Boly Will Relish Facing Misfiring Liverpool forwards Mane & Salah - 9jaflaver

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Boly Will Relish Facing Misfiring Liverpool forwards Mane & Salah

Wolverhampton Wanderers’ Ivorian colossus will be central to the visitors’ dream of ending the Reds’ unbeaten run at Anfield

If opponents couldn’t beat Liverpool at Anfield without supporters, what chance do Wolverhampton Wanderers have with fans returning this weekend, even if it’s just 2000 of them?

64 times have antagonists gone into a game on Merseyside believing they’d be the ones to end the run of Jurgen Klopp’s irrepressible side on their turf. So far, they’ve all failed.

Playing without fans was supposed to strengthen those odds, even if not significantly, but what have Liverpool done? They’ve racked up eight wins and a draw since lockdown was lifted and football returned in June.

Admittedly, there have been close shaves. Leeds United threatened to stun the defending Premier League champions on the opening day of this season, as did Sheffield United in late October.

Up next at Anfield were West Ham United, who some tipped to pose a problem before kick-off. Indeed, the Hammers did have the hosts on the ropes at times but Klopp’s Mentality Monsters found a way to win 2-1. They always do, don’t they?

Last time out vs Leicester City, the final game without supporters at the home of the champions, was bigged up as David finally getting the better of Goliath. The Foxes had thrashed Manchester City 5-2 at the Etihad Stadium and nicked a late 1-0 win over Arsenal and were actually favoured to end the Reds’ unbeaten home run at 63 games.As if outraged — some might even reckon insulted — by the notion they were going to falter, Liverpool hit Brendan Rodgers’ side for three. Frankly, it could and probably should have been more.

So, is there really any reason to imagine the same fate won’t befall Wily Boly and co. at on Merseyside on Sunday night?

As is nearly everything in this pandemic-hit universe, the outlook on most situations is mostly fluid and never at a standstill.

The Ivory Coast defender was colossal in Nuno Espirito Santo’s deserved success at the Emirates Stadium at the third time of asking, while the Reds have hit a rougher patch after that comfortable win over Leicester.

Boly not only had a game-high three interceptions for Wolves vs the Gunners, but the centre-back also made two blocks at the Emirates — only three players had more — as well as a staggering eight recoveries, bettered by only Daniel Podence and Leander Dendoncker.

Winning at Arsenal is occurring with more regularity these days but the Midlands’ team hadn’t done so in four decades. Sunday’s success at the home of the London giants was a big deal for Boly and his teammates, regardless of how anyone tries to spin it.

Of course, the height of the challenge facing this weekend’s visitors to Anfield far outweighs last week’s against the Gunners. The obstacle right in front of them hasn’t been prevailed over by anyone in over three years, although it hasn’t been for the want of trying.

After failing to get the better of Klopp since gaining promotion in 18/19, many feel the form of Mohamed Salah, and, especially, Sadio Mane may give Wolves some reason for optimism this time.

Both stars are without open-play goals since October’s derby draw with Everton and their recent drop off was looked into following last week’s under-par performance at Brighton & Hove Albion. Even though the pair scored goals ruled out for offside, that game at the Amex saw Liverpool register their worst xG return domestically (0.5) and second-lowest in both major competitions for Klopp’s side.

That tired showing vs the Seagulls followed a really insipid showing at Anfield in a 2-0 defeat by Atalanta where neither managed a shot on target and the team had Expected Goals of 0.2.

In fairness, the side played reasonably better in Tuesday’s win over Ajax — even though cynics could attribute the eventual 1-0 win to a huge Andre Onana blooper and Caoimhin Kelleher’s heroics in the Reds goal on his first Champions League start — to prevent another shock European defeat at Anfield for Klopp.

Mane’s low xG of 0.1 that night at Anfield felt scarily familiar to what’s been witnessed recently and the numbers show his struggles for quality chances have worsened amid the club’s general drop in intensity and creativity in the main.

While Salah’s Expected Goals have been a tad better than the Senegal star’s, there has been little separating them on the whole as quality chances for the side have been at a premium, except vs Atalanta in Bergamo and Leicester a fortnight ago.

The return of Trent Alexander-Arnold ought to assuage for their issues in the final third but it remains to be seen if Klopp throws the right-back straight in against Wolves after sitting out a month of action.

As for Boly and his colleagues, it’ll be interesting to examine their performance at the home of the champions. Many expect them to play with a three-man defence, but Nuno’s recent approach has seen them switch to a four-man backline since the final international break of 2020.

It was enough to see them halt about four decades of disappointment in North London last week and followers of the club will hope they’re the side to end that unrelenting run at Anfield as well.

If any side can stun Anfield, though, Wolves would be front of the queue but it feels like we’ve been here before, only for Liverpool to raise their game when it matters…and it’s hard to not side with the Reds despite the positivity surrounding the visitors of late.

source:- goal

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