FA Cup: Liverpool edge Wolves in replay thanks to Harvey Elliott’s stunner

Jürgen Klopp gets reaction he wanted as Reds progress to the fourth round

Wolves 0 Liverpool 1

Jürgen Klopp received the reaction he demanded and the reward he craved. Liverpool will make a quick return to Brighton, scene of Saturday’s humbling in the Premier League, after holding off a determined yet toothless Wolves to secure a fourth round visit to the Amex Stadium.

The Liverpool manager wanted another bite at Brighton simply to show a different face to Roberto De Zerbi and his team following the 3-0 reverse that he described as one of the worst of his managerial career.

He got it thanks to an outstanding first-half strike from Harvey Elliott, who illuminated the tie with a blistering shot from 25 yards, and a resolute display as Wolves pressed for an equaliser throughout the second half.


Julen Lopetegui’s side had their own extra motivation having been denied victory in the first meeting at Anfield due to a controversial offside decision. They had the motivation and also most of the ball, but not the finishing touch required.

Lopetegui made seven changes from the team that started Saturday’s win over West Ham while Klopp went for eight following Liverpool’s alarming defeat at Brighton.

His rotation extended as far as goalkeeper, with Carabao Cup choice Caoimhin Kelleher replacing Alisson, while Naby Keïta made his first start since May in Liverpool’s problematic midfield alongside 18-year-old Stefan Bajcetic and Thiago Alcântara.

Wolves made a bright start, albeit after the floodlights had failed while Adama Traoré was making a surging run down the right wing in the opening minute. His cross was skied over in the darkness by Rayan Aït-Nouri. Referee Andre Marriner’s decision to restart with a goal-kick to Liverpool did not go down well with the Wolves faithful.

The hosts, and Rúben Neves in particular, looked to release Traoré behind Kostas Tsimikas at every opportunity. Their first chance arrived via the opposite flank when Raúl Jiménez sent Aït-Nouri away down the left and, having cut inside James Milner, the converted winger’s shot was blocked by Joe Gomez.

Wolves’ penalty appeals for a handball by Gomez were dismissed by Marriner and VAR – the ball struck the defender’s elbow at close range – and their mood deteriorated further when Liverpool swept into the lead seconds later.

It was a stunning finish from Elliott, although Lopetegui will rightly have asked questions of Wolves’ defending and the positioning of goalkeeper José Sá. Receiving the ball from Thiago inside his own half, the 19-year-old advanced into Wolves’ territory and kept on running as the home defence backed off and invited the midfielder to shoot. Elliott seized the invitation and his effort flew over Sá, stranded way off his line, into the roof of the net.

Liverpool performed with renewed confidence after the breakthrough. Thiago’s influence increased with Bajcetic, Fábio Carvalho and Elliott providing energy and options around him.

Liverpool almost doubled their advantage when Carvalho found Tsimikas in space inside the area but the full back’s drive flew inches over Sá's crossbar. Carvalho did beat the Wolves keeper with a finish from Elliott’s pass but was flagged offside.

Wolves continued to enjoy plenty of possession but had no cutting edge. A Traoré shot, sliced wide after he raced on to a Neves ball over the top, was as close as the home side came to troubling Kelleher in the first half.

Lopetegui made a double substitution at the break, introducing Matheus Nunes and Nélson Semedo, but the pattern remained the same from his team: promising, patient approach work coming to nothing in the final third.

The Liverpool defence deserve credit for nullifying their opponent and isolating Jiménez but a lack of creativity and quality in the Wolves attack was also evident. Traoré, found in space on the edge of the area by the Mexico international, summed up that aspect of the home performance by sending his shot into the upper tier.

A foul by Liverpool substitute Nat Phillips on Jiménez presented Neves with a dangerous free-kick just outside the penalty area, but his strike just cleared Kelleher’s bar.

Wolves continued to press for the equaliser their second-half dominance deserved. The Neves-Traoré route almost paid dividends when the powerful winger drove to the byline and floated a cross over Kelleher for Jiménez. The centre-forward connected from two yards out but his header struck the back of Gomez’s head and deflected over.

Marriner, not the most popular official inside Molineux throughout, awarded a goal-kick. It was not Wolves’ night. It was not their tie. Liverpool will return to the Amex Stadium with a point to prove. – Guardian