A lot has been said about the application of Manchester United's players this season. Inconsistent performances have already put paid to a title challenge and, ultimately, cost Ole Gunnar Solskjaer his job, but their work-rate could not be questioned as Ralf Rangnick made a winning start to life at Old Trafford.
Rangnick's first match as United interim manager came less than 72 hours after Michael Carrick's last as caretaker boss. Such was the proximity of Sunday's match with Crystal Palace and Thursday's 3-2 victory over Arsenal, the German was afforded just a single 45-minute training session on a pitch with his new players.
Throughout a whirlwind week in which his work permit was approved and his appointment was confirmed, Rangnick was keen to downplay the speed with which his appointment could transform United's fortunes. But, to everyone's surprise, including Rangnick's, there were visible signs of improvement from the outset.Image: Ralf Rangnick and Cristiano Ronaldo embrace after Man Utd's win over Crystal Palace
"To be honest, I was positively surprised by the physical state, intensity and performance of the players," Rangnick admitted after Sunday's 1-0 victory over Palace.
The German's famous Gegenpressing tactics were evident from the off, with United winning back possession in the final third six times in the opening 25 minutes, and six more times before the final whistle sounded. To put that into context, the most United had managed in a Premier League game this season was seven.
Throw into the mix a first home clean sheet of the campaign at the 11th attempt, and Fred's fabulous winning goal with his unfavoured right foot, and Rangnick's debut, while not thrillingly entertaining, gave a glimpse of what the future could hold for Manchester United.
Now it is time to head to the training ground, if the hectic festive schedule will allow.
Lucas Moura's screamer rightly grabbed the headlines after Tottenham's win over Norwich. It was a thunderbolt to cap a brilliant passage of play from the hosts. But perhaps the most satisfying thing for Conte, as he reflects on the 3-0 win, will be the way his side are beginning to play the way he wants.
It was a strange first-half performance from the hosts, which saw bottom-of-the-table Norwich dominate possession, but in patches Spurs were slick, whether that was instigated by the impressive Oliver Skipp driving through the midfield, or quick link-up play between Harry Kane and Heung-Min Son, reminiscent of their connections at the start of last season.
In the second half, though, it was a more consistent display, with Spurs taking greater control of the contest. By full-time, with the Spurs fans singing Conte's name, there was an optimistic feeling around the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium that the team are back on the right path.
Perhaps Conte has found a way to put the pieces of this Spurs squad into the right places. "In that role specifically, I can get the best out of Ben Davies," Conte said afterwards about the left-sided centre back, as an example, while the balance of Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and Skipp in midfield looked good, and the front three are beginning to click together.
It would be wrong to get carried away about a victory over a side which sits 20th in the Premier League, but rather than the result, it was the manner of Tottenham's performance and the feeling around the ground which offers encouragement the Conte era is beginning to take shape.
And so Steven Gerrard's flying start to life as Aston Villa manager continues. Their 2-1 victory over Leicester was their third in four games under the former Liverpool midfielder. It was all the sweeter for Gerrard given it came against his old manager.
Villa suffered an early setback when Harvey Barnes gave Brendan Rodgers' side an early lead but the early evidence suggests Gerrard is fostering a strong spirit among his players. They responded with a goal inside three minutes. Soon, they seized control of the game.
Konsa's header, his second goal of the evening, won it for them but the way Gerrard managed the game in the second period was impressive too. Well organised and dangerous on the break: Villa were everything Rodgers' Leicester side used to be.
The question now is whether Gerrard can do to Jurgen Klopp - the man who gave him his first coaching job in Liverpool's academy, and whose shoes he would one day love to fill - what he did to Rodgers when Aston Villa face Liverpool at Anfield on Saturday.
"I just want to go there and try and win and try to take what we can," said Gerrard afterwards, shrugging off the sentimentality of the fixture. "We are not competing with Liverpool in terms of the level we are both at, at the moment, but we'll certainly go there and give everything we've got.
"We took City to the wire and I believe we should have got something out of the game with our second-half performance. So, we go there with confidence and belief, with three wins out of four and we go and try and make it as difficult as we can."
Privately, Gerrard will also be eager to make another statement about his managerial ability - and his long-term suitability for the task of succeeding Rodgers and Klopp in the Liverpool dugout.
"It's killing us at the moment," said Brendan Rodgers after Leicester's 2-1 defeat to Aston Villa. The Foxes boss was referring to their vulnerability from set-pieces after Villa became just the latest side to exploit their major weakness.
