shifting the ball to his left before shooting, Saiss was able to make a vital block.
Raul Jimenez had his first opportunity to strike towards goal with just under ten minutes of the first-half remaining after the Mexican was able to bring down a raking cross-field pass by Neves, but after making space, Wolves’ number nine was unable to trouble Alisson with his pulled shot.
Almost identical to his earlier opportunity, Salah could have doubled Liverpool’s advantage after breaking into the Wolves box, but after cutting onto his left foot and aiming at goal, Doherty was able to get back and put in a block.
Half-time: Wolves 0 Liverpool 1
An end-to-end opening to the second-half saw chances at either end. Firstly, Patricio had to be at his best to stand up against a Salah effort after the Liverpool striker capitalised on a slip-up in defence for Wolves, then right up the other end Joe Gomez had to make a vital challenge to deny Neto.
And with Wolves on the ascendancy, the old gold finally made their attacking play count when Jimenez played in Traore down the right who raced past Andy Robertson before reaching the byline and whipping a great ball into the centre of the penalty area for the Mexican striker to head past Alisson and inside the far post.
The goal buoyed on the hosts as well as the Molineux crowd who managed to get even louder in their attempts to push their side to a second, and it almost came immediately as Alisson had to be alert to push a perilous Moutinho cross into the Liverpool area clear, but only as far as Neves who just missed the crossbar with his long-range follow up.
Wolves continued to push for a second, which almost arrived on 65 minutes when Traore used his pace and power to get into the Liverpool box, and from a tight angle, fired a wicked shot across goal which Alisson strongly palmed away from danger.
Alisson had to be alert once again to deny a Wolves counter-attack as Jimenez got behind the defence with a ball over the top and after racing in on goal, the forward could only find the Liverpool keeper with his shot after the stopper was able to make himself big as he closed down the angle. Wolves were then indebted to Patricio to keep the scores at 1-1 when he got down low to stop Firmino, who had wriggled his way in on goal.
Moments after Patricio’s heroics, the home keeper could do nothing to stop Liverpool regaining the lead. With the ball bouncing around the Wolves defence, it fell kindly to Firmino who dragged the ball onto his left before launching a driving effort into the top of the net.
With the game deep into the four added on minutes, substitute Diogo Jota had Wolves’ best opportunity to get back into the tie after Jimenez was able to bring a looping Traore cross down on his chest, and after laying it off to Jota, the Portuguese forward, who was stretching, couldn’t get his foot around to ball to put an effort on target.
Full-time: Wolves 1 Liverpool 2
Wolves: Patricio, Doherty, Dendoncker, Coady, Saiss, Jonny, Neves, Moutinho (Gibbs-White 87), Traore, Neto, Jimenez.
Unused subs: Ruddy, Boly, Kilman, Giles, Ashley-Seal.
Liverpool: Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, van Dijk, Robertson, Henderson, Wijnaldum, Oxlade-Chamberlain (Fabinho 70), Mane (Minamino 33), Salah (Origi 85), Firmino.
Unused subs: Adrian, Matip, Williams, Jones.
Referee: Michael Oliver