With their Premier League form still out of sorts, Liverpool switch attentions to their FA Cup title defence this evening when they welcome Wolves to Anfield in the competition’s third round.
Liverpool have been the dominant force in this fixture since May 2019, winning seven encounters with Wolves on the bounce, though Wanderers did manage to beat the Reds in each of the teams’ last two tussles in the FA Cup (2-1 at Molineux ’19 and 2-1 at Anfield ’17).
Wanderers will head to Merseyside dreaming of another cup miracle today and below, you can find my stats pack for this FA Cup showdown, which has a myriad of metrics to use for your bet builder coupons. If you need advice about how to get the most out of the info, check out my Stats Pack Guide here.
Liverpool’s injury list continues to lengthen and influential Dutch defender became the latest Red to join the walking wounded when he picked up a hamstring problem in the club’s defeat to Brentford.
Van Dijk joins Arthur, Luis Diaz and Diogo Jota in the treatment room, while James Milner, Roberto Firmino and Jordan Henderson are listed as slight doubts. In better news, new signing Cody Gakpo is in line to make his debut on the left flank.
Daniel Podence was forced off at half-time in Wolves’ 1-1 draw with Aston Villa on Wednesday, though the diminutive winger will hope to play a part today. Boubacar Traore, Chiquinho, Pedro Neto and Sasa Kalajdzic are all confirmed absentees for Wanderers.
A full debut could be in the works for loan signing Matheus Cunha in attack, while young Irishman Joe Hodge could earn a start in midfield. Liverpool-linked Matheus Nunes will hope to impress in front of his suitors.
Liverpool’s attacking statistics have plenty of sparkle across a number of metrics, though the Reds’ underlying stats in defensive area make for more intriguing reading.
Jurgen Klopp’s side have just the 12th best xG against figures in the division this term, while just two clubs (Leeds & Fulham) have faced more big chances overall. Only six sides have been peppered with more shots on target per 90 than the unusually generous Merseysiders.
Unfortunately for Wolves, they could hardly be less well-equipped to capitalise on the holes in Liverpool’s defence today.
Wanderers are the Premier League’s lowest-scoring outfit so far and only fellow strugglers Nottingham Forest have been clocking fewer attempts on target per 90 minutes.
Wolves have shown bite in one area, however. They have been collecting over twice as many cards as Liverpool and they look excellent value at 4/6 to earn at least two bookings at Anfield this evening.
Player Shots and Shots on Target
Darwin Nunez continues to divide opinion; however, the Uruguayan is a shot machine in the Premier League and the ex-Benfica star racked up another three attempts in Liverpool’s defeat to Brentford on Monday.
However, the best value this evening is in the shots on target realm, where Nunez and chief partner in crime, Mohamed Salah, are priced at 8/11 and evens respectively to have two or more shots on target against Wolves.
January acquisition Cody Gakpo will be eager to impress if he sees minutes and the versatile 23-year-old carries odds of 7/5 in the same market. Gakpo was hitting 1.93 shots on target in the Eredivisie for PSV before his switch to England.
With few of the options listed above tipped to start today, we have to look elsewhere for shot market options in the Wolves’ ranks.
Matheus Cunha will hope to add some much-needed dynamism to Wolves’ frontline and his 1.91 shots on target per 90 figure in La Liga for Atletico Madrid this season suggests he can do just that. The Brazilian is an interesting price at 8/11 to mark his full debut with at least one effort on target this evening.
Matheus Nunes is another that catches the eye at 9/5 to get at least two shots away against Liverpool. The Portuguese midfielder managed three efforts in Wolves’ last match at Aston Villa and he will be desperate to impress some his admirers today.
Player Goals and Assists
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain ended a 12-month-long wait for a goal when he hit Liverpool’s consolation effort at Brentford on Monday, though Mohamed Salah could be a better option to score anytime at 11/10 later today.
