Liverpool seniors step up with top-four finish now firmly in their sights

Mohamed Salah v Liverpool v Wolves live: score and Premier League update - Reuters/Phil Noble
Mohamed Salah v Liverpool v Wolves live: score and Premier League update – Reuters/Phil Noble

Chris Bascombe at Anfield

Virgil Van Dijk and Mohamed Salah have an unexpected but vital mission for Liverpool to complete in their remaining Premier League games. Call it “Operation to Prevent the Conference League of Europe”.

With two of their most timely and needed contributions of the season, the senior Liverpool duo have shown they are up to the challenge to salvage a miserable campaign.

Catching up with Tottenham Hotspur and Newcastle United isn’t just about Premier League points or even their clubs’ Champions League earnings for players of the caliber of Van Dijk and Salah.

It’s also about pride. It’s about seeing themselves as superstars who feel they belong on the biggest stages and enjoy being rolled out on the red carpet at the annual FIFA and UEFA awards parties.

With all due respect, Salah and Van Dijk have not signed new long-term contracts to flirt with the UEFA third division and face Liechtenstein’s Vaduz or Armenia’s Pyunik, which is still a viable option next season despite beating Wolverhampton Wanderers. .

Mohamed Salah scores second for Liverpool - ADAM VAUGHAN/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock
Mohamed Salah scores second for Liverpool – ADAM VAUGHAN/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

For other clubs, any UEFA qualification must be celebrated. For Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool, who are currently in their sixth successive Champions League season, this would mean a humiliating demotion. Yes, they are more demanding, but Van Dijk and Salah did not expect otherwise, and they are too good to count on an extension of a run in which their qualities were questioned.

Those questions intensified when Van Dijk sparked an epidemic of bewilderment when his peers voted him the world’s best XI earlier this week. Such cynicism must hurt him as much as it confuses him, reminding him that six years of almost flawless work can be quickly forgotten in six months of hard work. Don’t just focus on being as good as your last game. In modern football, you can only be as good as the last goal conceded on your watch.

The Dutchman has certainly endured a particularly strange season, the rock on which Liverpool’s four-time bid was built a year ago has crumbled from time to time.

But despite all the doubts expressed about the longevity of his lieutenants on the pitch, Klopp remained steadfast in his belief that Van Dijk would be back soon enough. Wednesday evening was encouraging as he looked more confident defensively alongside the much-needed Ibrahima Konate and cracked the code in the opposition’s penalty area, ending Liverpool’s desperate search for the first goal.

Harvey Elliott hits wide – Peter Byrne/PA Wire
Harvey Elliott hits wide – Peter Byrne/PA Wire

“We all need it and he needs it too,” Klopp said, agreeing that Van Dijk looks like the real himself. It was a tough game for the defenders.”

Van Dijk’s recent troubles are easy to understand for any sympathizer, as he played as many minutes as any centre-back in the world between recovering from a cruciate knee injury and a torn hamstring in January.

In the meantime, Salah continues to steadily score points without reaching previous peaks. With a goal that finished off the Wolves, the Egyptian is just one less than Robbie Fowler in the Premier League for Liverpool. It was his 20th appearance of the season and he achieved that mark in all six Anfield campaigns. This is hardly the work of a striker who, after a £350,000-a-week contract, had no tools despite looking less effective without his scoring buddy Sadio Mane.

The more Salah and Darwin Nunez play together, the more mutual understanding they have. This work went on all season long, but there were enough diamonds in the rough to live up to the promise of exciting times ahead.

Although Liverpool had to wait to break down a determined Wolves defense, something vaguely reminiscent of Klopp’s side came when Van Dijk and Salah, expertly assisted by crowd favorite Nunez, created a dominant climax.

There were periods when Liverpool’s strikers worked together, midfielders choked their opponents in their own half, and Van Dijk was reacquainted with the art of settling in the center of the circle and giving a diagonal pass to striker Trent Alexander-Arnold or the deputy left wing. back Kostas Tsimikas.

Liverpool turned too many corners only to reach a stalemate and Klopp was carried away with a well-deserved home win. Especially as Manchester United will take great pleasure in trying to reopen talk of Liverpool’s expulsion from the Champions League when they arrive on Sunday.

Liverpool 2 Wolves 0: how it was


Full time: Liverpool 2 Wolves 0

Liverpool retained their composure by scoring from a set-piece dominating the second half and cherry-picking a classic goal kick raid, taking full advantage of Salah’s free pace and forward support.


90+2 min: Liverpool 2 Wolves 0

The Wolves played 4-2-3-1 and seemed to lose cohesion when Lopetegui replaced all three players behind Jimenez very early on.


