Liverpool 2 Wolves 1: Lessons learned from a feisty encounter

What did we learn from Liverpool's 2-1 Premier League victory over Wolverhampton Wanderers at Anfield?

Premier League, 24 September 2011, Anfield
team1
Liverpool
2 - 1
team2
Wolves

Downing and Suárez are forming a strong partnership

Stewart Downing has put in some fantastic performances since his arrival on Merseyside, and has helped add some much needed width and creativity to Kenny Dalglish’s side. Over the same period the former Aston Villa man has also forged a great relationship with Luis Suárez, with the two linking up well throughout the clash with Wolves and creating a number of chances. However, this has revealed another problem…

Liverpool’s unbalanced attack

With Suárez and Downing linking up so well out on the left, it seems as though the majority of Liverpool’s attacking play is going down that side of the pitch, with very little happening over on the right. Jordan Henderson was once again quiet on Saturday and his inability to create any real chances down the right makes Liverpool’s play going forward somewhat unbalanced. The only time Henderson did look threatening was when he cut into the middle, so having him compete for places with the other central players, while Dirk Kuyt plays on the right, may be the best option.

The Reds look better with Gerrard

It may be early days in Gerrard’s return to full match fitness but in coming on for the last 10 minutes he demonstrated just how crucial he can be for the Reds, darting all over the pitch, making some crucial tackles and creating two chances for himself while also setting up others. With Lucas Leiva and Charlie Adam both putting in some solid performances this season, it certainly leaves Dalglish with a selection headache over which two of the three should start.

Fletcher’s work-rate gives Wolves another dimension

Mick McCarthy’s decision to bring on Steven Fletcher at the start of the second-half was certainly a clever move by the Wolves boss, though you have to wonder why he wasn’t on the pitch from the beginning. His early second-half goal hauled Wolves back into the game and the pressure he applied to the Liverpool back line helped to create a number of chances for the visitors, turning the game from a foregone conclusion at the break to a tight affair right up until the last minute.

Kelly is a promising defender but still has a lot to learn

Liverpool’s young full-back Martin Kelly has been applauded for his performance at right-back over the last year for the Reds, with the 21-year-old putting many of his older, more experienced, adversaries to shame. But Kelly, who naturally plays in the centre of defence, had a hard time against Matt Jarvis, and the England international winger forced a number of mistakes out of the Liverpool academy graduate, resulting in Kelly picking up a yellow card.

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