Liverpool travel to Wolverhampton on Friday evening, my hometown and a place I love dearly. As a kid growing up, my brother was mad on the Reds so my football allegiance was aligned early to the lads from L4 but with a fella, family and friends supporting the boys in gold I always want them to do well, apart from tomorrow that is.
After all we've been through this season, still top of the league and still unbeaten, I don't think I could take it if them Wolves lot managed to beat us. The scary thing is, they are fully capable. Wolves have had a brilliant start to the season and while they've struggled against sides like Huddersfield, they have absolutely thrived against the likes of Man City and Chelsea.
|Image via The Express|
I think a lot of neutrals weren't sure what to expect from the Midlands side when they got promoted. I remember having a debate with several fans on Twitter first day of the season as some were calling Nuno's side a one-man team after a 2-2 draw with Everton. I was warning people not to underestimate.
On a friendly note, let's not forget that Wolves are a major reason why we are currently sat top of the table. Taking points off City and beating Chelsea helped us massively, but they will not want to be doing us any favours on Friday.
To change up this preview a bit I asked my fella a few questions to gain a Wolves perspective:
What do you make of Liverpool's season so far?
Well, it couldn't have gone much better, could it? Unbeaten at Christmas and ahead of probably the best side the Premier League has seen. It's a remarkable achievement and in any other season, you could be 10 points clear. You seem to be really hitting your stride now, whereas earlier in the season you were winning games without playing particularly well. That win over United was huge, and should give confidence you can stay with City and push them all the way during the second half of the season.
Who's your favourite Red at the moment?
Bobby Firmino for me is one of the most underrated players in the league. He's been getting a bit of stick of late from what I've seen, but he is what makes this Liverpool system tick. Brilliant at holding up the ball and linking the play and has that knack of getting into the box and on the end of tap-ins. A word for James Milner too, who has been vital to this team. A true case of a man making the very best of himself despite his limitations.
Have Wolves not met, matched or exceeded your expectations so far this season?
It is a strange time to be a Wolves fan. Any other promoted team would merely be seeking survival in their first season back but the club has said from the off they are aiming much higher. The amount of money spent and the football we played in the Championship heightened expectations. We have shown we belong in this league, but defeats to the likes of Huddersfield and Cardiff have also given us a reality check. The win over Chelsea and draw with City are the standout results but last week's beating of Bournemouth was much more significant in putting to bed the notion we only do it against the big teams. We're currently seventh in the league, sat a point behind Man United, so we can't really complain
Name some players we should keep an eye out for?
Ruben Neves has been the star of the last 12 months, an elegant, graceful midfielder with a phenomenal passing range. However, it is others who have shone of late such as Raul Jiminez, our lone frontman, who has more than stepped up to the task. He's chipped in with a few goals but his all-round play is much more important. Conor Coady too has been a rock in defence and made the step up to the Premier League look easy.
Is Conor Coady now a yam yam?
They said he was a Scouser, he's bleeding gold and black, is how the song goes. We're under no illusions, Coady grew up in Liverpool and came from their youth set-up but when he steps out onto the pitch he gives everything for the shirt and the club. Can't remember the last time he had a bad game. A true leader. Don't expect him to shirk any tackles!
You're always banging on at me about how Wolves invented the European Cup. Honved, floodlights, blah blah blah... do you think Nuno's side could make Europe?
Nuno's side could definitely make Europe but probably not this season. Given how the Premier League is these days, our only chance for the foreseeable future is by finishing seventh or winning a cup, unless one of the big six has a crisis. United are woeful but they're still sitting in sixth spot. This season will probably be too soon and I see us finishing around half way.
And finally, score prediction for Friday night?
I would probably look daft to predict a Wolves win given Liverpool are top of the league and unbeaten but we are definitely capable. Chelsea found that out. But if I'm honest, I probably see Liverpool winning this. Klopp will be desperate not to slip up after that United win. That being said, I'll sit on the fence and say 1-1.
I was supposed to be going to this match, I'd been looking forward to it as soon as they released the fixtures but Sky went and moved it to Friday. Friday is our work's Christmas party which I'm helping to organise so I've had to resort to an iPad in the handbag and SkyGo! Haha.
|The last time we played Wolves...|
It's going to be a difficult match for Liverpool and there's a danger of taking this one too easy. For me, the key bonus on Liverpool's part is the strength of our defence, Wolves will attack but whether they can convert successfully is a different question. In the meantime, you have Mane, Salah and Firmino taking advantage of any gaps.
Wolves have scored and conceded exactly 19 goals this season while the Reds have scored 37 and conceded just seven goals.
I am extremely excited for this match. I just wish I could be there but luckily we drew them in the FA Cup so I can go to that in Jan.
My score prediction is a 2-1.
Enjoy the match folks, wherever you are watching!