Gary O’Neil: “It’s going to be a tough test,” said the Wolves manager during his pre-match press conference. “We’ve got a good game plan in place that allows us to be aggressive when we’re ready to, allows us to have good spells with the ball, and I’m looking forward to seeing what the boys can produce.
“We’re creating a lot of chances. My job is to understand exactly what’s going on, how and why. Data and numbers wise, we’re creating a lot of good opportunities and arriving in good areas. There’s still a lot we need to improve to get it to where I think it should be.”
Jurgen Klopp: ““I think definitely in the future he has the potential to play as a No.6,” said Liverpool’s manager when asked about his plans for new signing Ryan Gravenberch. “The only thing about Alexis Mac Allister – he can play the position – is, is he a classical 6 how you would draw it? Probably not. But the position in football has changed over the years.
“He’s so skilled, I don’t like to talk about the things he is not good at yet. They all have skills and yes they have to improve and he knows that, and he tries but the natural stuff is there and all the other stuff takes time and that is how it is. He is an 8, he can play as a 10, definitely and yes, in time, he can play as a 6. Like Curtis [Jones] could play as a 6, they just have to get used to the different spaces and responsibilities.”
Those teams: Brought in from Strasbourg on Deadline Day, Jeanricner Bellegarde comes straight into the Wolves midfield, while their other last-minute signing Tommy Doyle starts on the bench. Hwang Hee-chan starts up front for Wolves in place of Fabio Silva, who drops to the bench. Nelson Semedo makes his 100th Premier League appearance for Wolves.
Jurgen Klopp makes three changes to the side that swatted Aston Villa aside last time out, with Joe Gomez coming in at right-back in place of Trent Alexander-Arnold. A 20-year-old from Warrington who spent the second half of last season on loan at Bristol Rovers, Jarell Quansah starts in the heart of Liverpool’s defence in the absence of Virgil van Dijk. He’ll play his first Premier League game alongside Joel Matip, while Ibrahima Konate is on the bench.
Wolves: Jose Sa, Nelson Semedo, Dawson, Kilman, Ait Nouri, Bellegarde, Lemina, Joao Gomes, Pedro Neto, Matheus Cunha, Hwang.
Subs: Doherty, Traore, Silva, Hugo Bueno, Kalajdzic, Doyle, Sarabia, Gomes, Bentley.
Liverpool: Alisson, Gomez, Quansah, Matip, Robertson, Szoboszlai, Mac Allister, Jones, Salah, Gakpo, Jota.
Subs: Endo, Konate, Diaz, Nunez, Elliott, Tsimikas, Gravenberch, Bajcetic, Kelleher.
Referee: Michael Oliver (Northumberland)
Early team news
Virgil van Dijk misses out today as he serves the second match of of the two-game ban he picked up for his dismissal in the game against Newcastle. Trent Alexander-Arnold and Thiago Alcantara also miss out through injury, while Darwin Nunez is a slight doubt. Midfielder Ryan Gravenberch could make his debut after arriving from Bayern Munich just before the international break.
Alisson, Alexis Mac Allister and Luis Diaz were all on international duty in South America over the international break and only returned to Merseyside yesterday, as their manager was quick to remind reporters yesterday. Ibrahima Konate has recovered from a back injury and should start.
Wolves midfielder Joe Hodge remains sidelined with a knee injury, but Tommy Doyle could feature after arriving on a season-long loan (with an option to buy) from Manchester City on Deadline Day. The midfielder has recorvered from a knee injury but is not yet fully match fit.
Matheus Cunha was on international duty with Brazil over the international break and played in thewir 5-1 World Cup qualifier win over Bolivia at the Mangueirao Stadium in Belem. Hwang Hee-chan had less far to travel home, as South Korea’s friendly against Saudi Arabia was played at St James’ Park in Newcastle.
Jürgen Klopp loves a moan about Saturday lunchtime kick-offs and considering his team failed to win any of the six games they had to play in that particular slot last season, it’s not difficult to see why.
The Liverpool manager was at it again yesterday, showing his less pleasant side as he got stuck into a journalist for asking a perfectly reasonable question about Liverpool’s strange early afternoon vicissitudes ahead of today’s potentially tricky assignment with Wolverhampton Wanderers at Molineux.
Liverpool go into this game on the back of three consecutive wins, while their hosts have only won one of their four Premier League matches under Gary O’Neil to date. The most recent of their three defeats was a 3-2 reverse at Crystal Palace just before the international break. Kick-off in the Black Country is at 12.30pm BST but stay tuned in the meantime for team news and build-up.