This time, Ezri Konsa was the beneficiary. For the equalising goal, he got a toe to Emi Buendia's header after Leicester failed to clear their lines from a free kick. For the winner, he capitalised on poor marking to head home John McGinn's corner at the far post.
According to Opta, and excluding penalties, they were the ninth and 10th goals Leicester have conceded from set-pieces this season - the joint-most in the Premier League along with Crystal Palace.
Rodgers could not hide his disappointment afterwards and pointed the finger squarely at his players.
"It's just, 'do your job'," he told Sky Sports. "We do lots of really detailed work on set-pieces. We know that Konsa comes at the back post, and that him and Mings are the two big threats.
"We've got to get tight to him. Just being there or around it isn't enough. He ends up getting a free header so that's disappointing for us."
Rodgers clearly feels the blame lies with his players but they may feel their training-ground preparations are falling short. Either way, Leicester are paying a heavy price. This defeat, their sixth of the season, leaves them in the bottom half of the table.
Finding a solution to their set-piece woes must be a priority.
There appeared little likelihood of Leeds scrambling a point before Patrick Bamford stepped off the bench to score a stoppage-time equaliser.
Bamford, making his first appearance in over two months as a second-half substitute after recovering from an ankle injury, marked his comeback by levelling in the fifth minute of added time.
It was described by Bielsa as "a goalscorer's goal" and Leeds have their scorer of goals back at an opportune moment. Their fixture list makes grim reading: trips to Chelsea and Manchester City are up next before they host Arsenal. Liverpool at Anfield on Boxing Day completes a daunting quartet.
It means Bamford had to hit the ground running after 11 games out. As with any striker judged on his goals, he pictured the one chance that would fall his way and was rewarded for sensing where Luke Ayling's flick-on would land.
"I felt rusty as hell to be honest," Bamford said afterwards. "But I always felt once I was out on the pitch I was going to get one touch.
"Sometimes, when you're out through injury you become a better player all of a sudden. There was a bit of pressure but to score is always nice especially as it rescued a point."
The way Leeds went from being in a position of complete control to all of a sudden floundering during a 10-minute spell will concern Bielsa. But with Bamford marking his first appearance since mid-September off the bench, he will believe they have every chance of derailing those with loftier ambitions over the coming weeks.
No player has scored more goals from the bench for Liverpool in the Premier League than Divock Origi and that total does not even include the one that he scored against Tottenham in the 2019 Champions League final. This was yet another important goal for the club.
Origi's stoppage-time winner at Molineux was also reward for Jurgen Klopp's positive substitution in removing his captain Jordan Henderson. Wolves have a strong defensive record, riding their luck at times as they sought what would have been a fourth consecutive Premier League clean sheet. It took Origi to change that.
"Divock Origi, the legend," as Klopp put it in his post-match press conference. "He is an incredible football player. To create these moments he does not need a big run-up. He was a threat before he scored. That goal we have seen often in training."
Klopp even went as far as to describe Origi as one of the best finishers that he had ever seen in his life and was keen to point out that in just about any other team in the world, the Belgian striker would be featuring rather than more than he does at Liverpool.
Was he close to leaving in the summer?
"If I was at another team I would have gone for him," he said. "Just because you are not playing for Liverpool does not mean you are not good. Top striker and a top boy. He has already scored some of the most important goals in the history of this club."
It must take a certain mentality to be able to accept the situation and adjust to the tempo of games when not used to playing regularly. Origi has carved out a role for himself and carved out a place in Liverpool's folklore. Klopp summed up the mood in a sentence.
"Winning is great but when Divock scores it is better."
This would have been a tough two points dropped for Liverpool if they had not found a way past Wolves late on, particularly given that the opening was there following Chelsea's slip against West Ham earlier in the afternoon. How crucial the goal could prove.
A smiling Klopp would not concede it was the mark of champions. "If you do it 38 times, yes," he said. "If you do it once, no." Even so, the celebrations on the Molineux touchline told their own tale. "It was really important. It was a really big day for us, to be honest."
Liverpool were up against a team that had not conceded in their previous three games. It was an unfortunate moment for the Premier League top scorers to be wasteful in front of goal but Sadio Mane and, in particular, Diogo Jota both spurned opportunities.
"We missed a lot of chances and we had to defend the counter-attacks of Wolves with Traore who is quick. That was the challenge today. In the circumstances, I liked the way we played. It was really good apart from the finishing, the last pass, these kind of things."
