Liverpool’s FA Cup defence began with a 2-2 draw at home to Wolves.

The holders fell behind midway through the first half after Alisson played a poor pass into the feet of Goncalo Guedes, who fired into an empty net.

Darwin Nunez drew the Reds level on the stroke of half time by meeting Trent Alexander-Arnold’s cross from a counter attack with a smart first-time finish.

Mohamed Salah gave the hosts the lead shortly after the interval as Toti Gomes headed Cody Gakpo’s ball over the top directly into his path.

But Wolves equalised in the final 25 minutes as Hwang Hee-Chang squeezed a shot past Alisson at his near post from a one-two with Matheus Cunha.

Jurgen Klopp’s side will aim to reach the fourth round of the world’s most famous club cup competition in a replay at Molineux later this month.

Here were the key talking points from Anfield:

Reds’ erraticism extends to Alisson

In a difficult season for Liverpool, one man has stood out above all others.

Without Alisson’s routine heroics, the FA Cup holders would arguably be in a far worse position in the Premier League and beyond than they are currently.

But the erraticism which has plagued swathes of Jurgen Klopp’s side, from front to back, now extends to their usually imperious Brazilian goalkeeper.

His 25th-minute blunder, passing the ball directly to Goncalo Guedes slot it straight into The Kop’s gaping net, was uncharacteristic to say the least.

Although he later denied Rayan Ait-Nour, producing a low stop when Wolves again played through the press, it proved symptomatic of Anfield’s malaise.

Hesitancy got the better of Alisson for the visitors’ equaliser, too, as he failed to narrow the angle while Hwang Hee-Chan began to make inroads on goal.

The end result saw Ibrahima Konate, whose botched clearance had enabled the move, failing to stop the South Korean’s effort from rippling the net.

More than most, Alisson can be forgiven for a bad day at the office yet there is hiding place after his worst display since Manchester City’s 4-1 win in 2021.

New boy Gakpo gets going

First impressions can often be misleading, but not in Cody Gakpo’s case.

Amid the chaos, Liverpool’s January arrival slotted seamlessly on the left-hand side of the front three and offered early glimpses of his obvious potential.

Some early link-up play with Andy Robertson was particularly promising and offers hopes Gakpo can fill the void left by Luis Diaz and Diogo Jota’s injuries.

His maiden 84-minute outing was capped off with an assist, albeit helped on by Toti Gomes nudging a lofted ball over the top into Mohamed Salah’s path.

The 23-year-old also has no qualms about getting stuck in for the cause, grappling with Jonny in attempts to stem another Wolves’ counter attack.

Joining a Liverpool team heavily out of sorts notwithstanding, Gakpo was always going to require an adjustment period in his new surroundings.

Exploding into life, as Diaz did 12 months ago, may not happen but there are clear signs that Klopp has landed a player who will still be highly impactful.

Anfield haunted again by Hwang

When RB Leipzig gave Liverpool a scare during the group stage of their Champions League defence in 2019, one player invariably caught the eye.

Predictably, attention gravitated towards Erling Haaland while the European champions moved quickly to secure Takumi Minamino in a cut-price deal.

Proficient though the Japan international became as a bit-part player, not least in this competition, they failed to identify real threat that night.

Hwang had set the wheels in motion for the Austrians on a jittery October night at Anfield where their hosts narrowly edged out a seven-goal thriller.

Virgil van Dijk found himself tied up in knots trying to contain the forward, who scored a first-half opener for Jesse Marsch’s team of upcoming talents.

He repeated the trick from the substitutes’ bench this time, exchanging passes with Matheus Cunha before firing a shot that bamboozled Alisson.

Whenever Hwang has come up against Liverpool, for Salzburg and now Wolves, he remains a handful and keeps Klopp’s players firmly on their toes.

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments