​Liverpool opened up a four point lead at the top of the Premier League with a 2-0 win against Wolves on Friday night.


Despite an encouraging start from the home side, Liverpool took the lead in the 18th minute as Fabinho's cutback - following some smart play with Sadio Mane - was comprehensively finished with the outside of the foot by Mohamed Salah for the Egyptian's 11th league goal of the season.


Wolves to their credit responded well after going a goal behind, with Jonny and Matt Doherty both drawing saves from Alisson as the hosts caused the Reds a number of problems, especially through their wing-backs, although couldn't find an equaliser before the interval. 

Liverpool began the second half on the front foot following a poor opening 45 minutes, and managed to double their lead with just over 20 minutes remaining.


The ball found Salah on the edge of the area following an initial corner, with the forward producing a lovely clipped ball to find Virgil van Dijk, who finished well from five yards out to give Jurgen Klopp's side a two-goal cushion. 

Wolverhampton Wanderers v Liverpool FC - Premier League

Substitute Morgan Gibbs-White spurned a great chance to gets Wolves back into the game before added time, while Georgino Wijnaldum did likewise at the other end, but it mattered little as Liverpool secured the win. 


WOLVERHAMPTON WANDERERS


Key Talking Point


Nuno Espirito Santo's side had shown in previous games against the top six this season that they're more than capable of competing against the best in the Premier League, and the Midlands club caused the Reds a number of problems, especially in the first half. 

Wolverhampton Wanderers v Liverpool FC - Premier League

The wing-backs for Wolves were a handful for the visitors on the counter-attack against a sloppy Liverpool in the opening 45 minutes, as they cut through them on numerous occasions, although weren't able to capitalise on their good play.


There was little to excite the home fans in the second period, yet have proven to be a very dangerous Premier League side when it all clicks. 


Player Ratings


Starting XI: Rui Patricio (6); Bennett (5), Coady (6), Boly (6); Doherty (7*), Saiss (6), Neves (6), Jonny (6); Moutinho (6); Jimenez (5), Traore (5). 


Substitutes: Cavaleiro (5), Gibbs-White (6), Vinagre (N/A). 


STAR MAN


Matt Doherty was Wolves' main threat when they had their best spell in the first period, with his runs both down the right and inside giving the hosts plenty of joy, so much so that he managed to subdue the usually attack-minded Andy Robertson. 



​WORST PLAYER

Although showing great pace in the final third, Adama Traore couldn't produce when in the position to shoot, and caused a number of attacks to break down due to being offside on too many occasions. 


​LIVERPOOL

​Key Talking Point


It wasn't Liverpool's best performance of the season, although that will matter little to those who follow the Reds, as Klopp's side managed to secure top spot heading into Christmas. 

Wolverhampton Wanderers v Liverpool FC - Premier League

While the quality was lacking from them during large spells of the game, with slack passes from Fabinho and Naby Keita at either ends of the first half almost gifting Wolves chances, they had the quality to take their chances when it mattered through their best two players in Salah and Van Dijk. 


The last four teams that have led the Premier League at Christmas have gone on to win the title, with performances such as this certainly helping their cause. 


Player Ratings


Starting XI: Alisson (6); Milner (6), Lovren (5), Van Dijk (8*), Robertson (6); Fabinho (7), Henderson (6); Mane (5), Firmino (5), Keita (5); Salah (8). 


Substitutes: Lallana (5), Wijnaldum (6), Clyne (N/A). 


STAR MAN


While Salah grabbed a goal and assist, Virgil van Dijk was immense for the visitors, capping a fine display with his first Premier League goal for the Reds.


The Dutchman was calm and assured as always at the back, reading the danger well and very rarely gave the ball away when in possession, in what was another fine performance from the centre-back. 



​WORST PLAYER

It wasn't quite Naby Keita's night at Molineux, with the former RB Leipzig midfielder failing to impact the game from a wide left position. 


His passing range was off for the vast majority of his 58 minutes on the field, with a poor pass in giving Doherty a chance late into the firsthalf, before the Guinean international was forced off due to injury. 




​​Looking Ahead


Both sides return to action on Boxing Day as the fixtures come thick and fast during the festive period, as Wolves travel to London to face Fulham.


Liverpool meanwhile welcome former boss Rafael Benitez back to Anfield when they host Newcastle.