A horror-show performance from Alisson condemned holders Liverpool to an FA Cup third-round replay after they were held 2-2 by Wolves on Saturday.
The Reds goalkeeper was at direct fault for the visitors’ opener and leaked a soft second, as Goncalo Guedes and Hwang Hee-chan netted at Anfield.
Goals from Darwin Nunez and Mohamed Salah dug Jurgen Klopp’s men out of danger between those Wolves strikes, while Cody Gakpo also impressed on his club debut.
Yet the lapses at the back proved costly for the holders, and Julen Lopetegui’s visitors will feel they had their chances to claim an underdog win outright against the holders.
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) January 7, 2023
They certainly seized their opportunity in the 26th minute when Alisson fired a routine clearance straight to the unmarked Guedes, with the Portugal international lashing a low finish straight back past the Brazilian.
But Liverpool wrestled themselves back on the stroke of half-time after Nunez tucked home a sublime cross from Trent Alexander-Arnold with a deft volley.
Seven minutes after the interval, Gakpo helped put the hosts ahead after Salah finished his chipped ball, with the forward played onside by a botched Tote Gomes clearing header.
That looked like it could have been enough for the hosts, but Alisson was at fault again after Hwang was able to smother a tame shot past him at the left post in the 66th minute.
Hwang’s goal sparked a frantic final stretch, with Wolves seeing a third goal chalked off by the linesman’s flag in the closing stages, as neither could ultimately find the winner that would have avoided the need for a reunion at Molineux down the line.
— Emirates FA Cup (@EmiratesFACup) January 7, 2023
What does it mean? Stalemate sets up rematch
Despite being knocked out of EFL Cup contention already, Liverpool will have not wanted another fixture to add to a congested schedule.
Yet this draw with Wolves means they must go around again, with their visitors earning a deserved replay following an energetic performance on Merseyside.
Alisson has one to forget
Replays of his hopeless pass and Guedes’ finish will doggedly follow the Liverpool goalkeeper for the next few weeks, but it only proved a snapshot of a tough day at the office for Alisson.
His 77.4 per cent pass completion rate inside his own half was the third-worst of any Liverpool player, though he made a few late darts from his box to deny Wolves breakaway moves too.
Wolves earn rich reward
With five shots on target and 11 attempts overall, the visitors edged Liverpool (three of 10 shots on target) despite having less overall possession, with just 35.9 per cent.
Though they were gifted a lucky opener by the opposition goalkeeper, Wolves will relish their second bite when they meet again for the replay.
Key Opta facts
– Liverpool have failed to win just three of their last 14 games against Wolves in all competitions (W11 D1 L2), with all three of those matches coming in the FA Cup (2-1 losses in 2017 and 2019 and this draw).
– Salah (173 goals in 280 games) has overtaken Kenny Dalglish (172 goals in 515 games) to become Liverpool’s all-time seventh-highest goalscorer.
– Liverpool have conceded first in four of their last five games in all competitions, while Alisson has made 10 errors leading to opposition goals since joining the Reds in 2018-19.
– Aged 24 years and 92 days, Alexander-Arnold became the youngest player to reach 250 appearances for Liverpool since Michael Owen in March 2003 (23y 89d). He has provided two assists in his last two games for Liverpool, as many as in his previous 37.
Wolves stay in knockout competition with an EFL Cup quarter-final tie against Nottingham Forest on Wednesday, while Liverpool return to Premier League action against Brighton and Hove Albion next Saturday.