As it happened: Liverpool remain top at Christmas by seeing off Wolves
Photo by Simon Stacpoole/Offside/Getty Images

As it happened: Liverpool remain top at Christmas by seeing off Wolves

Matchday live text commentary blog from Molineux as Wolves face Liverpool in the Premier League, Oliver Miller reports

oliver-miller
Oliver Miller
Sign off.
So that's all from Molineux. There will plenty of post match content to get your teeth into over the coming days across VAVEL UK. The festive football carries on apace from here, so until the next time...good evening.
Full Time Analysis
An important win for Liverpool against a side with a reputation of troubling the bigger teams of the league. They were never really under too much pressure, it was a fairly routine victory with little need to overly exert. 

Both goals came from set-pieces and the two goalscorers were fitting; Van Dijk and Salah were Liverpool's standout performers along with Henderson who dictated play simply. Their sloppiness that came to a climax towards the end of the first half disappeared in the second half and the visitors comfortably saw out their win.

Wolves were not at their opponents level. They were not urgent enough to unsettle Liverpool. The hosts' best chances came from Liverpool errors, and that's telling. It was evident why Wolves have made such a fine start to their time back in the top-flight but on this occasion against this title challenger, they did not have enough.

Full Time: Wolves 0-2 Liverpool
Whistle blown. Game over. A good result for Liverpool who will be Christmas No.1. 
95' Wolves 0-2 Liverpool
Another poor pass by Boly this time gifts the ball to Wijnaldum - I know this is the time of year for offering gifts but this is too much. Wijnaldum drags his shot wide of the post, and that should be that.
93' Wolves 0-2 Liverpool
Salah hasn't stopped all night. He has chased, harried and tested the Wolves defence on numerous occasions. A slack back-pass by Boly almost allowed him in again, but the Premier League's leading goalscorer couldn't quite beat Patricio to the ball.
90' Wolves 0-2 Liverpool
Five (yes, 5!!??) minutes of added time. Not sure where they have come from.
89' Wolves 0-2 Liverpool
Good ball into the area by Vinagre from the right. It is through the corridor of uncertainty; Alisson doesn't come out, no Wolves strikers attack it but Robertson takes his eye off the ball at the back post as it comes to him. Gibbs-White collects and shoots into the side-netting.
86' Liverpool Substitution
Mane is being replaced by Clyne who made his first Premier League start of the season against Manchester United last time out and played very well. He was unlucky not to start this evening.
84' Wolves 0-2 Liverpool
Wolves have barely had a sniff in this second half. Salah cruises into the box again to latch on to a through ball from Mane, but Patricio is out to smother the danger.
82' Wolves 0-2 Liverpool
This game has been a decent watch but there has been so much sloppy play, from both sides. It's as if the ball is heavier than what the players are used to, it keeps getting stuck under their feet and bounces in the wrong direction.
81' Wolves Substitution
Jonny is off, Vinagre is on - a straight swap.
78' Wolves 0-2 Liverpool
From one end to the other. Neves, again opting to shoot from far out, sees his attempt blocked before Liverpool counter. Quick one-touch passing progresses the visitors up the pitch, Salah takes a touch in the area close to the byline, hints at shooting but Coady comes across to take the ball out for a corner. 
