Liverpool have chance to prove how far they've come with trip to Wolves

Saturday, 4 February 2023 was a really low day to be a Liverpool fan.

Despite winning at Molineux towards the end of January in an FA Cup replay, the Reds were handed a beating in their Premier League encounter. 

One of the worst performances and defeats during Jurgen Klopp’s reign, it was one of those games that made you wonder what was to come next. 

When the Premier League resumes after the international break, the Reds have a chance to banish another of last season's ghosts, as they take on a struggling Wolves side. 

Liverpool have surpassed expectations so far this campaign after picking up 10 points from a possible 12, in what appeared a tough opening four games. 

The draw at Chelsea has been met with three wins on the spin – including that dramatic turnaround at Newcastle with 10 men. Last time out against Aston Villa, Liverpool looked confident and assured, even without captain Virgil van Dijk.

With their early Saturday kickoff after the international break, Liverpool could even briefly move to the top of the tree with three points in the Midlands – a far cry from their circumstances in February.

Klopp will name a completely new midfield from the trio of Stefan Bajcetic, Thiago Alcantara and Naby Keita who all started that terrible loss. 

The game was lost after 12 minutes as a Joel Matip own goal and Craig Dawson goal gave Wolves a 2-0 lead. That Liverpool side weren’t capable of such comebacks and Ruben Neves’ goal in the second half proved that. 

Alisson Becker’s comments after the game, in which he admitted the Reds were low on confidence and conceding 'silly goals', were worrying. No one seemed to know why Liverpool were in free fall.

Ultimately, that terrible run of mid-season form that also included dismal defeats to Brentford, Brighton and Bournemouth, consigned Liverpool to a fifth-placed finish and no Champions League football. 

A midfield overhaul has taken place in the summer transfer window and the Reds now look a team reborn. Klopp, who has dubbed this 'Liverpool Reloaded' is excited to lead the charge and the supporters can’t wait to see how it unfolds. There is real reason for optimism. 

Dominik Szoboszlai, Alexis Mac Allister and even possibly Ryan Gravenberch will take to the field a week on Saturday to show how much change has taken place at Liverpool since February – and for the better. 

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, August 19, 2023: Liverpool's Dominik Szoboszlai during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and AFC Bournemouth at Anfield. Liverpool won 3-1. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The Reds were simply outfought last season in this fixture and that is something you do not associate with a Klopp side. The game was a complete calamity. 

On paper, the midfield had plenty of talent in it. But, physically, they were easily overrun by the likes of Neves, Mario Lemina and Matheus Nunes.

Cody Gakpo was thrown in at the deep end and was quickly written off as a poor signing. Little did the critics know he’d turn out to be a key player for Liverpool. 

With no Van Dijk available, it was left to Matip and Joe Gomez to shut out the Wolves attack. They failed miserably. 

Fast forward seven months and the two may find themselves on the Molineux pitch together again. It remains unclear as to whether Van Dijk’s suspension will be extended and Ibrahima Konate is currently injured.

Gomez in particular was brilliant last time out in the 3-0 victory over Unai Emery’s Aston Villa and he will be looking to carry that form on. The trip to Wolves offers a chance for redemption for both him and Matip.

The game also comes as an opportunity for Darwin Nuñez to carry on his good form after being handed his first start of the campaign last Sunday at Anfield. His double at Newcastle will go down as one of the key moments of the season once we’re all done in May. 

Liverpool are now on a run of 15 unbeaten, and that bleak February result seems like a distant memory. When next Saturday rolls around, Klopp will want to make sure the aftertaste of that defeat is completely gone as he looks to guide his new-look Liverpool side back to success. 

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