If this ends up being an unbeaten Premier League season for Liverpool, this one may be called “The Alisson Game.”
Liverpool’s star goalkeeper kept the Reds quest for legendary status alive long enoiugh for Roberto Firmino to supply the winner in a 2-1 defeat of Wolves at the Molineux on Thursday.
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Jordan Henderson might like the game’s title role, too, scoring a goal and assisting the 84th minute winner.
Raul Jimenez leveled the score after halftime for Wolves, who stay seventh with 34 points.
Liverpool increases its table lead to 16 points with a match-in-hand on the field.
Three things we learned
1. Alisson’s smart goalkeeping keeps dream alive: Nuno Espirito Santo‘s men have gone behind in eight matches this season, claiming a win in three of them. That would’ve been four if Alisson Becker wasn’t between the sticks for Liverpool. The Brazilian was calm at the back despite being put in several predicaments, his positioning exquisite with plenty of high claims and parries.
2. Henderson has himself a day: Liverpool’s favorite Mackem brings plenty of grit to the side, and his crunching Traore at least thrice in the first 21 minutes shows his tactical duty. But don’t let that take away from his nose for goal. Henderson made sure to back up his motivational “business as usual” post-match interview after beating Manchester United by thundering into the mix to head a Trent Alexander-Arnold corner home after just eight minutes at the Molineux. His alert assist after Salah was dispossessed was plenty pretty, too.
IT HAD TO BE BOBBY 🤩
Liverpool find a way back into the lead! 🔴 pic.twitter.com/0XbF2ApZVr
— NBC Sports Soccer (@NBCSportsSoccer) January 23, 2020
3. Traore puts Reds off balance: As stated above, Jurgen Klopp clearly had a plan for handling Traore when he was in the center of the park. The winger, however, was a much bigger ask for Andy Robertson out wide. Traore blazed down the left to deliver an assist after Robertson’s failed challenge on Jimenez, then won a free kick off Robertson minutes later (Alisson saved the danger).
Man of the Match: Traore. Perfect on contested dribbles and nearly so on 50-50 challenges. A proper menace.
Henderson opened the score when he rose at the near post to head Alexander-Arnold’s cross off Rui Patricio’s hand and into the side netting.
Two of the game’s more lethal finishers were stymied in tight in the 17th and 18th minutes, with Virgil Van Dijk defying Raul Jimenez and Wolves smothered a Mohamed Salah drive.
Sadio Mane limped off with an injury, allowing Takumi Minamino to make a Premier League debut, and Van Dijk was slowed by a 50-50 challenge with Adama Traore before halftime.
Salah drove by two Wolves in stioppage time, but is shot deflected into the air and was corraled by Patricio.
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The Egyptian picked up where he left off in the 47th, stripping Traore and forcing a save out of Patricio.
Salah raced back upfield moments later to block a Pedro Neto shot after Wolves led a promising charge.
Wolves made it 1-1 with a bit of lightning down the right, as Traore raced onto a through ball and crossed for Jimenez to head past Alisson Becker.
Traore then won a free kick and a yellow card for a poor sliding challenge on Traore, but Wolves couldn’t deliver a second goal in five minutes.
Liverpool answered, Firmino pumping a shot into the keeper despite a half-emptty net at the hour mark.
Alisson then made a fine save on a Traore drive in the 65th, blocking a Jimenez shot two minutes later.
That’s not to say the Reds weren’t busy, and Rui Patricio made a fine low save on Firmino in the 82nd minute.
Firmino got his goal in a flash, taking a pass frorm an alert Henderson and burying a shot past Patricio.
Diogo Jota blew a point blank chance to make it 2-2 in the second minute of stoppage after Traore and Jimenez set him atop the six.Follow @NicholasMendola