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Dave Edwards: Gut wrenching but Wolves should take real heart

Saturday’s game was my first chance to see Liverpool first-hand in quite a few years – and I was surprised by just how good they actually are.

Liverpool's Diogo Jota sees his shot blocked by Wolverhampton Wanderers' Conor Coady (Getty)
Liverpool's Diogo Jota sees his shot blocked by Wolverhampton Wanderers' Conor Coady (Getty)

Listening to Jurgen Klopp after the game he said they weren’t quite at their best, it would be crazy to see their best! I just thought they were brimming with confidence for 10 or 15 minutes and although they didn’t create as much as in recent weeks, they move the ball so fast and the relentlessness of their press is frightening.

Every time Wolves got the ball it was just three men on them, if Wolves broke the press, the work-rate and fitness levels to get back are a testament to Klopp.

But Wolves on the whole did something that no team has been able to do in a long time and keep free-scoring Liverpool out – at least until the 95th minute – and they deserve a lot of credit for the defensive display.

And, wow, the atmosphere was just sensational – we couldn’t hear ourselves think, I was lucky enough to be doing some commentary work and genuinely it was really hard to hear what the guys were saying! Molineux can be a special place when it’s like that.

Jose Sa was excellent again, his distribution was brilliant. Conor Coady and Max Kilman in particular were absolutely outstanding. To have two lads to have been at the club for quite a while now, for Max to have come through, I haven’t got enough superlatives for his performances this season.

No matter who Max comes up against, including Sadio Mane on Saturday, it just doesn’t faze him. In one-v-one situations he wins every duel, is brave in the tackle and drives out of the defence. I don’t think the goalkeeper or defence deserved to be on the losing team.

Having said that, it did feel like the goal was coming late on. It was wave after wave from Liverpool and looking back at the story of the game they deserved it, but it was gut wrenching Wolves couldn’t hold on. It wasn’t to be but the Wolves faithful will be proud of the application and work-rate, but they needed a little more offensively.

The one thing I would be tempted to do if I was Bruno Lage, against Manchester City next and Chelsea soon – the toughest challenges – is a slight change of formation and go to a 3-5-2, maybe play Adama Traore up with Raul Jimenez.

That could get another man in midfield to deal with the technique and athleticism in there, I think you can get overrun in midfield with two men. But more importantly it gets someone close to Raul, he was so isolated at times.

It was a real Jekyll and Hyde performance from Traore. In the first half it looked like his confidence was completely shot, but then in the second half he had a couple of good runs and was completely unplayable.

You just want him to simplify his game as much as possible, be in a position in space. You can almost see his mind working when you watch him, you just want to see him use his running power best and maybe just be a bit more proactive, a few times Jose Sa looked at Traore ready for him to run, he’d play it and sometimes Traore would wait when those two or three seconds makes all the difference.

I think Traore really has to be persevered with now, because he is unplayable on his day. Playing him up alongside Jimenez may help him, and take away less defensive responsibilities, all too often on Saturday he and Hwang had to track Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson and were too far away from Liverpool’s goal.

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