Sunday 16 February, 2020

Firmino scores late to give Liverpool 2-1 win at Wolves

Liverpool's Roberto Firmino gestures during the English Premier League football match against Wolverhampton Wanderers at the Molineux Stadium in Wolverhampton, England, Thursday, Jan. 23, 2020. (AP Photo/Rui Vieira).

Liverpool's Roberto Firmino gestures during the English Premier League football match against Wolverhampton Wanderers at the Molineux Stadium in Wolverhampton, England, Thursday, Jan. 23, 2020. (AP Photo/Rui Vieira).

Liverpool moved 16 points clear at the top of the Premier League after Roberto Firmino struck a late winner in a 2-1 defeat of Wolves at Molineux.

The Brazil striker's 10th goal of the season in all competitions six minutes from time was enough to seal a 22nd win from 23 league games this season for Jurgen Klopp's runaway leaders.

There was something of a setback for the visitors, though, who lost Sadio Mane to injury in the first half.

Jurgen Klopp's side had gone 725 minutes without conceding a goal in the top flight, stretching back to the 5-2 win over Everton in December, until Raul Jimenez cancelled out Jordan Henderson's opener.

It looked as though Wolves would be heading for what would have been a deserved point until Firmino fired home from inside the box, as Liverpool stretched their unbeaten league run to 40 matches.

The loss of Mane came after Liverpool had assumed control of the game, Henderson having run unchecked to head in Trent Alexander-Arnold's corner eight minutes in.

Wolves were causing some problems in attack and Matt Doherty wasted a glorious chance to level when he sent a free header wide from six yards out, although he made amends with a fine block to deny Mohamed Salah before the break.

The home side continued to carry a threat and they were level 51 minutes in, the persistently dangerous Adama Traore racing into space down the left and crossing for Jimenez, who sent a superb header beyond the reach of Alisson.

Alisson made a fine one-handed save to deny Traore, then blocked a Jimenez effort with his face after the striker had been played onside by Andy Robertson.

Salah fired wide from a promising position and Firmino was denied by Rui Patricio, but Liverpool's number nine made no mistake with his next chance, collecting Henderson's pass, working space on his left foot and firing into the net.

Diogo Jota had a chance to equalise in injury time but could only lift the ball over the bar when leaning back to connect with Jimenez's lay-off.

What does it mean? Mane the bigger concern for Liverpool

This was a major test for Liverpool but, once again, Klopp's men found a way to keep their remarkable winning run going.

The title is more firmly in their grasp with every passing week, but the more pressing concern will be the condition of Mane. Liverpool's threat diminished after he went off, and Klopp will certainly hope the forward has not sustained any serious damage.

Wolves, who deserved better than defeat, missed out on the chance to climb into fifth place, but they will certainly consider themselves contenders for a top-four finish.

Jimenez a real handful

Traore was a constant menace but Jimenez led the Wolves line superbly, and his excellent header was just reward. He now has 20 goals in all competitions this season.

Traore too much for Robertson

Robertson was guilty of being pulled out of position in the build-up to Wolves' equaliser, and he generally found it tough going against Traore. He also played Jimenez onside for what was a clear chance.

What's next?

Liverpool head to Shrewsbury Town in the FA Cup on Sunday before their title challenge is resumed at West Ham on January 29. Wolves, knocked out of the cup by Manchester United, travel to the Red Devils in the league on February 1.

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