Liverpool 1-0 Wolves: Reds end decade flying high

Premier League
Sunday 29 December 2019 - 4:30 pm
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⚽️ Mane42'
58'↔️ Neves off, Traore on
58'↔️ Dendoncker off, Saïss on
Lallana off, Keïta on ↔️67'
72'↔️ Jota off, Jiménez on
Wijnaldum off, Milner on ↔️86'
Firmino off, Origi on ↔️86'
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Liverpool ended the year, in less flashy circumstances than the victory over Leicester, but with another win to end the decade top of the Premier League.

The reds reached the half way point in the season with 55 points banked, after 18 wins and 1 draw in sensational league performance this term.

In what had been forecast as a tricky December for the reds, Liverpool went to Qatar to be crowned World Champions and won all their league games.  Their gap at the top is now 13 points, with a game in hand against West Ham still to be played.

Lallana in

Adam Lallana featured in the Liverpool midfield alongside Henderson and Wijnaldum, as the reds continue to count the cost of injuries to Oxlade-Chamberlain and Fabinho.  Both players are hoping to return to training in the middle of January - but for now those three, along with Milner and Keita will share duties across the middle.

After the reds utter dominance against Brendan Rodgers side earlier in the week - this return to Anfield was a tougher affair against an impressive Wolves side.

Liverpool had received special dispensation to wear their World Champions FIFA logo on their shirts for this game only and were greeted by chants from the Anfield crowd celebrating their recent trophy.

VAR at the double

It was Adam Lallana who chested the assist for Sadio Mane's winning goal in the 42nd minute in a game that featured few shots on target.

A VAR review checked whether Lallana had handballed, but replays clearly showed it came off his chest.  Virgil van Dijk also narrowly avoided a handball in the build-up - expertly moving his arm away as he himself chested a high ball played into him.

Wolves thought they had equalised moments later with a strike from Neto who celebrated wildly in front of the Liverpool fans.

But the VAR review declared his goal, correctly as offside.  It was a similarly tight call to those suffered by both Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane this year.

Although the VAR decision was correct - it is exposing the problem with the offside law.

This may require some tweaking in the future as for now, it seems that the attacker is too often penalised for what traditional replays would describe as 'level' decisions.

The game was played out with relatively few other chances of note - both sides riding high from recent results appeared to cancel each other out at times.

But Liverpool's Premier League lead is huge.  Even assuming the very unlikely event that Leicester win their remaining 18 games, the reds need to reach 97 points to win the league.

And from here that means they can technically afford to lose 5 games from their remaining 19.

For a team that has won 27 of their last 28 that looks fanciful for the chasing pack.


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