Liverpool vs Wolves Football Match 7 Jan 2023
Dreams of an EFL Cup double have already come to an end for Liverpool courtesy of perennial winners Manchester City, and the Anfield faithful may not be all that optimistic about their team’s chances of retaining their FA Cup crown if recent results are anything to go by.
Jurgen Klopp immediately pointed to perceived injustice in Monday’s 3-1 defeat to Brentford, where Ibrahima Konate’s own goal and Yoane Wissa’s header put the Bees 2-0 up before Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain pulled one back early in the second half, only for Bryan Mbeumo to restore the hosts’ two-goal cushion late on.
While accepting that the manner of his side’s dreadful showing did not warrant anything other than a defeat, Klopp was left infuriated after Mbeumo’s nudge on Konate before Brentford’s third goal went unpunished, as Liverpool continue to play Champions League catch-up in sixth place in the table.
Premier League fortunes take a backseat for the time being as Liverpool begin their quest for successive FA Cup crowns, having overcome Chelsea in last year’s final after only previously getting as far as the fifth round since 2015.
However, the eight-times winners – who are now without a clean sheet in five matches – have gone out in four of their last seven third-round ties while entering the FA Cup as holders, and their most recent exit at this stage coincidentally came at the hands of Wolves in the 2018-19 campaign.
A first taste of a West Midlands derby for Wolves manager Julen Lopetegui ended with the spoils shared in a 1-1 draw with Aston Villa, as Daniel Podence’s early effort was cancelled out by Danny Ings 12 minutes from time to leave Wolves in relegation danger.
Lopetegui’s start to life at Molineux can certainly be described as unspectacular, with victories over Gillingham and Everton – the latter coming via a last-gasp Rayan Ait-Nouri effort – preceding defeat to Manchester United and Wednesday’s stalemate with Villa.
Only Southampton have performed worse in the Premier League this season than Wolves, who do have four previous FA Cup successes to their name, although not since the 1959-60 season have the West Midlands outfit managed to go all the way in the tournament.
Furthermore, only once have the visitors to Anfield managed to beat the reigning holders of the FA Cup – beating Manchester United in the 1949 semi-finals before getting their hands on the trophy – although a three-game unbeaten run away from home ought to stand them in good stead somewhat.
As well as eliminating Liverpool in the 2018-19 third round, Wolves also dumped the Merseyside giants out in round four under Klopp in the 2016-17 tournament, but the visitors have suffered seven successive top-flight losses to the Reds since their last cup success.