Liverpool vs Wolverhampton ;Liverpool can stretch their lead at the top of the Premier League to four points by beating Wolverhampton Wanderers at Molineux on Friday night.
The Reds are favourites with oddsmakers despite Wolves enjoying a three-match winning streak. It’s a run good enough to put the west Midlands side a point adrift of Manchester United and a place in the top six.
Liverpool are dealing with defensive injuries, with Joe Gomez, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Joel Matip all set to miss out.
Liverpool have hit peak form in recent matches. They put four past Bournemouth away from home on December 8, before beating bitter rivals Manchester United 3-1 at Anfield on Sunday.
Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane have been among the goals, and their pace is sure to stretch Wolves’ back three. It will be important for wing-backs such as Matt Doherty to double up with centre-backs in wide areas.
Liverpool’s defence will need a reshuffle of personnel amid the injuries. The London Evening Standard‘s Tom Doyle reported utility midfielder James Milner is a doubt while Gomez and Matip will miss out.
Meanwhile, manager Jurgen Klopp has indicated right-back Alexander-Arnold won’t be fit:
Gomez and Matip missing out means Dejan Lovren will again partner Virgil van Dijk at the heart of the Liverpool defence.
Van Dijk has gone from strength to strength this season and was irrepressible against United.
The Dutchman will face a different challenge this week in the form of Raul Jimenez. The Mexico international, on loan from Benfica, has been the creative and goalscoring fulcrum for the hosts:
Support from Wolves manager Nuno Espirito Santo has been credited with helping revive the 27-year-old’s career:
Jimenez has been deciding matches in the final third but may struggle to undermine the stingiest defence in England’s top flight. The Reds have shipped a mere seven goals through 17 matches.
If Van Dijk continues to hold things together at the back, Liverpool’s firepower will eventually prove decisive.
What will concern Klopp and the league leaders is Wolves’ record against the division’s big boys this season. They drew with Manchester City and beat Chelsea at home, while drawing away fixtures against Manchester United and Arsenal.
Wolves can keep this close, but Liverpool have the quality at both ends to bank three more priceless points in the title race.