So much for this being the match that could derail — or at least delay — the Liverpool locomotive as it hurtles towards its first English title in 30 years.
Aside from an April meeting against defending Premier League champion Manchester City, Thursday’s trip to dangerous Wolverhampton Wanderers seemed to present a higher degree of difficulty than usual for Jurgen Klopp’s high-flying side, with Wolves sitting just outside the Prem’s vaunted Top Six only on goal difference.
Yet it turned out to be more or less business as usual for Liverpool, even if they had to rely a late goal from Roberto Firmino ( and Alisson Becker’s outstanding goalkeeping) to secure three more valuable points and improve to an otherworldly 22W-0L-1T in this season of destiny:
IT HAD TO BE BOBBY 🤩— NBC Sports Soccer (@NBCSportsSoccer) January 23, 2020
Liverpool find a way back into the lead! 🔴 pic.twitter.com/0XbF2ApZVr
The soccer gods are clearly clad in Red these days. Jordan Henderson’s opening strike for Livepool was just the latest proof. Klopp’s captain actually mishit his header from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s corner kick, with Henderson directing the ball off the point of his shoulder rather than on goal. No matter. It still somehow found its way past keeper Rui Patricio to give the guests an early lead at the Molineux:
It’s hard to argue that Liverpool didn’t deserve it. On the other hand, however, the hosts also probably didn’t deserve to be trailing when the halftime whistle blew. For while neither team managed to carve out many chances during the first 45 minutes, Wolves squandered a golden opportunity to pull level only for Matt Doherty to send his wide-open header wide of the target.
The home team would get its equalizer shortly after the break, though. It was worth the wait. Raul Jimenez started and finished the play on a perfectly executed give-and-go with Adama Traore. On a counterattack, Mexican national teamer Jimenez slalomed past a defender just inside the Reds’ half and sprang Traore down the flank. Traore’s return cross was perfect, with Jimenez turning it past Alisson:
The Brazilian backstop would be not be beaten again. His point-blank stop on Jimenez in the 68th minute kept Liverpool’s 40-match Premier League unbeaten streak alive before Firmino converted his fourth goal since Boxing Day to give Liverpool yet another victory.
It was a close call, to be sure. But there was also an air of inevitability about the outcome, a feeling that somehow, some way, the Reds would find a way to prevail even after Sadio Mane — who along with Firmino and Mohamed Salah makes up Klopp’s all-planet front three — pulled up lame with a non-contact injury with only a half-hour of the contest gone.
That sort of unplanned misfortune, on the road, against a capable foe, would’ve been enough to rattle most other squads. With a 13 point cushion atop the table, Liverpool could’ve easily settled for the single point.
But apparently there are no immovable objects for the unstoppable force that is these Reds. An unbeaten season is seeming more likely with each passing week, with the Reds on pace to shatter the records set by Arsenal’s “Invincibles” in 2003-04. As for the title, well, that’s surely in the bag now following Thursday’s latest triumph. As if it wasn’t already.