Liverpool are begging for history to repeat itself against Wolves

Liverpool, Jurgen Klopp (Photo by PHIL NOBLE/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Liverpool, Jurgen Klopp (Photo by PHIL NOBLE/POOL/AFP via Getty Images) /

Liverpool defender Nat Phillips turned the screw on RB Leipzig.

If a meteorite was intent on landing in Budapest last Wednesday night, Phillips would have got his head on it. Liverpool’s fairytale central defender put in a coming of age performance with an assured display in the Champions League second round, second leg.

This seminal show complete with his trademark black headband was a throwback to other English warriors – Terry Butcher and Paul Ince – as Phillips wore the wound as a badge of honour.

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His dominant defensive display reverberated across the backline especially to his defensive partner Ozan Kabak who was solid and unflustered – this in sharp contrast to the Premier League where the Reds have looked uncoordinated and incapable of defending the ball over the top.

The most heralded change, however, was the return of Fabinho in central midfield. The enforcer protected the back four and assisted the top three. This releasing of Thiago from defensive duties paid dividends as the Spanish international played his best game for Liverpool.

Whilst the 2019 Champions League winners could and should have won more comfortably, Diogo Jota’s direct play helped both Mo Salah and Sadio Mane. The smiles after the goals and the final whistle were long overdue.

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The Reds safely progressed into the quarter-finals courtesy of much-needed goals from Salah and Mane as the Premier League Champions ran out 4-0 aggregate winners against the highly-rated Leipzig. In both legs, the Reds had the measure of the East German side.

Across the whole tie, Liverpool didn’t try to force the game. They pressed with pace when required and were content to hold firm rather than going hell for leather. When the opportunities came, they stepped up a gear.

In the Premier League, however, the pressures are such that with games running out, Liverpool has no margin for error.  Hitting the top four is going to be a massive ask and the blood and thunder of the domestic competition has ravaged the season with injuries aplenty.

We will know on Monday night whether this vital victory has enabled the team to kick on in the league. The Wanderers of Wolverhampton await. For now, Liverpool fans are begging for a repeat of history. This year the Champions League final is in Istanbul, we all know what happened the last time the final was played in Turkey’s glorious city back in 2005……YNWA.

Riaz Ravat is a member of Liverpool FC’s Equality & Diversity Fan Forum. He writes in a personal capacity.