Wolves and Liverpool go head-to-head in an FA Cup third round replay at Molineux this evening, where Wanderers will feel they have wrongs to right and scores to settle in what should be a tantalising tussle in the West Midlands.
Julen Lopetegui’s outfit were much the better team in a 2-2 draw with Liverpool on Merseyside on January 7, when Wolves were denied by a late winning goal by a phantom offside call that later proved incorrect. With that injustice providing fuel, Wanderers will be determined to get the job done the second time round against an out-of-sorts Liverpool side today.
As per the usual routine, you can find my stats pack for this evening’s clash below which has the scoop on numerous statistical angles, all of which can be used to add some polish to your bet builders for the game. If you need some pointers on how to get the most value from the info, give my Stats Pack Guide a read.
Chiquinho, Pedro Neto, Boubacar Traore and Sasa Kalajdzic are injured for Wolves and are considered long-term absentees, while Joao Moutinho is nursing a slight issue and is touch-and-go.
Raul Jimenez and Adama Traore will hope to see action. Wolves used a 4-4-2 set-up at Anfield earlier this month, though they could revert back to 4-3-3 today.
Liverpool are still without the services of Virgil van Dijk, Arthur, Luis Diaz, Roberto Firmino and Diogo Jota, while Darwin Nunez is still a doubt after he missed the weekend’s loss at Brighton.
Naby Keita, Fabio Carvalho, Kostas Tsimikas and Joe Gomez will all be pushing to start at Molineux having been named on the bench at the Amex Stadium against the Seagulls. Cody Gakpo could be moved into a more central striking role.
Wolves’ underlying stats for the campaign make for grim reading for those of a Wanderers persuasion, though some green shoots of recovery have been evident since the appointment of Julen Lopetegui.
Wanderers have lost just twice in seven assignments in all competitions since the Spaniard’s arrival, and Wolves have started to do their xG justice having underperformed on their figures for much of the season.
A heightened amount of aggression has also been visible in their displays of late and Wolves have collected nine cards in four league fixtures since Lopetegui took the reins.
Despite their lowly league position (9th), Liverpool still carry positive stats across several attacking metrics, though the Reds have been performing well below their own lofty standards at the back.
Remarkably, only six clubs in the Premier League have higher xG and shots on target against figures per 90 than Jurgen Klopp’s ailing side.
Only Man City have collected fewer cards than Liverpool this season, though the Reds picked up three yellows at Brighton at the weekend where their frustrations were starting to boil over.
Player Shots and Shots on Target
Goncalo Guedes, Hwang Hee-Chan, Rayan Ait-Nouri and Ruben Neves all mustered shots on target when Wolves drew 2-2 at Liverpool a little over a week ago, and holding midfielder Neves could be the value option to pursue in the same market this evening.
Famed for his long-range shooting, Neves seems to have been given more licence to let fly by Julen Lopetegui and the Portuguese schemer racked up six attempts against West Ham at the weekend, one of which hit the target.
Neves, who will undoubtedly be on free kick duty for Wanderers today, can be backed at 10/11 to test Alisson with at least one accurate attempt at Molineux.
With machine-gun shooter Darwin Nunez potentially out of action today, and Mohamed Salah’s odds less than favourable, squeezing new signing Cody Gakpo onto your coupon could prove a smarter manoeuvre later on.
The Dutchman could be deployed in a more central attacking role at Molineux and the 23-year-old was one of a handful of Liverpool players to get a shot on target against Wolves on January 7th. Gakpo is available at 4/9 to match that output today.
Player Goals and Assists
With three goals in his last five appearances in all competitions for Wolves, Daniel Podence has been adding end product to his neat approach play in recent weeks. If the 27-year-old starts today, he could be a decent option at 7/2 to net anytime again.
Elsewhere, Hwang Hee-Chan looks an interesting option in the same market at 10/3. The 26-year-old proved a real handful for Liverpool when he came off the bench to score at Anfield earlier this month and South Korean could trouble the same defence in today’s replay.
