Menu Close

Wolves push Liverpool all the way but Firmino wins it for the Reds – report

Wolves 1 (Jimenez 51) Liverpool 2 (Henderson 8, Firmino 86).

Wolves pushed Liverpool all the way but were ultimately undone by the champions-elect at an electric Molineux.

Jordan Henderson headed the Reds into an eighth-minute lead but Wolves levelled through another header, from Raul Jimenez in the 51st minute – the first goal Liverpool have conceded in more than 12 hours – to signal their best spell of the game.

But Roberto Firmino broke Wolves’ hearts with the winner four minutes from time as Liverpool hit them on the break to extend their lead to 16 points at the top of the Premier League.

Although Wolves were a real thorn in their side, Jurgen Klopp’s side deserved their 14th straight win, forcing Rui Patricio into two superb saves to deny Firmino and Mo Salah.

Wolves’ best chance fell to substitute Diogo Jota in time added on, but he could only scoop the ball over the bar from point-blank range.

Wolves, unchanged for the third successive league game, started with Pedro Neto playing as a number 10, with Jimenez and Adama Traore the two out-and-out forwards, like they played in the second half at Southampton.

But they could no nothing about it as Liverpool took the lead with the first attack with a goal that was simplicity itself.

Trent Alexander Arnold swung in a corner to the near post and captain Jordan Henderson planted a header into the corner of the net.

Wolves should have equalised when Matt Doherty crept around the back as Liverpool’s defence pushed up for offside when Pedro Neto crossed from Joao Moutinho’s short free kick, but his free header from six yards out flew wide. Replays showed he had stayed onside.

Liverpool broke with deadly intent and it took the combined attempts of Romain Saiss, Leander Dendoncker, Conor Coady and goalkeeper Rui Patricio sliding in to block as Mo Salah swivelled and shot after he turned back into space.

There was a scare for Wolves when Ruben Neves went down, signalling worryingly after a collision with Sadio Mane, who came in on his blind side.

But thankfully for Nuno’s side, after lengthy treatment, the midfielder, who had had an excellent start to the game, soon returned to the fray.

Liverpool were forced into a change in the 33rd minute when Mane went off injured to be replaced by Takumi Minamino, who was making his Premier League debut.

Crosses in quick succession arrowed into the Liverpool box from first Traore from the right then the busy Neto from the left, but they were just as quickly cleared as Wolves struggled to get numbers into the penalty area quickly enough.

Wolves had a half chance to level before the break when a deep cross found Jimenez, who had pulled away from his man at the far post in space.

But after cutting inside, the Mexico international could only drag a low right-footed shot wide of Alisson’s near post.

Liverpool might have held the advantage, but Wolves were very much in the contest as referee Michael Oliver’s whistle sounded for half-time.

Wolves almost the worst start to the second half as Traore, trying to start an attack just outside his own box, presented the ball straight to Salah, who took a touch before belting it goalwards, only for Patricio to react brilliantly, diving to his left to parry for a corner.

Wolves responded by crafting a superbly worked equaliser to Jimenez started and finished it, threading Traore through on the right to beat Andy Robertson and chisel out a delicious cross to the Mexico international, who guided a header beynd Alisson and into the far corner for his 20th goal of the season in all competitions.

Traore put Jimenez through again soon afterwards but this time, Alisson came to the rescue, standing up well to block as the striker tried to slot it through him.

Following the equaliser, Wolves, backed by a raucous Molineux crowd, enjoyed their best spell of the game.

But they had to be extremely wary of Liverpool’s danger on the counter, as they proved.

Substitute Minamino’s shot was blocked then Firmino’s firm drive was well held by Patricio, who had an excellent game.

The Wolves ‘keeper then did superbly to deny Firmino when he was clean through, sticking out his left leg to divert his shot wide.

But the Portugal number one was powerless to stop Firmino’s next chance. Salah dribbled, trying to wriggle through for a shooting opening, the ball diverted behind him for Henderson, who found Firmino with a short through ball and the Brazilian slammed it into the top corner, left-footed.

Wolves still had the chance to equalise in the second of the four minutes of time added on, but Jota, falling backwards, could only scoop the ball high over the bar from three yards after Jimenez teed him up after controlling Traore’s cross to the far post.

Wolves (3-4-3): Patricio; Dendoncker, Coady (c), Saiss; Doherty, Neves, Moutinho (Gibbs-White 87), Jonny; Traore, Jimenez, Neto (Jota 77).

Subs not used: Ruddy, Boly, Giles, Kilman, Ashley-Seal.

Liverpool (4-3-3): Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Van Dijk, Gomez, Robertson; Oxlade-Chamberlain (Fabinho 70), Wijnaldum, Henderson; Salah (Origi 85), Firmino, Mane (Minamino 33).

Subs not used: Adrian, Matip, Jones, Williams.

Referee: Michael Oliver.

Attendance: 31,746.