Jonny Otto insists Wolves are going to Anfield to end Liverpool’s Premier League title hopes and finish the season on a high.
Wolves are almost the ‘forgotten’ opposition this weekend as the nation gears up for the shootout between the Reds and Manchester City, who are at Brighton, on Sunday.
Second-placed Liverpool must win if they are to have any hope of ending their 29-year wait to be champions and overtaking City, who are a point clear and need to win to retain their crown.
But wing back Jonny has indicated Nuno Espirito Santo’s side are looking to throw a spanner in the works and extend their excellent record of 16 points against top-six opposition this season.
Wolves have beaten Arsenal, Tottenham, Chelsea and Manchester United and drawn against Manchester City, Chelsea, Arsenal and United, plus knocked Liverpool and United out of the FA Cup.
“We know it’s going to be a very difficult game for us,” Jonny told Sky Sports. “Liverpool are a very strong team, they are fighting for the league, they are in the Champions League final and they are at their stadium.
“But it’s going to be difficult for them too. We already know we are finishing seventh, but we are ambitious. We are going there to win.”
Red boss Jurgen Klopp has confirmed Mohamed Salah will be fit to start on Sunday. Jonny admits the Egypt international, who looks set to retain the Premier League Golden Boot, is one of the toughest opponents he has faced this campaign, along with Eden Hazard, Bernardo Silva and, perhaps surprisingly, Daniel Sturridge. But he says there are no special plans for him at Anfield.
“Any player who is very skilful and very fast is difficult to defend against, but all the Liverpool forwards – whether it’s Salah or (Divock) Origi – they are all good players,” said the Spain international.
“When you face a team like that, you have to enjoy the challenge.”
Nuno has a record for improving players and commands the utmost respect at Molineux after leading the club from 15th in the Championship to seventh place in the Premier League within two years.
The Portuguese head coach has been nominated for the Premier League’s Manager of the Year award alongside City’s Pep Guardiola, Klopp and Tottenham’s Mauricio Pochettino, and according to Jonny, he’s a more than worthy candidate.
“He is a manager who is close to his players but who also tells us exactly what he expects from every one of us,” said Jonny.
“He is an ambitious and serious person who tries to get the best possible performances out of us all.
“He is always trying to make sure we are switched on, that’s what we do in training carries onto the pitch during matches, and that we don’t deviate from our identity. The identity of the team is what he cares about most.”
Another manager Jonny has the utmost regard for is Luis Enrique, who handed him his Spain debut in the 4-1 win over Wales in October.
The 49-year-old converted Jonny from the right flank to the left – despite being right-footed – in the 2013-14 season and he hasn’t looked back since.
The former Celta Vigo wing back lists the 49-year-old as one of his biggest influences.
“He is a very special manager with a lot of personality,” said Jonny. “In that year at Celta, he didn’t count on me much at the beginning, but then I became a regular.
“He’s a manager who knows what he wants at every moment. He tries to get the best out of every player and almost always manages it.”