Jurgen Klopp finds new diamond in the rough as Liverpool beat Wolves
Jurgen Klopp insists Liverpool have to become difficult to beat again
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Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp may have uncovered a gem with the ability to have a serious impact in the Premier League by tweaking with his Reds squad for Tuesday’s scrappy win over Wolves in the FA Cup. The Merseyside giants ensured their progression in the tournament thanks to a long-range goal from Harvey Elliott, who managed to set up a fourth-round tie against Brighton with his early strike to claim the spoils for the visitors.
Express Sport takes a look at four of the biggest talking points from tonight’s game at Molineux…
Bajcetic steals the show
Stefan Bajcetic was handed a rare start in midfield for Liverpool and certainly did his manager proud with a highly impressive showing in the engine room. The 18-year-old has been in and around the squad in recent weeks and scored his first Premier League goal in December but was able to put down a huge marker ahead of Saturday’s game against Chelsea with his age-defying performance against Wolves.
The young Spaniard looked more than comfortable on the ball, stretching Wolves with his exquisite range of passing, while he was also on hand to break down opposition attacks with his presence in front of the back four. It remains to be seen whether or not Bajcetic will be able to force himself into weekly contention for Premier League starts in the not-too-distant future, but it should only be a matter of time if he keeps performing at the level he has done in recent outings.
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Elliott’s moment of magic
Elliott’s pinpoint finish after just 13 minutes demonstrated that he has what it takes to pop up with real moments of quality, which is something that Liverpool never usually struggle with but they have lacked over the course of this season. The 19-year-old was picked out inside his own half by Thiago Alcantara before surging into the final third by himself and unleashing a deadly strike from range that left Wolves goalkeeper Rui Patricio scrambling at thin air.
Klopp will have been left encouraged by Elliott’s goal and will be hoping for more of the same in the Premier League over the coming weeks, with the Reds having looked flat on too many occasions this campaign in comparison to their usual selves. Elliott could be in line to emerge as a crucial asset for Liverpool if he is able to continue in the same vein, with his ability to create something from nothing able to serve the Merseyside giants well if it can be demonstrated again on a consistent basis.
Gakpo struggles to impress
Liverpool new boy Cody Gakpo was given another chance to shine against Wolves but was again unable to perform at his best after failing to do so in the original tie at Anfield earlier this month. The Dutchman was largely isolated for much of the contest but struggled to make the most of the few chances he did have before he was substituted just after the hour mark, with his near-anonymous performance ensuring that his slow start to life on Merseyside went on.
It will be important for Liverpool to work out how to bring Gakpo into their play to a greater degree in order to unlock his true capabilities, with the 23-year-old by no means a bad player and perfectly capable of making an impact for the Reds between now and the end of the season. Whether or not he will be given the nod to start against Chelsea remains unclear, though, with Liverpool perhaps able to benefit from keeping him on the bench until he gets to grips with his new surroundings and develops a deeper understanding with his team-mates.
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Winning breeds confidence
Liverpool will be delighted to have finally ended their three-match winless streak against Wolves ahead of this weekend’s meeting with Chelsea, which will see two Premier League heavyweights in poor form go up against each other in what could be a season-defining clash at Anfield. The Blues will also go into the fixture off the back of a victory over Crystal Palace on the weekend and Liverpool’s success on Tuesday ensured that both sides will be in winning form on Saturday.
The result will have also given the Reds a much-needed confidence boost, with their self-belief having lacked in recent outings and especially in their heavy defeat at the hands of Brighton in their last Premier League outing. It will be important for Liverpool to get a result against Chelsea to give themselves the best chance of a top-four finish at the end of the season and they will be hoping that Tuesday’s win over Wolves may have just given them the mental platform to do so.
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