Liverpool returned to Premier League winning ways with a hard fought win over Wolves. A Roger Johnson own goal and a sublime Luis Suarez strike gave Liverpool a two goal advantage at the break, Wolves responded with a Steven Fletcher goal but Liverpool held on for the three points.
It was a vital win for the home side after two consecutive defeats away from home in the Premier League, this also showed that Liverpool’s home form has drastically improved compared to last season.
For Wolves this was the fourth league match on the run that they have failed to win and their good start has soon been forgotten. Liverpool dropped Craig Bellamy to the bench despite his impressive display against Brighton on Wednesday and recalled Andy Carroll to the starting line up for the first time in five games. This proved to be a good decision as the £35m man finally started linking up well with Suarez.
Wolves changed to the 4-5-1 formation with Kevin Doyle leading the line and started on the front foot with Jamie O’Hara testing Pepe Reina from distance. However, Wolves having most of the possession found themselves a goal down after 11 minutes. Martin Kelly whipped in a teasing cross which was cleared by Roger Johnson, the ball came to Downing who laid the ball to Charlie Adam who smashed a twenty-five yard shot which was deflected in by the Wolves captain. Johnson heckled mercifully at Kevin Friend that he had been impeded by Andy Carroll, but the goal stood.
Not long after Carroll and Suarez had efforts saved by the ever-impressive Wayne Hennessey, the Wales keeper was soon to be beaten and had no chance with the second goal. Jose Enrique played a brilliant ball over the Wolves defence and Suarez broke the offside trap, the Uruguayan took his time and looked as though he had blown the opportunity, the brilliant number seven wasn’t to be deterred as he twisted Berra in and out before launching an unstoppable drive into the goal, Liverpool were cruising.
Suarez had two chances to finish the game before half time, firstly poking the ball past the goal and secondly failing to get his leg on the end of a terrifically weighted Andy Carroll cross. After the break Mick McCarthy changed back to 4-4-2 replacing David Edwards with Steven Fletcher who repaid his manager four minutes later. Poor defending from the home side allowed Stephen Hunt to cut back and Fletcher smashed home from eight yards. Liverpool were suddenly under all sorts of pressure and Wolves could sense the home side reeling in, this prompted the visitors to push more men forward.
Liverpool soon had more chances when Suarez was excellently denied by Hennessey, Carroll then hit the post with a close range effort and the superb Downing had a chance of his own saved by the Wolves goalkeeper. The game had opened up and Wolves had chances which were wasted, O’Hara hit a tame effort wide and Berra headed a decent chance wide. With ten minutes left Steven Gerrard continued his rehabilitation and seemed to steady the ship with a calming influence, he replaced Suarez who was unhappy and in frustration kicked a bottle. Gerrard had an effort which went wide but Liverpool held on for a relieving three points.