With Darwin Nunez’s struggling for fitness and Cody Gakpo still finding his feet, Mohamed Salah will shoulder a huge amount of goal-scoring responsibility for Liverpool this evening.
The Egyptian has three previous career goals against Wanderers, the most recent of which was netted in controversial circumstances against Wolves in the FA Cup on January 7th.
Interestingly, ten of Salah’s 16 goals on all competitions this season have been registered on the road for Liverpool and the 30-year-old is generously priced at 6/4 to rattle the net anytime again today.
Wolves only enjoyed 35.8% possession at Anfield earlier this month and Wanderers will expect to see far less of the ball than their Liverpudlian opponents again today.
With 46, Ruben Neves played more passes than any of his teammates on Merseyside, however, the 25-year-old is priced at 1/9 to play 50 or more of them today, which shows how hard it is to pick out value in this market.
It probably makes more sense to stick with red-clad options for your bet builder here.
Liverpool routinely control 60% or more of the ball in their fixtures and Jurgen Klopp will expect his troops to be in command in terms of possession again this evening.
Liverpool’s fullbacks tend to see plenty of action in Klopp’s system, and Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andrew Robertson played 132 passes between them against Wolves in the first week of January.
Konstantinos Tsimikas could fill in for Robertson at left back today and he could be of interest to beat a modest 50+ passes target at 4/9. On the opposite side, Trent Alexander-Arnold is 7/5 to pass his way past the 70-mark. The 24-year-old has completed that task in four of his last six starts.
Tough-tackling midfielder Ruben Neves (11/4) has already collected eight bookings in all competitions for Wolves this season and two of those were picked up since Julen Lopetegui’s appointment.
Nelson Semedo (6/1) has an awkward moment or two in his locker and his defensive acumen should be tested by a rapid Liverpool frontline later on. Impetuous 21-year-old Nathan Collins (5/1) should also be on your radar. Like Semedo, Collins will have an abundance of pace and trickery to combat at Molineux.
Equipped with excellent close control, but a light frame, Harvey Elliott is a bit of a magnet for fouls in midfield (1.65 p/90) and the more robust Ruben Neves could land a few hefty challenges on the youngster today.
Likewise, the waif-like Fabio Carvalho could be knocked about by his compatriot Nelson Semedo. Cody Gakpo has already come in for some interesting treatment following his arrival from the Eredivisie and Nathan Collins will be keen to put the squeeze on the Dutch attacker this evening.
Match-Ups to watch
Ruben Neves vs Harvey Elliott
Nelson Semedo vs Fabio Carvalho
Nathan Collins vs Cody Gakpo
Trent Alexander-Arnold (4/1) skippered Liverpool at Brighton on Saturday, though he had a miserable time and was booked during the Reds’ convincing loss to the Seagulls. The 24-year-old just hasn’t looked himself this season and Wolves are almost certain to target him today.
Centre-half Joe Gomez (11/4) has looked just as uncertain when called upon and he’s joint-favourite in the bookmakers’ card markets for good reason this evening.
Fabinho (7/2) ranks second at Liverpool for fouls committed per 90 in the Premier League this term and the Brazilian could be drawn into skirmishes by a combative Wolves midfield later on.
Hwang Hee-Chan’s running power and incessant work rate could really rattle Alexander-Arnold’s cage down Wanderers’ left flank today, while the experienced and battle-hardened Raul Jimenez could unsettle Joe Gomez more centrally.
Both Hwang (1.49) and Jimenez (14.3) are adept at drawing fouls and that in turn makes their markers strong card candidates at Molineux. Elsewhere, Matheus Nunes should be full of energy in midfield against one of his suitors and the Liverpool transfer target could cajole Fabinho into making a tasty tackle or two.
Match-Ups to watch
Trent Alexander-Arnold vs Hwang Hee-Chan
Fabinho vs Matheus Nunes
Joe Gomez vs Raul Jimenez