76' Liverpool Substitution
Wijnaldum is coming on to replace Firmino. It'll most likely become a 4-4-2 now for Liverpool.
71' Wolves 0-2 Liverpool
Wolves chance! Saiss pokes a shot straight at Alisson following a poor Liverpool clearance.
67' Goal! Wolves 0-2 Liverpool (Van Dijk)
Game, set and match, you feel. Another set-piece! The delivery is cleared as far as Salah, who clips in a perfect cross for 'Big VVD' to cushion the ball beyond Patricio from six yards! It was a centre-forwards finish from the centre-back. His first league goal for Liverpool, and quite probably three points for them too.
67' Wolves 0-1 Liverpool
Liverpool spring out on the counter, and Salah works his magic to evade two Wolves challenges to find Mane, who in turn passes it to Lallana, who is smothered by gold shirts before he can finish. Good defending by the hosts.
64' Wolves Substitutions
Double change; Moutinho off for Gibbs-White whilst Cavaliero replaces Traore.
60' Wolves 0-1 Liverpool
Wolves must not be too gung-ho but Jimenez and Traore need to start pressing Van Dijk and Lovren more when they are passing it around in front of Alisson. As seen in the first half, their is an element of sloppiness in Liverpool's play this evening, increasing the pressure and tempo represents Wolves best opportunity of getting something.
58' Liverpool Substitution
Keita limps off with the Liverpool physios, from my vantage point it appears to be a hamstring issue. Lallana is off the bench to replace him.
55' Wolves 0-1 Liverpool
Liverpool are continuously playing the ball around their defensive area in an attempt to encourage Wolves on to them with the aim of spaces developing beyond the first line of press. They are not committing whole-heartedly yet, the wing-backs are closer to the back-three than Moutinho and co. further up the pitch.
53' Wolves 0-1 Liverpool
Wolves under pressure! Salah sneaks in behind the Wolves defence, Patricio comes out to punch it away...only for the ball to ping back off a Wolves defender, but Salah doesn't realise in time. Phew. 
48' Wolves 0-1 Liverpool
Another Liverpool set-piece brings about a goalscoring chance. A well-worked carefully thought-out corner-kick is pulled back to the edge of the Wolves area. Salah slices it over, but the initiative by the visitors was good.
47' Wolves 0-1 Liverpool
Liverpool must eradicate this sloppiness, is is that which is giving Wolves their chances. The rain has relented slightly so that might clear their minds.
45' Kickoff
We are back underway at Molineux following a small glass of mulled wine and a stollen slice. That's the case for us in the stands anyway, not sure about the players.
Half Time Analysis
Liverpool's goal came following a series of Wolves half chances. Another set-piece success for Klopp's men ended with Salah's fine touch beyond Patricio - that's now 10 goals scored from set plays in the league this season, the joint highest with Tottenham. Following the goal, Wolves saw more of the ball and searched for an equaliser. Gaps began to show amongst both sides and there are definitely signs that more goals will come in the second half, which will be here in about 15 minutes.
Half Time Wolves 0-1 Liverpool
Liverpool were hanging on at the end of that half. A goal up but they need to tighten up. 0-1 at the break.
45' Wolves 0-1 Liverpool
There will be two stoppage time minutes added on at the end of the first half.
43' Wolves 0-1 Liverpool
Two Wolves chances in the space of one minute both coming from sloppy Liverpool play. 

