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Daily Mirror
Daily Mirror
Nathan Ridley

Jurgen Klopp's comments come back to bite him as Liverpool frailties laid bare

Ahead of this tie, Jurgen Klopp explained how Liverpool ’s vulnerability this season had at least given Alisson the chance to showcase his world-class status.

Talk about words returning to haunt. A rare unconvincing performance from the Brazilian keeper went a long way to make Klopp have to endure his worst case scenario … a draw and a replay. But another crack at the FA Cup holders was the least Wolves deserved after an enterprising display that exposed Liverpool’s continuing frailties.

With an EFL Cup quarter-final this coming Wednesday - a very winnable one against Nottingham Forest - and a Premier League home fixture against fellow strugglers West Ham United on Saturday, there will be no shortage of supporters willing to understand Julen Lopetegui making NINE changes for this match.

And as the Wolves first string has hardly been pulling up any trees this season, it was obviously no bad thing for Lopetegui to seriously mix things up. Klopp, in contrast, fielded what he presumably sees as the strongest Liverpool side available to him.

And that strongest side included £37million signing Cody Gakpo, the Dutch striker who made a very decent impression at Qatar 2022. The 23-year-old did likewise here, striking up a semi-rapport with Andy Robertson, even if his tendency to cut inside on to his right foot was quickly obvious.

And Klopp will certainly expect his number of failed passes - ambitious failed passes, to be fair - to reduce on Gakpo’s next outing. Talking of failed passes, Klopp could not have legislated for the aberration from Alisson that gifted Wolves the lead shortly before the half-hour mark.

Have your say! Who'll win the replay - Liverpool or Wolves? Give us your prediction in the comments section.

Alisson made an uncharacteristic blunder to give Wolves the lead (OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images)

The Brazilian 'keeper had already been slightly errant with his distribution before simply rolling a routine ball - intended for Trent Alexander-Arnold - to the feet of Goncalo Guedes, who almost had no choice but to accept the gift. The error, made by a player whose praises were indeed being sung loudly by Klopp before the game, typified Liverpool’s early offerings - casual and deeply unconvincing.

The closest they came to ruffling the surprising confidence of this scratch Wolves team was when Gakpo, to no-one’s surprise manoeuvred the ball on to his right foot and struck an effort that was firm enough but was straight at Matija Sarkic. It probably did not help that the atmosphere, by Anfield’s exalted standards, was relatively flat.

Still, what do you expect when an FA Cup tie is scheduled for eight o’clock on a January Saturday night? But that was no excuse for some serious sloppiness that should have actually led to Wolves at least doubling their lead before succumbing to a sublime sucker punch just before half-time.

Darwin Nunez equalised with a cultured finish after Trent Alexander-Arnold's pinpoint delivery (Naomi Baker/Getty Images)

Nathan Collins’ aimless pass did not appear to be in a costly area but Alexander-Arnold played a wondrous 50-yard that was shinned home first-time by Darwin Nunez. It looked good and must have felt particularly good for a forward whose misses had started to acquire comic undertones.

And there were comic undertones about the goal that put Liverpool ahead, Toti contriving to skew a header to the feet of Mohamed Salah, who would otherwise have been offside. But even after Salah had finished with customary aplomb, Rayan Ait-Nouri missed a gold-plated chance to equalise - a sign of things to come as substitute Hwang Hee-Chan bundled in Wolves’ second with just over 20 minutes remaining.

And it could - and possibly should - have been so much better for Wolves but a Toti effort was ruled out for what looked an extremely dubious offside. It was certainly very tight and VAR upheld the decision but Wolves and Lopetegui felt very hard done by. And even though they did, after all, have a helping hand from Alisson, they probably had a point.

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