Jurgen Klopp fielded a much-changed side for Liverpool’s FA Cup fourth round clash with Wolves at Anfield.
Liverpool are having a terrible start to the new year, having won only one of their eight games in all competitions, and the poor patch continued as the Reds were forced out of the FA Cup just days after another Cup disappointment at the hands of Southampton.
Loris Karius and Roberto Firmino were the only two players to retain their places following the midweek EFL Cup semi-final bow. Connor Randall’s surprise inclusion was one of nine changes in the team, whereas Philippe Coutinho and Daniel Sturridge were among the subs.
Heading into the Saturday’s clash Liverpool were looking to bounce back from back to back defeats, but motivated Wolves had other ideas on their mind.
Just like opposite number in the dugout, Paul Lambert made plenty of changes as well, with seven new players compared to the Championship match at Norwich last time out. Harry Burgoyne, Kortney Hause, Conor Coady, Lee Evans, George Saville, Andi Weimann and Nouha Dicko were seven new faces in the starting line-up.
The first 45 minutes did not offer a single reason for Jurgen Klopp to put that trademark smile on his face.
The German will have been utterly disappointed with his team’s first-half exploits, similarly to the Anfield crowd which sounded little more than a few boos around the Liverpool home.
It took visitors less than a minute into the game to get in front thanks to Richard Stearman’s first FA Cup goal this season. The Wolves man converted Helder Costa’s free-kick for the earliest goal Reds have conceded on home ground in the last 16 years.
Having secured the early opener, Wolves sat back and waited for a break, which came midway through the first half when in-form Costa burst from his own box into Liverpool’s half and box ultimately. The Wolves man raced through and came close to beating Karius, but his attempt went off target as Costa lost pace at a crucial moment.
Liverpool failed to fire a single shot on target in the first 45 minutes, but the visitors showed little regard for it as they doubled the lead through Andreas Weimann, who added a second shortly before the interval on his first start for the club.
Once again, it was Costa who lead the counter-attack with Benfica loanee racing clear to pick Weimann for an easy go around Karius and in the back of the net.
The home side started the second half with their key man Philippe Coutinho on for Connor Randall in a change of system, which was expected to yield results for Jurgen Klopp’s men.
Three men at the back for Reds and a more pressing-oriented formation allowed Liverpool to get closer to goal. Ten minutes into the second half Firmino pulled the ball back to Albert Moreno in a dangerous area, but the left-back could not get a shot away.
Still, it was a moment Liverpool needed to engage in even fiercer attacks, hoping to get back into the game. Daniel Sturridge was introduced for Firmino, whereas Emre Can replaced Ejaria as Klopp attempted to level up the quality of his team’s performance.
The Reds’ attempts were unpolished however, lacking a sharp finish in the final third for most part. Wolves backed down, locking their defences and neutralizing Liverpool’s attacks well until the final stages of the game, when Klopp’s men finally found their way in the back of the net through Origi.
The Belgium tapped in the ball after a scramble on the far post to put his team back in contention as the crowd helped in lifting the spirits with five minutes left on the clock.
Divock Origi’s first goal in his last ten games was all Liverpool got in the end as Wolves ended up inflicting another blow – the third in a row – for Jurgen Klopp’s men.