The match got off to an odd start as the lights inside the stadium went dark. Once play resumed, Wolverhampton put pressure on the Reds' goal, but the defence cleared any danger. Cody Gakpo delivered Liverpool's first chance in the 9th minute, but Wolves goalie José Sá was up to the challenge.
Sá was not so fortunate in the 13th minute as Harvey Elliott delivered a wonder strike from well outside the box for a 1-0 Reds lead. Kostas Tsimikas also tried his luck in the 16th minute, but that attempt went high.
Both clubs settled in from that point as the next threat on goal did not come until the 28th minute, Wolverhampton's Ruben Nevas' shot was blocked by a Liverpool backline that looked lightyears better than in previous matches. Gakpo produced near-misses in the 32nd and 34th minutes, the latter coming from a corner. As a result, Liverpool had to settle for the 1-0 halftime lead
Much like the first half, it was the Wolves who had the best chances to start the second. They earned a corner in the 51st minute and Adama Traoré sent a shot just high near the hour mark.
Liverpool looked to add a second goal as Mohammed Salah came on as a substitute in the 66th minute. It was Wolverhampton's Matheus Nunez, who called Caoimhin Kelleher into action. The Irish keeper made a leaping save to keep the ball out of the top corner of the net, keeping Liverpool in front after 71 minutes.
After winning a free kick in the 73rd minute, Neves' offering skimmed just over the bar. Raúl Jiménez's header also looked to be on target in the 78th minute, but it was once again cleared away by the defence.
Wolverhampton nearly found a late equalizer, but a golden opportunity from Matheus Cunha went high and wide in the 88th minute. Liverpool was able to see out the final minutes of regulation and stoppage time to secure the win and their place in the FA Cup's 4th Round.
With the win, Liverpool's FA Cup title defence continues. They will travel to Brighton on Sunday, January 29th for the 4th round. Kickoff is set for 13:30 GMT. Should the Reds eventually lift the trophy, they will become the first club to defend their title since Arsenal in 2013 and 2014.
Elliott Reflects On Savory Strike
Elliott's game-winner was his fourth of the season and the teenager admitted to the media that seeing the ball hit the back of the net will give him confidence moving forward.
“I have been judged a bit on assists and goals and it is something I have been working on,” he said. “I felt like it was the right opportunity and thankfully it came off today. It's a big sign of relief, to be honest, I feel like I haven't been at my best after the World Cup. To get the goal is good for my confidence and hopefully, I can take it into the weekend now.”
LFC Globe Verdict
Now that's more like it. I don't know what Jürgen Klopp told the team after they struggled at Brighton, but whatever it was, the message got through. The defence was markedly better and while the Reds' did not generate a ton of chances, they did enough to be moving on. Only time will tell if this good form will transition to Premier League play.
How can you not give the honour to Harvey Elliott? Not only did the youngster deliver a superb strike from a distance for the match-winner, but he was also on point with his passing. Elliott put the ball on a platter for Curtis Jones in stoppage time, but a miss cost Elliott an assist as well.
Liverpool will return to Anfield Saturday, January 21st looking to sweep Chelsea. Kickoff is set for 12:30 GMT while American audiences will have to have breakfast with the Reds thanks to the 7:30 A.M. EST start time.
-Harvey Elliott 13'
- Nathaniel Phillips for James Milner 66'
- Curtis Jones for Fabio Carvalho 66'
- Mohamed Salah for Cody Gakpo 66'
- Ben Doak for Thiago 75'
- Fabinho for Stefan Bajcetic 75'
1. Matheus Nunez for Joseph Hodge HT'
2. Nelson Semedo for Dexter Lembikisa HT'
3. Daniel Podence for Jonny 64'
4. Matheus Cunha for Joao Moutinho 65'
5. Diego Costa for Raul Jimenez 84'