Haven’t We Been Here Before?
Last Day, Loads To Play For
It will, after all, be another of those last-day Liverpool-Wolves showdowns that we have become so used to over the decades.
It isn’t a cliffhanger for Bruno Lage’s men, apart from wanting to nail down an eighth-place finish, but it has the potential to be huge for their hosts if another Lancashire v West Midlands meeting at the same time goes in their favour.
This Sunday, for the sixth time no less since the war, Liverpool line up against Wolves on the season’s final afternoon or night – and with the League title once more in their sights.
Victories at the expense of the gold and black secured the championship crown for the Merseysiders in 1947 and 1976 and, although three points at Anfield three years ago didn’t quite prove enough for Jurgen Klopp’s side, they are back in familiar territory this weekend.
Manchester City remain favourites to be crowned champions but a point or three for Villa along the M62 would open the door for Wolves’ familiar May opponents.
There was a time when these two clubs were up close and personal at the other end of a campaign (they met on the first day of both 1981-82 and 1983-84, both at Molineux) but here is a reminder of how they have so frequently met immediately prior to the League’s close season…..
May 31, 1947: Wolves 1 Liverpool 2 Heartbreak for Ted Vizard’s Wolves in Stan Cullis’s last match as a player. Needing only a point to win the League for the first time, the home side were defeated in front of a shirt-sleeved and sweltering 50,765 crowd. The title went to Anfield instead.
May 1, 1948: Liverpool 2 Wolves 1 Twelve months on and would you believe it? A repeat meeting, only this time at Anfield. The score was the same, too, but this time without the huge signficance because Wolves – in their last game under Vizard – finished fifth and their hosts six places lower than that.
April 26, 1965: Wolves 1 Liverpool 3 A case of the warm-up rather than the main event. Wolves were long since condemned to relegation and Liverpool had the forthcoming FA Cup final on their minds as they made so many changes that they landed in hot water with the Football League. But they still won.
May 4, 1976: Wolves 1 Liverpool 3 The match of the century, so the publicity told us….Wolves needed to win in order to have any chance of survival, Liverpool needed both points to top the pile yet again. Steve Kindon raised hopes in Bill McGarry’s final match but three goals deep in the second half in front of a 49,000 attendance brought about a familiar outcome.
May 12, 2019: Liverpool 2 Wolves 0 Like now, Klopp’s side needed to take care of their business and hope Manchester City tripped up. For a while, it looked on for them as Saido Mane scored the first of his two goals and Brighton led City at the Amex. Then the tide turned spectacularly on the south coast and The Reds were left disappointed.
May 22, 2022: Liverpool ? Wolves ? Have you spotted a recurring depressing theme? Liverpool have won all of these last-afternoon meetings, so it is high time the pattern was broken in four days’ time!