Firstly, Doherty races in from the right, completes a tidy one-two with Moutinho but, instead of shooting himself, tees up Jimenez, who cuts inside to allow a Liverpool defender to intervene. A first-time shot would have been ideal.

Then a loose Keita pass allows Dohery in again. But his shot is dealt with well by Alisson at his near post. Half-time will come just at the right time for Klopp and his men.

40' Wolves 0-1 Liverpool
It doesn't appear to be the best conditions for Alisson to attempt a Cruyff-turn under pressure...
38' Wolves 0-1 Liverpool
A bout of pinball in the Liverpool area leads to the ball falling to Neves outside the box. The crowd urges him to shoot, he obliges (it doesn't take much)...but it's over the crossbar.
35' Wolves 0-1 Liverpool
The hosts have seen more of the ball in the past five minutes or so, but there has been little penetration with their play. Booming balls and crossfield passes but no breaches of the Liverpool defence.
34' Wolves 0-1 Liverpool
Wolves hearts were in mouths for a second then. Coady in central defence rushes to the ball only to carry on running past it and allowing Mane to pick it up and charge at goal. Luckily Patricio was quick of his line to clear the danger. We'll put that down to the rain, hey?
28' Wolves 0-1 Liverpool
Liverpool are definitely getting the upper-hand at the moment. The midfield are not allowing Wolves any time on the ball and are winning the ball back high up the pitch and finding gaps. Salah threads the ball through to Mane, but his run was a little too eager and the offside flag is raised.
24' Wolves 0-1 Liverpool
This is a wide pitch at Molineux and Liverpool are beginning to move the ball around much more confidently now. Milner cuts in from the right on his weaker foot and tries an attempt from far out, but it goes straight into the arms of Patricio. Given the slick surface, shots from distance may become more prevalent as the game progresses.
20' Wolves 0-1 Liverpool
That was a much-needed goal for the visitors. Having weathered the early Wolves storm, it was the kind of break that Liverpool needed. Wolves now face the age-old, early-gameplan-out-the-window problem familiar to many who have hosted the Big Six recently. Suspect they'll start going for it, though.
19' Goal! Wolves 0-1 Liverpool (Salah)
From the freekick, Liverpool score. A quick switch from left to right presents Fabinho with the ball on the right of the Wolves area. His precise ball inwards is met by Salah who applies a fine touch - part-prod, part-flick - and sends the ball beyond Patricio. Liverpool have the lead.
18' Wolves 0-0 Liverpool
Doherty was a little naughty there: he stood right in front of Keita and also stood on his foot with some force. That should have been a yellow card. Anyway freekick on the left side for Liverpool.
16' Wolves 0-0 Liverpool
Liverpool are yet to really get beyond the Wolves backline thus far. Firmino has shown quick feet on a couple of occasions but the midfield are finding it hard to feed the front three, and that is credit to Saiss and Neves in particular.
14' Wolves 0-0 Liverpool
Another Wolves chance! This time Saiss forces a save from Alisson who can only parry into the area before his defence clear properly. It was great work by Doherty to create that chance on the far side, his control was lovely. 
10' Wolves 0-0 Liverpool
Van Dijk does well again to put off Traore as he shoots across Alisson's goal. Wolves are notoriously a good attacking team and have already had two chances, they will be hoping for a slip from this Liverpool defence on the slick turf to truly capitalise though.
8' Wolves 0-0 Liverpool
There is a lot of 'working each other out' going on at the moment. Liverpool are passing, prodding and probing; the front three have already shown their willingness to interchange positions. Wolves, when they win back possession, are calmly constructing nice buildup play.
4' Wolves 0-0 Liverpool
...but he was gifted a great chance there by Liverpool. Alisson passes to Fabinho who is under no pressure whatsoever but plays the ball square and straight into the path of Traore who runs in on goal. Luckily Van Dijk followed him and put enough pressure on him to effect his shot which went narrowly wide of the near post. A let off for Liverpool there, no doubt.
2' Wolves 0-0 Liverpool
Both teams starting at a quick tempo, as expected. Adama Traore is playing right through the middle for Wolves, his first two touches haven't been great.
Kickoff
We are ready to go in the teeming rain of the west midlands, Wolves are kicking from right to left in their golden strip. Liverpool are all in red and will get the match underway.
Five mins to kickoff
We've got impressive lasers and strobes, spectacular fireworks going off and a heavy house DJ mix... oh, and also the players in the tunnel. This evenings referee Craig Pawson is about to lead the two sides out for what should be a feast of attacking football at Molineux.
Team News
Anyhow, here's confirmation of the starting lineups...

Wolves: Patricio, Otto, Boly, Coady, Bennett, Doherty, Saiss, Neves, Moutinho, Adama, Raul.

Substitutes: Ruddy, Cavaleiro, Costa, Gibbs-White, Vinagre, Dendoncker, Bonatini.

Liverpool: Alisson, Milner, Lovren, Van Dijk, Robertson, Henderson, Fabinho, Keita, Mane, Salah, Firmino.

Substitutes: Mignolet, Clyne, Wijnaldum, Sturridge, Lallana, Shaqiri, Origi.

