It will not be Divock Origi’s most famous goal as a replacement. Given his status as Liverpool’s 21st-century David Fairclough and his strike in a Champions League final, how could it be?
But when that strangest of scorelines for them seemed to beckon – 0-0 – he transformed a draw into a victory in the 94th minute. The super-sub struck again and Wolves’ doggedness earned them only a statistical distinction, not a point.
Even on a day when Mohamed Salah did not score, he created, finding his teammate with a low cross. Origi span, shot and scored his second league goal of the season. For Liverpool, it made it 29 consecutive games with at least one goal. Wolves looked set to emulate Real Madrid, the previous team to keep a clean sheet against the Merseysiders. Instead they can reflect that they are the only opponents in the past 19 Liverpool matches not to have conceded at least twice.
Wolves’ resistance seemed set to earn them a hat-trick of 0-0 draws. They were personified by Conor Coady, a Liverpool fan who came through the Anfield academy, and who marked his 250th Wolves appearance with a remarkable intervention, even if it reflected badly on another who has represented both clubs. When Jose Sa came off his line and collided with Romain Saiss, he sent Diogo Jota scampering in behind, with only a defence that lacked a goalkeeper to beat. Instead he blasted his shot against Coady, who had retreated to the goalline.
It was a remarkable reprieve but not the only example of defensive heroics. Saiss executed a brilliant challenge on Salah when he seemed set to tap in Andy Robertson’s enticing low cross. Leander Dendoncker hacked a Jota header away when it promised to trouble Sa. The goalkeeper came swiftly off his line to block Sadio Mane’s effort and, in the closing minutes, reacted wonderfully well to tip the Senegalese’s shot over the bar. For good measure, Sa saved Salah’s 90th-minute shot. It appeared to have secured a point, but Origi thought otherwise.
However, Sa was a spectator at the start when it was unusually uneventful. So potent so often, Liverpool only had four shots in the first half, and none were on target. Wolves had one, which Rayan Ait-Nouri sliced so badly that it resulted in a Liverpool throw-in.
The Wolverhampton wind exerted an influence but while Jurgen Klopp went with the same team who eviscerated Everton, they struggled to have a similar effect. They were below par, neither at their sharpest nor their most fluent. Jota had the opportunities to get a hat-trick but his radar failed him. Trent Alexander-Arnold volleyed over after a fine pass by Thiago Alcantara, who was arguably Liverpool’s best player on the day.
He had their belated first effort on target in a bout of penalty-box pinball when the Spaniard was denied by Raul Jimenez and Sa in quick succession. Wolves had rather fewer efforts, though Adama Traore still felt so difficult to halt legally that Fabinho and Robertson were booked for fouling him.
Mostly, however, they concentrated on defence. Yet while Liverpool searched for rhythm and incision, they showed persistence. Klopp turned to Origi and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, and the Belgian turned the clock back to 2019, to a time when he had the happy knack of scoring decisive goals. He got another.
Join our commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies