Wolves 3 (Matip OG 5, Dawson 12, Neves 71) Liverpool 0
Wolves breathed new life into their season with a devastating display to put three past Liverpool. At a boisterous Molineux, Wolves were ruthless from the first five minutes, setting the tone for the performance of the season, wrapped up by a brilliant Ruben Neves finish, which lifted the lid off the South Bank.
It was the industry of Hee Chan Hwang which got the ball rolling, as Joel Matip turned in his shot, before debutant Craig Dawson lashed home an unstoppable second after just 12 minutes. Then, having repelled Liverpool, that priceless third arrived when Adama Traore fed Neves to propel Wolves back up the Premier League table.
It felt the start of an important run of fixtures for the old gold, with the introduction of a flurry of new signings to the matchday squad only adding to the anticipation, and two combined early on as Dawson earned possession back and fed Matheus Cunha to sting the palms of Alisson, before a third fresh face Pablo Sarabia dragged wide after Neves had regained possession deep into the Liverpool half.
The early signs were promising, and the opening goal was just around the corner. Sarabia clipped a brilliant ball over the top for Hwang, who let the ball run across him and shot across goal, catching a deflection off Matip, which diverted the ball in off the post, despite the desperate clearance of Alisson. Molineux was alive.
Lopetegui spoke of the wrong game plan at Manchester City a fortnight ago, but what he had prepared this time around was going exactly to the script. Neves’ free-kick was kept alive by Cunha and caused confusion in the Liverpool box, and while they recovered to keep out Maximilian’s Kilman’s header, there was nothing the visitors could do as Dawson rifled the loose ball into the roof of the net.
Wolves had been transformed, fighting to every ball and smothering their visitors, whose best chance came when Jose Sa impressively foiled Darwin Nunez. Mo Salah and Trent Alexander-Arnold both missed the target with further chances, but none were as good as the one Matheus Nunes passed up, after he beat Matip to the ball, but had his curling shot kept out by Alisson.
Half-time | Wolves 2-0 Liverpool
The break had come at a good time for the visitors, who returned for the second period with a new lease of life, and Wolves did well to keep out Naby Keita’s effort, and Andrew Robertson’s rebound, before Dawson was relieved to see Salah curl wide, after gifting possession to Cody Gakpo.
Lopetegui made a double change, bringing on Joao Moutinho and Raul Jimenez, in a bid to turn the tide back Wolves’ way, but it was still Liverpool controlling things. Luckily, however, when Nunez got on the end of Alexander-Arnold’s pass, Sa stood firm to thwart him again.
Having withstood that period of pressure, Wolves did what they’ve done so rarely this season, and killed off the game well and truly. Moutinho, fresh from the bench, won the ball back and clipped a teasing ball for Adama to run on to, and having got the better of Robertson, he looked up to feed Neves, who’d charged from deep, produced a sublime touch and sold Alisson with the eyes, slotting in at the near post with his left foot. The South Bank erupted.
Jimenez could have even added a fourth, incredibly, but he got his dink wrong following an Adama pass. But as the game entered the final moments, Molineux was cheering every pass, lapping up the performance of the season, as Wolves beat Liverpool at Molineux in the Premier League for the very first time.
Full-time | Wolves 3-0 Liverpool
Wolves | Sa, Semedo, Dawson, Kilman, Ait-Nouri (Jonny 83), Neves, Lemina (Podence 83), Nunes, Hwang (Adama 42), Sarabia (Moutinho 60), Cunha (Jimenez 60).
Unused subs | Bentley, Bueno, Collins, Hodge.
Liverpool | Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Gomez, Robertson (Tsimikas 86), Thiago (Milner 85), Bajcetic (Elliott 77), Keita (Henderson 65), Salah, Gakpo (Oxlade-Chamberlain 85), Nunez.
Unused subs | Kelleher, Phillips, Jones, Carvalho.