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Daily Mirror
Daily Mirror
Tom Victor

Liverpool keep cup defence alive as Harvey Elliott strike downs Wolves - 5 talking points

Liverpool booked their place in the fourth round of the FA Cup as Harvey Elliott 's first-half effort saw them past Wolves in their third round replay.

Jurgen Klopp rang the changes for the trip to Molineux after drawing the original game 2-2 at Anfield. Youngster Stefan Bajcetic came into the starting XI, while Kostas Tsimikas was involved from the get-go after scoring the winning penalty in the 2022 final.

Elliott opened the scoring in the 13th minute, carrying the ball forward unchallenged before letting rip with a shot from distance which gave Jose Sa no chance. The home team grew into the game as it went on, but Klopp's holders had enough to finish the job.

After the early opener, Fabio Carvalho had the ball in the net a second time, only for an offside flag to get in the way of Liverpool doubling their lead. Wolves' main first-half threat came down the flanks, through Adama Traore and Rayan Ait-Nouri, but the visitors took a narrow lead into half-time.

Wolves boss Julen Lopetegui rang the changes at the break, with Matheus Nunes - linked with Liverpool before joining their opponents - among those introduced. Matheus Cunha and Daniel Podence also emerged after the hour mark, with Liverpool eventually turning to Mohamed Salah, Nat Phillips and Curtis Jones for the final 25 minutes.

January signing Cunha had a late change to equalise, linking up with fellow substitute Diego Costa but flashing a shot well off target and then planting a week header into Caoimhin Kelleher's arms. Liverpool held out in the end, though, and here are Mirror Football 's talking points from Molineux.

1. Elliott lights things up

Harvey Elliott's stunner put Liverpool ahead (PA)

Before the game, Wolves announced the signing of Pablo Sarabia from Paris Saint-Germain. but it was one of Liverpool's front three who caught the eye early on. Harvey Elliott hasn't always been used in an advanced role by Klopp, but that's what happened at Molineux with Mohamed Salah rested and Darwin Nunez, Roberto Firmino, Diogo Jota and Luis Diaz all unavailable.

The goal was Elliott's fourth of the season, with three of those coming away from Anfield. It has a strong case for being his best in Liverpool red as well, and helped light up a first half which had been literally plunged into darkness with an early floodlight issue.

In a game of few big chances, it needed something special to settle the tie. Were it not for Elliott's effort, it felt like the two teams could have played for hours without scoring.

2. Gakpo taking on duties as main man

It was a frustrating evening for Cody Gakpo (PA)

With Elliott on one flank and Fabio Carvalho on the other, it was up to Cody Gakpo to lead the line. While it was a decision made out of necessity as much as choice, it was significant responsibility for the new arrival.

The former PSV star had a frustrating opening period, involving an offside call as he attempted to get behind the home defence and a penalty appeal waved away. There was also a wayward shot as he was largely kept under wraps by the Wolves back-line.

Eventually he made way in the second half, as did the ineffective Fabio Carvalho. Gakpo's movement offered some positive signs, but he'll want to offer more against Chelsea on Saturday.

3. Kelleher staking a claim

Caoimhin Kelleher was preferred to Alisson in goal (Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images)

“In the FA Cup, it’s always Alisson," Klopp said before the initial game at Anfield, in which the Brazil keeper started. "Last year, I forgot the exact reason, Caoimhin played one game – I think Ali only came back the day before the game. It is clear we have Caoimhin, but it’s Alisson.”

Alisson gifted Wolves a goal in that game with a pass straight to Goncalo Guedes. That meant by the time it came to name the XI for the replay, it was no longer "always Alisson".

Caoimhin Kelleher impressed in last season's run to League Cup glory, and has been an able understudy to his more senior colleague. There was a fingertip save to deny Ruben Neves, showing the Irish international can keep his concentration even when not kept particularly busy.

4. Tsimikas' Traore test

Kostas Tsimikas went toe-to-toe with Adama Traore (AFP via Getty Images)

Before the game, there were questions over how Kostas Tsimikas would be able to deal with Adama Traore. The Spanish winger got forward when he could, but Tsimikas - known for his attacking qualities as much as his defensive strength - was equal to his direct opponent.

On the other side, James Milner's energy levels were tested by the lively Ait-Nouri, and he too gave as good as he got. Barring one nervy first-half moment, the Reds' number seven came out on top against the man 15 years his junior.

Wolves kept faith in Traore while ringing the changes elsewhere, and Liverpool resisted the urge to throw on Andy Robertson in Tsimikas' place. That points to a job well done from the Greek international.

5. Chance for revenge at Brighton

Liverpool were humbled in their league game at Brighton (Liverpool FC via Getty Images)

Liverpool won't have to wait too long to return to FA Cup action. Brighton await in the next round, less than a month after their 3-0 hammering of the Reds in the league.

"I can't remember a worse game," Klopp said after that result. "It's not difficult maybe. Brighton were the better team, it was well deserved. They played really well. It was a very organised team against a not very organised team."

Liverpool's next trip to the Amex Stadium will be a chance to show how much they have learned from that experience. However, it won't be easy against a Brighton side who are a tough test for any opponent.

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