Liverpool remain without a Premier League win in 2023 after they were brushed aside by Wolves in a 3-0 defeat at Molineux.
The Reds got off to the worst possible start when indecisive defending allowed Hwang Hee-chan into promising space, firing a low cross that deflected off Joel Matip and past Alisson after just five minutes. It soon got worse for the visitors after more questionable defending as Joe Gomez failed to hear his goalkeeper's calls to claim a cross and cleared the ball tamely into a dangerous area to allow Craig Dawson to score on his debut.
There was a clear spark after the restart as Liverpool took control of the match and created three promising opportunities, but when Mohamed Salah and Nunez failed to convert, Ruben Neves made no mistake with the third goal after a catalogue of errors presented him with time to finish past Alisson inside the box.
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There are signs of an emerging partnership between Cody Gakpo and Darwin Nunez, while there was an improvement in the second half with some clear chances created.
At times when Liverpool needed to establish control, they often caused their own problems by either playing a high-risk pass or giving away possession carelessly. Despite a better second-half display, the Reds wasted three chances, leaving themselves a mountain to climb in the race for the top four.
Manager rating (out of 10)
6 -- It was a strong lineup on paper from Jurgen Klopp and that showed in the second half with an improved display, but he was let down by a number of players in defensive phases on the day. His substitutions did little to change the outlook of the game.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best, players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Alisson, 5 - There was nothing he could have done about any of the goals, having seen the first deflect off Matip before Gomez didn't hear his calls to leave a cross that looked comfortable for the Brazil international to claim for the second. Ruben Neves simply had too much space for the third.
DF Joel Matip, 4 - An inconsistent game from Matip, who made some positive impact when driving the ball out from the defence, but his overall defending looked shaky across the 90 minutes.
DF Joe Gomez, 4 - It's not clear why Gomez decided to clear the ball into a dangerous area after failing to hear Alisson's shout for the ball. An uninspiring performance from the 25-year-old.
DF Trent Alexander-Arnold, 5 - Slow to get going with some poor passes in the first half, but Alexander-Arnold improved as the game went on, creating Liverpool's best chance of the game for Nunez.
MF Stefan Bajcetic, 6 - The 18-year-old impressed for the majority of the game as one of Liverpool's more composed players in possession, though the time he did lose it to Joao Moutinho eventually led to the goal that sealed the game for Wolves.
MF Thiago, 5 - Kept things simple but his most significant mistake saw him slow to track Ruben Neves who finished calmly past Alisson.
MF Naby Keita, 4 - Three left-footed shots from range in the first half summed up Keita's decision making. He got into some hopeful positions before being replaced, but once again wasted his chances.
FW Cody Gakpo, 6 - One of Liverpool's brighter players, particularly during his spells of link-up play with Nunez, and he also chose the right moments to run at defenders. Could have done better with his strikes at goal.
FW Darwin Nunez, 6 - Nunez was able to get the ball into dangerous areas but lacked end product. He was involved in the majority of Liverpool's best moments of play and had a big chance to reduce the deficit in the second half, but his effort went straight at goalkeeper Jose Sa.
FW Mohamed Salah, 5 - Flashed a strike over the bar in a game where he didn't look confident to challenge defenders directly. Attempted to play too many first-time balls without looking and these frequently turned over possession.
Jordan Henderson, 6 - Introduced for Keita in the 65th minute and recycled the ball well, but the Liverpool skipper didn't make an impact going forward.
Harvey Elliott, N/R - Worked hard when introduced, sprinting back to defend against the counterattack despite the game being out of sight.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, N/R - He had little time to make an impact. Won a corner from his effort at goal.
James Milner, N/R - Another Premier League appearance for Milner but little time to do anything.