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Opposition Watch: Wolves v Liverpool | Premier League

Following a disappointing 2020-21 campaign, Wolverhampton Wanderers decided to part ways with head coach Nuno Espirito Santo following four successful years at the helm.

A 13th place finish convinced the club to take a change of direction, with the recruitment of attack-minded coach Bruno Lage. 

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The Portuguese enjoyed an initial sensational spell in his native Portugal with Benfica.

After being appointed in February 2019, the club went on to win 18 and draw one of the club's last 19 league outings in the 2018-19 campaign. 

However, a poor run of form led to his dismissal a year later in June 2020.

It would be fair to suggest Lage has made an impressive start to life in England- with Wolves currently sitting in 8th place and just three points outside a Champions League spot.

However, while results have been positive, the Portuguese has not been able to stamp his authority in terms of the intense, offensive football which was often seen at Benfica. 

Expected goals per match have decreased from 1.49 to 1.29, while expected goals conceded has improved from 1.5 to 1.35. Clean sheet percentage has also seen an improvement from 26% to 36% of matches .

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This will be a surprise to many, considering the typically contrasting styles between Lage and his predecessor Espirito Santo.

The new boss has however maintained the structure of the side since their emergence into the top-flight, playing the familiar three-back system. 

Personnel has also largely remained the same with Conor Coady, Romain Saiss and Max Kilman heavily featuring at the heart of defence, with Nelson Semedo and Rayan Ait-Nouri operating in the wing-back roles.

Notable minor adjustments include a more narrow use of the wide attackers, in effect a 3-4-2-1 system. 

Players such as Francisco Trincao, Daniel Podence and Hwang Hee-Chan have largely been preferred to Adama Traore, with the new boss an admirer of his more technically-gifted forwards to link up with talisman Raul Jimenez.

The hosts will undoubtedly provide a stern test for Jurgen Klopp's Reds in front of the Molineux crowd, though the visitors should reign supreme, so long as their formidable offensive form continues.


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