Liverpool reached the fourth round of the FA Cup by beating Wolverhampton Wanderers 1-0 on Tuesday evening. It was their third successive visit to Molineux ending with that scoreline.
Where Diogo Jota was the goal scorer in 2020/21 and Divock Origi the injury time hero last season, here the Reds had Harvey Elliott to thank for the decisive moment. The youngster netted for the fourth time in 2022/23, though admitted afterwards he is keen to contribute more.
“I feel like I’ve been judged a bit on assists and goals, and it’s definitely something I’ve been working on,” Elliott said. “It felt like it was the right opportunity, and thankfully it came off today.” It was a fabulous strike and the type of goal which Liverpool have largely lacked so far this season.
The 19-year-old collected the ball from Thiago Alcantara just inside the Reds’ half. Elliott drove forward to around 30 yards from goal and let fly.
Clearly the shot, which took advantage of goalkeeper Jose Sa’s poor positioning, was the most eye-catching aspect of the goal. Seeing a Liverpool player dribble with the ball before scoring was arguably more interesting though.
Opta have a metric called carries, which are defined as “the player moving the ball five metres or more.” Some men – such as Thiago or Joe Gomez – average 20 or more every 90 minutes, but few of them end with a player scoring. It has occurred just three times in the 2022/23 Premier League for a member of Jurgen Klopp’s squad.
In the 1-1 draw with Crystal Palace, Luis Diaz dribbled from near the touchline into the ‘D’ on the edge of the penalty area before striking. The next instance was far subtler, with Roberto Firmino carrying the ball into the Arsenal box to create room to score. Mohamed Salah added his name to the collection in the following league match, moving away from Joao Cancelo to grab the winner against Manchester City.
Three goal-ending carries doesn’t sound like many but it isn’t actually too bad. Only Brighton (seven), City, Newcastle (both six), Palace and Leicester (both four) have more this season. Diaz and Salah have each recorded one apiece in the Champions League too. What is interesting is that only forwards have scored them for the Reds though.
Granted, Elliott was in the front three at Wolves, but he’s more commonly found in the midfield and his carry for the goal started in that sort of position anyway. He has also had more carries leading to shots than any other midfielder at the club (and only one fewer than the rest combined) but it would be a positive if Liverpool’s number 19 could turn them into goals on a more regular basis.
It would also help if a few more shots from distance found the net. The Reds have scored four goals from outside th…