90 min: Liverpool 2 Wolves 0

The Wolves were well organized and competently beat the opponent, but in the second half they did not look even remotely threatening. Having just written this, Podense slips down the left flank, opens his body and crosses to the near post, where Diego Costa, who had just replaced Raul Jimenez, slipped in too late to complete the pass as Van Dijk held him up.


89 min: Liverpool 2 Wolves 0

Milner and Firmino replaced Nunez and Alexander-Arnold.


88 min: Liverpool 2 Wolves 0

Alisson succeeds in thwarting Podens, who has the upper hand on Alexander-Arnold.


86 min: Liverpool 2 Wolves 0

Nunez fouled Tarore to the right of the Wolves. They try a free kick in which they pull the ball right to left from D to get Neves to meet the ball in Sheringan style, but the pass lacks speed and must take the hit. tap, then fire weakly at the oncoming defenders into Alisson’s arms with the old up and down.


83 min: Liverpool 2 Wolves 0

Henderson comes on for Baisetic.


80 min: Liverpool 2 Wolves 0

This is a tribute to the dignity of perseverance. Lopetegui puts his head in his hands. Liverpool haven’t returned to form, but they’ve been hard at work preparing for it.



Liverpool 2 Wolves 0 (Salah) A goal from a classic Liverpool play. Alisson makes a long diagonal left midway. Tsimikas nods inward to Gakpo, who brings him back with a sweet first pass that sends Tsimikas into the box for 40 yards. When he arrives, he raises his head and throws it to Salah, who picks it up in a volley as he jumps to send it past Sa from about six yards.

Mohamed Salah scores - PAUL ELLIS/AFP via Getty Images)
Mohamed Salah scores – PAUL ELLIS/AFP via Getty Images)


75 min: Liverpool 1 Wolves 0

Cody Gakpo replaces goalkeeper Diogo Hota, who is given a big hug by the manager.



Liverpool 1 Wolves 0 (Van Dijk) Free kick from the left, Alexander-Arnold turned around. Van Dijk meets him with his head on his shoulder and the ball flies to the left. Don’t worry though, as Jota is here to hook a left cross, and this time he buries the head from a six-yard bullet.

Van Dijk scores – REUTERS/Phil Noble
Van Dijk scores – REUTERS/Phil Noble


70 min: Liverpool 0 Wolves 0

Lame fired Nunes, dragging the kick with his left foot towards the corner flag. The Wolves break down and Fabinho, already booked, avoids another due to a cynical/professional/tactical foul to destroy the Wolves’ counter.


68 min: Liverpool 0 Wolves 0

Diogo Jota broke through the inside left channel and lost control as Semedo and Kilman came together to close the door and caught Kilman with their foot. The ball bounced off Kilman as it landed on Nuñez, who also touched and then shot wide of Sa. Jurgen Klopp is puzzled by Var’s decision. Seemed pretty reasonable to me.


no purpose

Paul Tierney approaches the screen and writes with chalk.


Var checks the goal

For Jota’s potential foul on Kilman.



Liverpool 1 Wolves 0 (Nunez)


64 min: Liverpool 0 Wolves 0

João Gomes and Podense enter the pitch for Wolverhampton moments after Konate tried to beat the goalkeeper from 55 yards but missed.


62 min: Liverpool 0 Wolves 0

Adama misses a great chance to shoot at Liverpool’s goal, knocking offside, falling into the Liverpool trap. He is fast enough to stay in the game and beat anyone.


60 min: Liverpool 0 Wolves 0

Wolves almost cut their knees with a pass in a shirt, it seems, from Nunez. Jota races forward, but Kilman reacts even faster, climbing over him and pushing his foot up the slide to knock her down with the spikes before his former teammate could fire.


58 min: Liverpool 0 Wolves 0

Conate punches his way through 40-60 and the crowd roars in approval moments after they had gone to the bench as Moutinho slid into Nunez to stop his attack.


56 min: Liverpool 0 Wolves 0

Nunes passes over the 18-yard line to Elliott with a Gerrard-style overdrive. Elliot controls it perfectly with a velvety trap to create a half-volley that he drags far.


54 min: Liverpool 0 Wolves 0

Fabinho receives a yellow card for stepping on Lemina, who lost the ball and slid inside to retrieve it. Could have booked them both but didn’t.


52 min: Liverpool 0 Wolves 0

Adama runs into Tsimikas and the left-back manages his pace well and positions himself so that he cannot be deployed.


50 min: Liverpool 0 Wolves 0

Ait Nouri goes berserk when he rolls Konate across the signature, swinging back and spinning. But he slipped past him, grabbing his shirt, and the referee called the foul. I think he must have thought he was being punished for taking out the ball and not for the fistful of red nylon.


48 min: Liverpool 0 Wolves 0

Jota is on the ground, clutching his right ankle as Dawson slides into him and takes the ball… at the same time knocking it down with his body’s momentum and…


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