Patience paid off and the momentum continues just as Chelsea's appears to be stalling. There is a long way to go but after so many convincing victories for Liverpool, perhaps it is encouraging that they were able to win a game that they really had to work for.
"We said at the end it was like old times where we got the goal when we really needed it at the end. It is an important skill to stay positive. We have not needed that too often this season but it is still an incredibly important skill and thank God we could show it today."
Before kick-off, there was an ominous feeling at Watford. The hosts had lost their last 13 matches with Man City, and Pep Guardiola arrived at Vicarage Road with a replenished squad. By the final whistle, the alarm bells were instead ringing in Liverpool and west London.
Man City's dominant display in the 3-1 win was a show of their strength and a statement to their rivals following Chelsea's defeat earlier in the day.
In truth, they should have scored far more, with Jack Grealish wasting a host of first-half chances and City striking the post twice in the second half. But the return to fitness of their £100m man, along with Phil Foden, Ilkay Gundogan, and Kevin De Bruyne, has bolstered their options just as the busiest period of the season approaches.
But City also have a handy run of games coming up, before playing Arsenal and Chelsea at the start of January.
If they keep playing like this - and as much as Bernardo Silva has been brilliant, Guardiola has in-form options across the pitch right now - they won't give Liverpool and Chelsea much chance to strike back before the calendar year is out. They could hit 2022 with real momentum.
We seem set for a thrilling three-way title race and the leading trio have all had surprising slip-ups at times, which adds to the excitement - but City are in pole position now.
Chelsea had only conceded more than one goal in two out of 52 games under Thomas Tuchel before their trip to the London Stadium. Their defensive record under the German has been extraordinary. But did West Ham expose cracks in their foundations?
Certainly, questions will be asked of Edouard Mendy. The goalkeeper, normally a picture of reliability for the Blues, was not helped by Jorginho's loose pass when conceding the penalty for West Ham's opener but there can be no excuses for Arthur Masuaku's winner.
His positioning was poor and he was not the only member of Chelsea's defensive unit who endured a difficult afternoon. Reece James was not his usual self. Antonio Rudiger struggled with Michail Antonio's physicality. Even Thiago Silva suffered lapses of concentration.
Injuries have hit them hard. Ben Chilwell's thrust was missed on the left-hand side, where Marcos Alonso struggled before his second-half withdrawal, while Andreas Christensen also underperformed in the absence of Trevoh Chalobah.
Kai Havertz's injury forced Romelu Lukaku back into action prematurely - the Belgian was clearly not fully fit - while N'Golo Kante and Mateo Kovacic were missed in midfield, where Jorginho lacked his usual composure and Ruben Loftus-Cheek only impressed in patches.
Tuchel cannot complain about a lack of depth. Chelsea's squad is arguably the strongest in the Premier League. But the foundations upon which their recent success has been built suddenly look a little less sturdy than before.
After the crushing disappointment of Brighton's late equaliser on Wednesday night, West Ham returned to the London Stadium and produced the perfect response. It feels like anything is achievable for this team right now.
Chelsea don't concede goals. At least they don't concede many. But West Ham did what only two other opponents had managed in their previous 52 games under Thomas Tuchel, scoring more than one goal against them. In fact, they scored three.
Arthur Masuaku's freakish third won it, sparking delirious scenes of celebration inside the ground, but Jarron Bowen's second, struck low from the edge of the box, was the pick of them. The 24-year-old epitomises their fighting spirit. He can play, too.
Bowen was outstanding at both ends of the pitch - just as he has been throughout the season. His speed and directness terrified Chelsea and when it seemed the game was slipping away from the hosts, it was him who drove them forward.
He helped them defensively too, of course. No player on the pitch got close to his total of 25 high-intensity sprints, according to Premier League tracking data, while only Declan Rice regained possession on more occasions (10).
Bowen does not attract as much acclaim as many of his team-mates but his importance to David Moyes' side cannot be underestimated. Their presence in the Champions League places owes a lot to him. It feels increasingly like they might stay there, too.
In succumbing to a 98th-minute equaliser from Neal Maupay in the 1-1 draw with Brighton, it is a result that will sting Ralph Hasenhuttl for some time on the eve of his third anniversary as Southampton manager.
This is a young Saints side boasting a starting XI with an average age of 25 years and 279 days - only Arsenal average younger - but with that comes a naivety which is all-too apparent.
It is difficult to assess the progress Hasenhuttl has made during his tenure; Southampton have recorded 33 points this calendar year - the fewest of any ever-present side but their inconsistency is evident within the same game.
