Wolves v Liverpool, Premier League, January 26, 2010
Liverpoolâ€™s win over Spurs has breathed new life into the Merseyside giants bid for a top four spot (Liverpool are 2/1 for a top for finish) and Rafa Benitezâ€™s side need to claim all three points at Molineux to start putting together some results. Wolves are hovering just above the relegation zone and will be looking to secure their first league victory since beating Burnley over a month ago. (Wolves are 5/4 to be relegated.)
Like all the fixtures being played in midweek, this is a repeat of the Boxing Day clash which Liverpool won 2-0 (8/1 to repeat that score) thanks to goals from Steven Gerrard and Yossi Benayoun. A key moment in that game was Stephen Wardâ€™s sending off and the home side will be well aware that Rafa Benitez will probably be without the two goal scorers from that game as well as Fernando Torres. (Gerrard may take a pain killing injection to play in this one, according to the News of the World.)
Wolves, unlike Liverpool, were in action on Saturday and Mick McCarthy was indebted to Ronald Zubarâ€™s late strike for ensuring Wolves secured a 2-2 home draw with Crystal Palace. Marcus Hahnemann and Nenad Milijas both started the match and Kevin Doyle came on as a substitute as McCarthy made seven changes as he prioritised the clash with Liverpool.
McCarthy questioned the team he put out against the Eagles for a failure â€œto scrap.â€ You can be sure Wolves will battle for every ball against Rafa Benitezâ€™s side as they wonâ€™t need to be reminded that this is a game they can win. On loan Belgian winger Geoffrey Mujangi Bia, came on for an exciting cameo against Palace, hitting the bar with his first touch, and could well be set for an appearance on Tuesday night where he will be eager to impress. ( Wolves are 20/1 to win both halves.)
Yet again Sylvain Ebanks-Blake failed to get on the scoresheet and after last season where he was the top goal scorer in the Championship, the former Manchester United trainee has failed to score from open play in the Premier League. Wolves have lost their last two home games, to Wigan and Manchester City, and have scored just nine goals at Molineux in 2009/2010, the joint worst record (along with local rivals Birmingham) in the division.( Liverpool are 11/8 to keep a clean sheet, 4/6 against.)
Which Liverpool will turn up is the key question to the outcome of this match The one that has been meek and let in tons of late goals throughout the campaign or the version we have seen since the FA Cup horror show against Reading?
Shorn of their star men, Liverpool were hugely unlucky not to win against Soke after battling gamely throughout and even could have won it late on had Dirk Kuyt not hit the post in injury-time. The Dutch forward then played a starring role against Spurs in midweek as the Merseyside giants produced a display of grit and determination which was backed up by a vociferous home support. ( Liverpool are 16/5 to win both halves.)
After playing well in the win against Tottenham, Alberto Aquilani should be in line for another start. Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez will be hoping for big performances through the spine of his side from the likes of Pepe Reina, Jamie Carragher, Sotiris Kyrgiakos, Javier Mascherano and Lucas. If these players all play as they have in the last couple of games, it could only take a moment of magic from someone like Kuyt, Gerrard if he plays, or new signing Maxi Rodriguez to seal another crucial win in the race for fourth.
101gg predicts: Wolves 0 â€“ Liverpool 1 (6/1)
Full match odds here.