3 min: Traore gets a chance to cross with the lights on this time. His ball is met by Jimenez, who heads harmlessly wide right. A fast start by the hosts.
2 min: The lights, back on, are bright enough for us to continue. Wolves are livid that Liverpool are given a drop ball to restart, as Traore was on the attack and preparing to whip one into the mixer. Wolves are livid. So much for Molineux floodlit friendlies!
Wolves get this third-round replay underway. Traore romps down the right wing and is about to cross … when the floodlights momentarily fail! Molineux descends into darkness for a couple of seconds before they come back on. Very eerie.
The teams are out! Wolves wear their famous old gold, while Liverpool sport their equally storied red. A rare old atmosphere at a very cold Molineux. Hi-ho Wolverhampton. “Good afternoon Scott, from sunny California.” Hello Mary Waltz, from frozen Britain. “I root for the relegation-threatened Blue side of the Mersey but I feel sorry for Klopp. I know I am not supposed to but the collapse of Liverpool has been so sudden and I miss the joyous Klopp of the last year or two. Sullen Klopp is sad to watch.” He seemed happy enough in that pre-match interview on the Beeb, to be fair. How long that will last, we shall see. We’ll be off in a couple of minutes.
Julen Lopetegui is asked by the BBC whether he’s still fuming about the performance of the referee and the VAR at Anfield … “Today we have a big game at home against one of the best teams in the world. We have to put our focus only on this. We have tried to choose our best line-up, knowing we have to be 100 percent, all the players.”
… while Jurgen Klopp is asked whether the quick turnaround from the Brighton fiasco is a blessing for Liverpool. “We will see! After a game like that, there is no chance for any kind of good mood. You need time to process and let it settle. There’s always the next game, which is good, and it gives you a new opportunity, and that’s what we are here for. We want to go to the next round. I know how it looks at the moment. In the last game, Wolves scored a goal which maybe should have been allowed, or not, but now we are here and want to give it a proper try. Some changes we had to make, some we wanted to make. We want the fresh legs to have a better chance to win it.”
Wolves make two changes from the XI named at Anfield. Jose Sa and Joao Moutinho come in for Matija Sarkic and Goncalo Guedes. Diego Costa returns from the workshop and takes up his place on the bench.
By contrast, Liverpool rip it up and start again. Only three players who started the original tie keep their place: Ibrahima Konate, Thiago and Cody Gakpo. In come Caoimhin Kelleher, James Milner, Joe Gomez, Kostas Tsimikas, Stefan Bajcetic, Naby Keita, Harvey Elliott and Fabio Carvalho. Darwin Nunez remains injured. (For the record, it’s also eight changes from the rabble sent out for last Saturday’s debacle at Brighton, with Konate, Thiago and Gakpo once again the only three to keep their place, so whichever way you slice it, Jurgen Klopp has given everything a good old shoogle.)
Wolverhampton Wanderers: Sa, Lembikisa, Collins, Toti, Jonny, Hodge, Neves, Moutinho, Traore, Jimenez, Ait-Nouri.
Subs: Sarkic, Podence, Hwang, Cunha, Semedo, Kilman, Nunes, Costa, Bueno.
Liverpool: Kelleher, Milner, Gomez, Konate, Tsimikas, Bajcetic, Thiago, Keita, Elliott, Carvalho, Gakpo.
Subs: Alisson, Fabinho, Salah, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Jones, Robertson, Matip, Phillips, Doak.
Wolves can barely lay a glove on Jurgen Klopp and Liverpool in the Premier League – they’ve lost the last eight meetings in a row – but in the FA Cup it’s a vastly different story. Back in 2017 they went to Anfield and did this …
… then two years later at Molineux this happened …
… and finally the other week they were a dubious offside decision away from making it three in a row …
… so can Julen Lopetegui’s rejuvenated side complete the triptych against increasingly dysfunctional opponents tonight? We’ll soon find out, even if there must be extra time and penalties. Kick off is at 7.45pm GMT. It’s on!