The 20 matches lost in 2021 is the most of any team while their 14 goals scored is only more than Norwich (8), Tottenham (11) and Wolves (12). But they were by far the superior side against Brighton.Image: Southampton dropped more points from a winning position
Given their poor shot conversion rate, it was important that Saints continued their defensive improvement under Hasenhuttl this term, but what transpired were repeated late errors that contributed to two more dropped points.
It now stands at 72 points from winning positions since Hasenhuttl took over - 15 more than any other Premier League outfit. The late goal conceded here was compounded by a hamstring injury to Alex McCarthy which has left Southampton short in the goalkeeping department heading into a busy month.
"It's a horrible feeling and tomorrow it will be even harder," Hasenhuttl said afterwards. "We're not the first team to concede as late as this but it was absolutely not necessary."
Che Adams dropped to his knees as the final whistle was met by boos from the frustrated home fans. Their team had contrived to find a new way of chucking points down the drain. As Hasenhuttl retreated down the tunnel, it was certainly a sentiment he shared.
While Brighton's wait for a first league win was extended to a 10th game, this was a draw their supporters gleefully welcomed at the final whistle.
Indeed, it is now the Seagulls' longest winless run in the top-flight since a 10-game run between December 1982 and February 1983. But coming shortly after the St Mary's stadium announcer had provided the unwanted disruption that trains back to home 57 miles away had been cancelled, Maupay's finish was all the more sweeter.
Remarkably, 50 per cent of Brighton's away Premier League goals this season (4/8) have been scored in the 89th minute or later, with three coming in the 90th minute. Three of those four goals have been scored by Maupay (90th vs Crystal Palace and Southampton, 89th vs West Ham).Image: Graham Potter celebrates a hard-earned point
Brighton's biggest issue has been converting chances; only three sides in the division have scored fewer. But combining smart build-up play with a killer instinct can be addressed on another day.
For now, that can wait. Potter will count the cost of more casualties after Leandro Trossard was removed with a serious-looking elbow injury, but this was a point gained from a below-par display.
"I don't think it's as bad as we initially thought but the early analysis is that it's a bit more positive than we feared," Potter said on Trossard. "Over the next few days we'll have to assess it.
"We have to be honest as we weren't at our best in the first half. Southampton were a better version of themselves than we were and I have to take responsibility for that as well. We kept going even down to 10 men and in the end, it was great to score and to get a point."
A tally of 39 in 166 appearances is hardly prolific. An Anfield career which has spanned seven seasons has, at times, lurched alarmingly off track.
Yet few in the club’s illustrious history boast such a remarkable collection of spine-tingling moments. Few have been responsible for so many splayed limbs. His ratio of goals that resonate is truly unprecedented.
“Divock Origi is a legend,” beamed Jurgen Klopp. “People will write books about him hopefully. If not, then I’ll do it.”
Just when you think Origi’s story at Liverpool is finished, he adds another chapter. Just when you convince yourself that his race is run, he drags you back in by proving that he’s still got so much more left in the tank.
“Go out there and be Divock,” were Klopp’s parting words to him when he replaced captain Jordan Henderson after 68 minutes at Molineux.
It was a bold substitution. Origi gave Liverpool’s attack a different dimension. He held the ball up and linked play intelligently. Four minutes into stoppage time, he turned an afternoon of frustration into one of jubilation.
A game that was in danger of becoming a case of ‘after the Lord Mayor’s show’, after Liverpool had swept Everton aside in midweek, frustration was very much the flavour of this one for 93 minutes – until our Divock produced yet another piece of that beautifully weird voodoo of his.
The value of Origi to Liverpool FC is immeasurable.
Not in terms of a transfer fee, but just for the simple well-being of the club and the feel-good factor he engenders, a man that Klopp referred to as a legend in his round of post-match interviews.
As emotional and passionate a man as Klopp is, he always seems to be in the most consummate control of himself.
Yet after the events of the 94th minute away to Wolves, he struck the vision of a man that had been blown away, in the most joyous of manners.
There was a candid inner-thinking on offer from Klopp as he spoke; there was an open honesty that Origi deserves, the type of public assessment that perhaps no other player at the club would be afforded, when his manager talked about how he wished that his match-winner would one day play for a manager who would play him more often.
There was a paternal pride in not only the manager’s words, but also within his glistening eyes.
From his days in his homeland, there is the story of a player asking Klopp why he doesn’t get more games, only to be informed that he doesn’t complain enough.
