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FA Cup Preview: Wolverhampton vs Liverpool

Following Liverpool’s first league defeat of the season, attention turns to the FA Cup and a fixture against Wolverhampton. Here’s LFC Transfer Room’s Anthony (@antstonelake) looking ahead to the third round clash.

Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool will be expected to get back to winning ways this Monday evening as the Reds travel to Molineux to face Nuno Espírito Santo’s Wolves side.

After losing to Manchester City at the Etihad on Thursday, tomorrow’s game will be the perfect opportunity for the Reds to bounce back.

Team News

Liverpool will go into the game against Wolves with a much-changed side. Most of the starting lineup are expected to be given a well-deserved break.

Jurgen Klopp confirmed that Simon Mignolet would be given the nod in goal. It will be the Belgian’s first appearance for the Reds since Liverpool’s 2-1 defeat to Chelsea in the League Cup back in September.

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Just how much of the side Jurgen Klopp will change is yet to be seen but we could see the debut of 16-year-old Dutch defender Ki-Jana Hoever.

The youngster is highly rated at the club and Jurgen Klopp has talked him up a lot. “It is just a joy to watch him. He is an incredible, confident young fella and is really a good player on top of that. It’s nice we can see him day in, day out. It’s really cool,” Klopp said.

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Hoever doesn’t turn 17 until January 18! It could well be too early for him to be starting a first-team game. However, there are many fans out there excited by the prospect of the Dutchman.

Other youngsters who could play a part in the FA Cup game are Rafa Camacho, ahead of a proposed move to Sporting, U23’s captain Nathaniel Phillips and preseason fan favourite Curtis Jones.

Nathaniel Clyne and Dominic Solanke both joined Bournemouth this week and will miss the FA cup clash tomorrow. Clyne joined the Cherries on loan until the end of the season, while Solanke signed on a permanent deal for £19m, rising to £25m.

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Predicted Lineup: Simon Mignolet; Rafael Camacho, Nat Phillips, Virgil van Dijk, Alberto Moreno; James Milner, Naby Keita, Curtis Jones; Divock Origi, Daniel Sturridge, Adam Lallana. 

Liverpool’s FA Cup History

Liverpool have not been knocked out of the FA Cup in the third round since 2011. The team on the winning side was Manchester United and it was only a penalty that saw the Red Devils past Liverpool.

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Despite this, the Reds haven’t gotten past the fourth round of the FA Cup since 2014/2015 when the team came agonisingly close to the final with a 2-1 loss to Aston Villa in the semi-final. Loses to West Brom, West Ham and Monday’s opponents Wolves have been incurred in the fourth round in recent years.

The last time Liverpool reached the final in the competition was 2012. The Reds could only fall to an impressive Chelsea side. Goals from Ramires and Didier Drogba out-did Andy Carroll’s effort to win 2-1.

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The last time Liverpool won the FA Cup was in 2006. A penalty shoot-out win over West Ham in the final. That game became affectionately known as “The Gerrard Final” with Liverpool only being in the game thanks to a world-class performance from Captain Fantastic himself.

The 13 years since then mark Liverpool’s longest spell in history without winning the FA Cup since the club first won the trophy in 1965.

Matchup History

Liverpool have faced Wolves a total of 102 times in all competitions since 1894. The Reds winning 50 of the games between the two sides.

Liverpool have, however, won four of the last five meetings between the sides in all competitions with the only loss coming in the FA Cup as part of what turned out to be a dismal January in 2017.

Liverpool won just one of 10 games in January 2017, with the only win coming in a third round FA Cup replay against Plymouth.

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Including the 2-1 loss in 2017, Liverpool have faced Wolves a total of six times in the FA Cup, dating back to 1896. The first cup clash between the sides ended in a 2-0 win to Wolves. In all, Wolves have won four out of the six FA Cup games between the sides with Liverpool only picking up wins in 1923 and 1952.

The most recent game against Wolves ended 2-0 to Liverpool just last month with Virgil van Dijk and Mohamed Salah getting the goals.

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What To Expect

Wolves will be confident coming into the game on Monday. With a good record against top six sides this season and the prospect of a much-rotated Liverpool team to play against.

Nuno’s side has been lethal with counter-attacks so far this season. Liverpool’s more conservative approach to games has already nerfed the potent Wolves counter once this season.

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Even in the game that Liverpool won, Wolves had more than a few good moments and definitely showed what the side is capable of. Plus showing why they definitely deserve to be pushing into the top half of the Premier League. All in their first season back in the top flight.

Expect an open game with two sides that are both raring to impress. Liverpool’s youngsters desperate to make an impression and Wolves desperate to get a leg over yet another top-six side.

Full-time prediction: Wolverhampton Wanderers 1-2 Liverpool.

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