The Egyptian rattled the net in each of Liverpool’s last two home encounters with Wolves and he could face a right-back who can often be caught out of position in the shape of Ayan Ait-Nouri today. Cody Gakpo, who should have debut energy to harness at Anfield, could also be of interest at 6/4.
Trent Alexander-Arnold meanwhile, finally lodged a first Premier League assist of the campaign when he planted a cross on Oxlade-Chamberlain’s head on Monday, and with some pressure alleviated, he could be one to watch at 13/8 to land another assist later on.
Wolves have scored just three times in their last three assignments, though winger Daniel Podence bagged two of those goals and both of his efforts came in away matches for Wanderers.
Powered by a decent head of steam, Podence stands out as the best candidate to score anytime for Wolves at Anfield at odds of 11/2. Elsewhere, full-debutant Matheus Cunha might tickle your fancy at a shorter 7/2.
However, it’s worth noting that the 23-year-old failed to score a single goal in the first half of the season for Atletico Madrid, though his opportunities were limited.
Liverpool have been one of the Premier League’s most possession-hungry teams this season, while Wolves are usually found at the opposite end of the same spectrum. That should make the Reds’ ranks a more-fertile hunting ground for passes market options for your bet builder today.
The Merseysiders’ list of most prolific passers is dominated by defensive players and any member of Liverpool’s starting back four today would be a worthy inclusion on your docket.
With Virgil van Dijk out injured, Joel Matip could take his place as the team’s main distributor through the first third of the pitch – which could be something to consider when surfing the markets.
Wolves’ team is still taking shape under new manager Julen Lopetegui, though centre-backs Max Kilman and Nathan Collins have been seeing their fair share of the ball in the Spaniard’s system, as has holding midfielder Ruben Neves.
That trio were the only Wanderers players to play more than 50 passes against Aston Villa on Wednesday and if the prices are right, any one of the three could be worth nudging onto your coupon to beat that target again at Anfield.
Liverpool’s disciplinary record this season has been impressively clean, though the Reds did pick up three yellow cards on a frustrating evening at Brentford on Monday, and Wolves will hope to rattle their cages in similar fashion today.
Trent Alexander-Arnold (6/1) could be troubled by livewire attacker Matheus Cunha, while fellow full-back Andrew Robertson (9/2) could be tested by powerful runner Adama Traore on the opposite flank. Thiago Alcantara (5/1) – who was booked on Monday – will have to work hard to limit Matheus Nunes’ line-breaking surges in midfield.
Wolves will hope to exploit the space behind Liverpool’s high-defensive line today and Matheus Cunha and Adama Traore have the running power to draw cynical challenges from Alexander-Arnold and Robertson during counter-attacking scenarios.
Matheus Nunes meanwhile, has been Wanderers’ most-fouled midfielder this term and he could come into foul-happy Thiago’s orbit in central areas this evening.
Match-Ups to watch
Trent Alexander-Arnold vs Matheus Cunha
Andrew Robertson vs Adama Traore
Thiago Alcantara vs Matheus Nunes
Wolves have collected 10 bookings in three Premier League matches since Julen Lopetegui’s appointment, so expect another combative display from the visitors at Anfield today.
Nelson Semedo (four cards) could have an awkward evening defending his right flank against an eager-to-impress Cody Gakpo, while centre-half Max Kilman, who was booked twice in his last three games, has an interesting tussle with Darwin Nunez in the works.
In midfield, Ruben Neves can mix it with most from a physical perspective and he could aim a few tackles in Thiago’s direction at Anfield.
Cody Gakpo was fouled a bone-bruising 2.1 times per Eredivisie appearance for PSV before his move to Liverpool and his acceleration could tip Nelson Semedo over the edge today.
Darwin Nunez’s bustling style could draw a third caution in four Premier League runouts for Max Kilman, while Thiago Alcantara’s ability to pull strings in midfield should put him on card-loving Ruben Neves’s radar.
Match-Ups to watch
Nelson Semedo vs Cody Gakpo
Max Kilman vs Darwin Nunez
Ruben Neves vs Thiago Alcantara