Wolverhampton Wanderers 0-1 Liverpool
Diogo Jota haunted Wolves with the winner on his first return to Molineux, but Liverpool’s 1-0 victory was overshadowed by a late injury to goalkeeper Rui Patricio.
On his first return to his former club since his summer move to Anfield, Jota scored the decisive goal in first-half stoppage time with a near-post effort which goalkeeper Patricio got a hand to but was unable to keep out.
Mohamed Salah could have made Liverpool’s win more comfortable had his late effort not been ruled out for offside, but that proved immaterial after Patricio sustained a late head injury which delayed proceedings by 15 minutes before he was carried from the field on a stretcher.
Liverpool withstood a late Wolves rally when the game eventually resumed to climb up to sixth in the table after only their second Premier League win in eight games, but the win was put to one side as thoughts turned to Patricio’s wellbeing.
Liverpool travelled to Molineux looking to avoid a seventh Premier League defeat in eight, but their bid began in nervy fashion.
Alisson fumbled an Adama Traore cross in the six-yard box before clumsily clattering into Wolves full-back Nelson Semedo as he tried to gather the spill, but referee Craig Pawson was unmoved by the hosts’ penalty appeals.
Semedo drew Alisson into the first save of the game with a fierce near-post drive in a bright opening five minutes from Wolves, but Liverpool soon established a dominance on the ball and the chances followed.
Thiago and Georginio Wijnaldum combined in midfield to release Sadio Mane through on goal on 13 minutes but he was forced wide by on-rushing goalkeeper Patricio, and when he eventually got a shot away Wolves had bodies back to block.
Liverpool restricted Wolves to fleeting glimpses of goal on the counter and should have had a goal to show for their superiority on 38 minutes but Mane could only steer a header wide from Trent Alexander-Arnold’s inch-perfect cross.
Ruben Neves forced a save from Alisson from a free-kick before flashing a shot wide as the interval approached, but the breakthrough was made by the visitors in first-half stoppage-time.
A slick one-two between Mane and Salah ended with Jota being played down the left channel, and the Portuguese marked his return to Molineux by squeezing a shot in at the near post which Patricio will feel he should have saved having got a hand to the ball.
Conor Coady and Salah exchanged efforts as both sides increased the tempo after the break. Traore’s teasing cross was punched clear by Alisson before Wolves were denied a penalty for a second time when Alexander-Arnold’s shove on Joao Moutinho in the area went unpunished.
Traore stung the palms of Alisson before Patricio denied Mane from sealing Liverpool’s victory at the other end. Salah looked to have clinched the points when raced onto Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s through pass and slotted home, but the effort was ruled out for offside.
Wolves goalkeeper Patricio sustained a blow to the head while trying to prevent Salah from scoring, resulting in a 15-minute delay which effectively ended the hosts’ challenge and took the gloss off Liverpool’s return to winning ways.