By Andrew Cawthorne
WOLVERHAMPTON (Reuters) -Liverpool beat Wolverhampton Wanderers 3-1 away on Saturday thanks to two late goals in a scintillating comeback that put the Reds – at least temporarily – top of the Premier League.
The hosts dominated the first half at Molineux against an unusually sluggish and sloppy Liverpool, Hwang Hee-chan stroking in a 7th minute goal after a brilliant run from Pedro Neto, before Wolves missed a string of further chances.
However, Liverpool came out transformed in the second half, drawing level in the 55th minute when Mohamed Salah set up fellow striker Cody Gakpo for a tap-in.
Wearing the captain’s armband on his 200th Premier League appearance, Andy Robertson slid in Liverpool’s second from another Salah pass in the 85th minute as the visitors poured forward.
Liverpool made it three in time added on, with Wolves’ Hugo Bueno deflecting the ball into his own net from a shot by Harvey Elliott, sending the away fans into delirium.
“I thought the second half performance was impressive and we got what we deserved,” said Robertson.
“We can come up with excuses for the first half, like the international break and people travelling, but we made mistakes which we are not used to making.”
The result put Liverpool top of the table for now on 13 points after five games, with Manchester City one point behind them and playing later on Saturday away at West Ham.
Wolves are 15th on three points.
WOLVES RUE MISSED CHANCES
Liverpool’s slow start on Saturday was due in part to the absence of stalwart defenders Virgil van Dijk and Trent Alexander-Arnold through suspension and injury respectively.
Fresh back from international duty for Argentina, midfielder Alexis Mac Allister looked out of sorts, uncharacteristically misplacing passes and losing possession.
But the introduction of Luis Diaz and Darwin Nunez, also back from World Cup qualifiers in South America, gave Liverpool the speed and trickery they sought for a second-half onslaught.
“In the first half we had some problems physically, we weren’t sharp, we weren’t right. We tried to find out who’s ready (after the international break) and it was not a perfect choice,” said manager Juergen Klopp.
“That’s why we changed pretty much everything in the second-half, tactically and physically. Second half, we controlled it completely and it was a really good game then. We deserved to win in the end, that’s clear.”
Wolves were left to rue missed opportunities, none more so than when Neto again beat his man to dink a cross into Matheus Cunha who inexplicably chested the ball instead of stooping to head home from close range and extend his team’s lead.
“It looks like a comfortable win for Liverpool but it wasn’t comfortable for most of the afternoon,” said Wolves manager Gary O’Neil. “When we were on top, we could have probably taken one or two more … To have pushed Liverpool so close was a great effort.”
(Reporting by Andrew Cawthorne; Editing by Hugh Lawson)