After the longest two weeks in human history, Liverpool will finally be back in action this weekend against Wolves, as they aim to continue their unbeaten start to the 2023/24 campaign.
After the international break, Liverpool’s international starters will be making staggered returns to the AXA Training Centre this week to re-join their teammates and Jurgen Klopp as the squad gears up for the fifth Premier League match of the season.
So far, the Reds have won three, drawn one and sit in third place, only only behind Manchester City in terms of points. However, despite the strong start being temporarily put on hold, many of the Reds’ star players have continued their impressive form with their international sides.
Cody Gakpo scored two goals in as many games, Diogo Jota picked up three contributions in Portugal’s 9-0 stomping of Luxembourg, Dominik Szoboszlai showed off his ridiculous passing range and Wataru Endo contributed to the first ever sacking of a Germany coach.
The players will be returning to Liverpool fit and raring to go, as the club faces an away trip to Wolves on Saturday morning.
Here’s everything you need to know about the game.
Liverpool and Wolves have faced one another on 114 occasions in history, with the Reds coming out on top in 59 games, drawing 18, and losing 37.
Over the past ten fixtures between the clubs, Liverpool have performed exceptionally well, winning eight, drawing one and losing one. However, that one loss did take place on Klopp’s most recent visit to the Molineux last season, with Wolves battering a struggling Liverpool side 3-0 in the Premier League.
Liverpool and Wolves’ early season form could hardly be more different. The Reds have won three from four, while Gary O’Neil’s side have picked up a solitary victory, with both sides experiencing changing trajectories since the infamous meeting back in February.
For UK viewers, the game will be shown as the early kick-off on TNT Sports (formerly BT Sports).
In Europe, the game is available on DAZN.
Viewers in the US can watch on USA Network, NBC Sports and Universo.
Michael Oliver will referee the match, with Stuart Burt and Dan Cook as his assistants and Tim Robinson acting as the fourth official.
Meanwhile, Paul Tierney will be in charge of the VAR and Mark Scholes will act as his assistant.
Liverpool will once again be without their captain and first choice centre-back Virgil van Dijk, after it was confirmed that the defender would face an additional one-game ban and £100,000 fine for his reaction to the red card against Newcastle last month.
Meanwhile, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Ibrahima Konate were both initially called up to their respective international squads, but pulled out through injury. The timeline is said to be short for both players’ returns, but whether they will be fit enough to make the squad, let alone start, against Wolves remains to be seen.
In an already depleted defence, another slight worry for Liverpool fans was Kostas Tsimikas’ notable absence from Greece’s second game against Gibraltar. Despite appearing fit and in good form against the Netherlands earlier that week, the Greek full-back was omitted from the squad in their latest 5-0 win.
There has been no word on if Tsimikas’ absence was because of an underlying injury, but with Conor Bradley on the sidelines until at least October, an injury to Liverpool’s back-up left back could leave Liverpool with just four first-team defenders in the entire squad to face Wolves: Joe Gomez, Joel Matip, Jarell Quansah and Andy Robertson.
Thiago Alcantara and Stefan Bajcetic are another two names who have been close to making their returns for what seems like months. The latter is certainly the more likely of the two to see minutes on Saturday, after he made his Spain Under-21 debut last week.
Finally, supporters may potentially see some of Liverpool’s South American contingent benched against Wolves after heavy travel, with Alisson Becker, Alexis Mac Allister, Darwin Nuñez and Luis Diaz among the last to rejoin the squad for training.
Ryan Gravenberch, meanwhile, could make his Liverpool debut having signed too late to feature against Aston Villa before the break.
WOLVES TEAM NEWS
Ahead of Saturday’s game, there doesn’t seem to be any fresh injury concerns from a Wolves perspective, with O’Neil’s squad fit and ready to welcome Liverpool to the Molineux.
However, despite some incomings, Wolves’ squad was raided in the summer. The likes of Conor Coady, Ruben Neves, and Matheus Nunes all left the club during the transfer window, and have made the squad significantly weaker as a result.
With plenty of injury concerns and late South American arrivals, here’s how Liverpool could start the game against Aston Villa on Sunday afternoon:
(4-3-3): Alisson Becker; Trent Alexander-Arnold, Joe Gomez, Joel Matip, Andy Robertson; Wataru Endo, Curtis Jones, Dominik Szoboszlai; Mohamed Salah, Cody Gakpo, Diogo Jota
With Liverpool’s defensive availability issues, an early kick-off straight after the international break is far from ideal, but you have to play the cards you’re dealt.
Even though many of the club’s South American stars might not start the clash, Liverpool should have enough fire power to beat a struggling Wolves side.
Wolves 0-2 Liverpool