Fans may not be expecting sparks to fly at Anfield on Wednesday night, as two goal-shy teams in Liverpool and Wolverhampton Wanderers renew hostilities for the fourth time this year in the Premier League.
The Reds laboured to a point in a 0-0 draw at Crystal Palace on Saturday, prior to which Julen Lopetegui’s men came away from their meeting with Fulham with a point of their own in a 1-1 stalemate.
Being humiliated 5-2 on their own patch by Real Madrid would no doubt have left Jurgen Klopp’s men shell-shocked, and Liverpool could not shake off the cobwebs when they met Crystal Palace on Saturday, as both sets of supporters left the stadium without getting their money’s worth.
The woodwork may have been rattled three times by Diogo Jota, Jean-Philippe Mateta and Mohamed Salah, but in truth, neither team really looked like scoring in the capital, quickly bringing an end to Liverpool’s Premier League purple patch in which they saw off the threat of Everton and Newcastle United.
However, with Brentford and Brighton & Hove Albion not in action at the weekend, that point was enough to lift Liverpool into seventh place in the table, but they have a nine-point gap to make up to Tottenham Hotspur, who have played two games more.
A third Premier League clean sheet on the bounce at Selhurst Park was a small silver lining for the Liverpool faithful, whose side have also taken 10 points from the last 12 on offer at Anfield in the top flight – losing just one of their last 34 home contests in the Premier League.
Shaky performances from Joel Matip and Trent Alexander-Arnold in particular left the travelling fans biting their nails at Selhurst Park, but the Reds have only faced five shots on target in their last three games, and attacking proficiency is not exactly Wolves’ forte.
Wolves became the latest team to feel the full force of Manor Solomon’s super-sub powers for Fulham, who went behind to a Pablo Sarabia finish at Craven Cottage on Friday night before the Israeli attacker did what he does best off the bench.
Curling home a delightful equaliser with 64 minutes on the clock, Solomon denied Wolves back-to-back away wins in the Premier League, but taking seven points from their four fixtures in February has allowed the West Midlands crop to create some breathing space between themselves and the drop zone.
Now 15th in the table and three points clear of the dreaded dotted line, Wolves travel to Anfield having only lost to Manchester City in their last six Premier League away matches, although not since August’s draw at Bournemouth have they kept a clean sheet on the road.
However, Wolves and their 18 goals no longer hold the title of the worst attacking team in the Premier League – that unwanted honour now belongs to Everton (17) – and the Kop will need no reminding of how Lopetegui’s men tore them to shreds 3-0 at Molineux a few weeks ago.
That astounding win for Wolves came after the visitors had drawn 2-2 at Anfield in the third round of the FA Cup before losing 1-0 in the replay thanks to Harvey Elliott’s screamer, and a similar piece of individual brilliance could yet again prove decisive on Wednesday.
Despite recovering from a shoulder injury in time to face Real Madrid, Darwin Nunez experienced a fresh bout of pain prior to the draw with Palace and could not take part at Selhurst Park, and it remains to be seen if the striker’s problem will settle down in time for Wednesday.
Thiago Alcantara, Calvin Ramsay, Luis Diaz and Joe Gomez are all expected to miss out too, but Ibrahima Konate has made a welcome return to full training and may now be considered for a recall over Matip, while Arthur Melo is also vying for his first Premier League minutes, having played the full 90 for the Under-21s at the weekend.
A complete midfield overhaul could see Fabinho, Stefan Bajcetic and Harvey Elliott come into contention for recalls, while a fit-again Roberto Firmino could also bring Cody Gakpo’s run in the first XI to an end.
As for Wolves, Lopetegui lost Matheus Cunha to an ankle injury on the hour mark against Fulham – the Atletico Madrid loanee needed to be stretchered off the field – although the results of his MRI scan were reassuring.
Cunha has not been ruled out of this game, but it is likely that he will take up a place on the sidelines alongside Hwang Hee-chan, Sasa Kalajdzic, Chiquinho and Boubacar Traore, who has suffered a setback in his recovery from a groin problem.
Daniel Podence and Adama Traore should fight it out to replace Cunha in the starting lineup, unless Pedro Neto can miraculously prove his fitness in time, and Raul Jimenez can expect to hold his place at the tip of the attack after capping off a strong showing at Craven Cottage with the assist for Sarabia’s goal.
Liverpool possible starting lineup:
Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Konate, Van Dijk, Robertson; Bajcetic, Fabinho, Henderson; Salah, Firmino, Jota
Wolverhampton Wanderers possible starting lineup:
Sa; Semedo, Dawson, Kilman, Bueno; Neves, Lemina, Nunes; Traore, Jimenez, Sarabia