Good Evening...
...and welcome to Molineux where Wolves take on Liverpool on this Friday night to properly kickoff the festive football. There is even going to be a live DJ set prior to kickoff this evening, such is the party atmosphere around the Black Country, but I'm pretty certain that they will be playing something a little more upbeat than White Christmas...we'll found out soon.
Pre-match Stats
Wolves have beaten Liverpool in two of the last five meetings, with both of those wins coming at Anfield - including in the FA Cup fourth round two seasons ago. However, their last win against the Reds at Molineux was on 29 August 1981. Liverpool, then reigning European champions, gave debuts to Mark Lawrenson and Bruce Grobbelaar in that game, which they lost 1-0.

Wolves have lost 11 successive top-flight games played on a Friday. Their last win on a Friday came against Sunderland in April 1965.

Wolves will be the 27th different side Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has faced in the Premier League - he has beaten all previous 26 opponents at least once.

Team News
Wolves winger Diogo Jota was forced off against Bournemouth with a hamstring problem and that injury will keep him out of this match. There are, though, no other new injury concerns for Nuno.

Liverpool right back Trent Alexander-Arnold is again set to miss out with a sprained ankle but he should return over the busy festive period. James Milner, who sat out Sunday's victory over Man Utd because of a minor muscle problem, is expected to be available.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp was very complimentary of Wolves when he spoke to reporters. The German stated:

"What they did last year in the Championship, I am not sure that happened too often. Very often you go up with this kind of old-school British football - it's a tough league and it makes sense to do it - [but] the only two teams [in] the last few years that did it differently were Huddersfield and now Wolves, so that's unbelievable."

"Then they brought in players again and needed a bit of time so that everything fits. Now they are really strong again, they won the last three; we have to go there and be at our best again."

Managers' Words
Wolves head coach Nuno Espirito Santo spoke to the media previewing Friday's match. The Portuguese gaffer said:

"It [Wolves' improved form of late] makes you proud that when you have a bad moment and you get out of it, the way we did it, credit to the players - we solved it. It doesn't mean it can't happen again, but we are ready."

"They [Liverpool] are top of the league, it says we're going to face one of the best teams in Europe. We look forward to it."

The hosts now have 25 points, already as many as they reached during the entirety of their previous season in the top flight in 2011/12. Their record against the so-called big six this season has also been excellent. The only defeat in five such games came at home against Tottenham and they have beaten Chelsea while taking a point off both Manchester clubs and Arsenal.
Although Wolves do present a challenge to Liverpool if this match was being played eight weeks ago maybe the feeling going into it would be slightly different. Then Liverpool's new approach was not entirely convincing and Wolves had only lost once in their first eight matches of the season. Since then Wolves have been on a six match winless run, although there are now signs that they may be returning to form having won their last three. Wolves, seemingly, perform in blocks.
Liverpool have excelled in the past two and a half weeks, showing tremendous character to comeback against Burnley in testing conditions, resilience to beat Napoli to a Champions League knockout round spot and comprehensively beating Bournemouth and Manchester United. This has led to Klopp's side's title credentials being taken more seriously, finishing this match still top will only enhance them further.
Preview
This will be the first of two trips that Liverpool make to Wolves in the space of two and a half weeks. Whilst the FA Cup third round tie on January 7 will see many changes to both sides, this Premier League encounter promises to be an attractive match under the lights with the visitors knowing that a win will leave them in top spot on Christmas Day. 
Top Stat!
If Liverpool win they are guaranteed to be top of the table on Christmas Day. Each of the last four sides to lead the PL on 25 December have gone on to win the title, though Liverpool themselves were the last side to fail to do so in 2013/14.
Welcome!
Hello and welcome to VAVEL UK's live text coverage of the Premier League match between Wolverhampton Wanderers and Liverpool from Molineux. I'm Oliver Miller and I'll be keeping you updated with the latest from the east midlands as Jurgen Klopp's side aim to be No.1 at Christmas. It is an 8.00pm kick-off on Friday and you can bookmark this page to stay up to date with the latest updates and team news as the match approaches.
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