Essentially, the player was easy to omit from his lineup, because he never kicked off about being left out.
It is undeniably easy for Klopp to omit Origi from his Liverpool lineup, and undoubtedly he clearly isn’t a player that will complain about it.
Yet, he remains utterly priceless to the Liverpool cause.
From his laidback nature, to the love his team-mates harbour for him, to his devotion to the club, absolutely everything that filters through about Origi is wrapped in total positivity.
As Klopp said on Saturday, Origi is a legend.
He really has cemented his place within the lore of Liverpool FC. He is both cult hero and traditional all-action hero rolled into one. Marvel should be looking into commissioning a movie about him.
Following in the footsteps of David Fairclough and Ronny Rosenthal, as the man brought in from the cold to save the day occasionally, Origi should cut an at-least-partly dejected figure upon the Liverpool periphery.
This just isn’t the way it is with Origi, though, a man whose position at Liverpool basically cost him a place in the Belgium squad for the Euros and had been a contributary factor in him missing out on a place in their 2018 World Cup squad.
None of this has brought Origi crashing down. He just waits patiently to be called upon, and then gives his all when the shout does come. I mentioned it a few weeks back, but Divock very much is that recurring character from a long-running and much-loved television show.
When Origi makes an impact, the imprint takes a long time to fade. He is a glorious conundrum, and we should never want to see the back of him.
Take another look at the moments that surround Liverpool’s winning goal on Saturday, and the rapture of the final whistle.
On the pitch, on the touchline, in the away section.
While we, as supporters, will still be here, year after year, decade after decade, for those managers and players who come and go, some of them willingly, others less so, they will never have as much fun in football as they do with a Liverbird upon their chest, whether we ultimately win as much as we should or not under Klopp. These are the days, my friend.
After a spate of collective near-misses, there was something almost formulaic about the match-winning contribution from Origi, considering he has pulled the rabbit out of the hat so many times before.
He offers a punchline that is somehow draped in comedy, on occasions like this, he delivers a punchline that the opposition can almost see coming their way, hopeless to stop it.
It is a footballing version of Ocean’s Eleven, and Origi is our greaseman. He is The Amazing Yen.
It was the most wonderful way to take advantage of Chelsea’s loss in the early kickoff, something we very nearly failed to capitalise upon. This win might just work as another of those springboards, from which we can bounce on through the Christmas period.
There is no coincidence that in his pre-match interviews, before his team took to the pitch at Vicarage Road, Pep Guardiola struck the image of a vaguely dejected man, because he knows that the value of a narrow last-minute win can be higher than a dominant 4-0 victory sometimes.
Next up, we dot the I’s and cross the T’s of the Champions League group stage, at the San Siro against old friends Milan, before we welcome Steven Gerrard and his Aston Villa to Anfield, for what will be a surreal occasion.
An interesting week lies in wait, before everything escalates towards the madness of Christmas.
The furore over Jurgen Klopp‘s ironic quip over the Africa Cup of Nations being a “little tournament” continues, though the latest headlines are not to be believed.
Incredibly, the truth still appears to have been conveniently set aside when it comes to claims the Liverpool manager disrespected the continent of Africa.
Following his joke that the Reds’ campaign will be disrupted by a “little tournament in Africa,” Klopp was confronted by an African journalist who missed the point completely and demanded he apologise.
Klopp explained that, even though he is not a native English speaker himself, the comments were ironic, which was clear to almost everyone watching on.
Now, falsified quotes attributed to Senegal manager Aliou Cisse have unsurprisingly made it into English publications, whose writers appear either not trained enough or not given enough time to separate truth from fiction.
“I respect Liverpool, but not Klopp, who undermines African football events. He is where he is today because of African footballers,” Cisse is claimed to have told itv Senegal.
“He was losing every final until Salah, Mane, Matip came to his rescue to win his first-ever major European final.”
These quotes initially surfaced on various Liverpool accounts on social media earlier in the week, but This Is Anfield had previously opted not to address them as they were quite obviously ‘fake news’.
But now the likes of the Mail and the Express have picked them up and the reputations of both Cisse and Klopp will enter the discussion, it seems only right to set things straight.
Cisse did not question Klopp’s integrity, nor did he ‘blast’ or ‘slam’ him for having “the guts to call AFCON a ‘small tournament’.”
Roughly translated, Cisse in fact told itv Senegal: “I can’t answer what Jurgen Klopp says because I don’t know in what context he’s saying it.
“I don’t know why he said it, [or] what the journalist’s question was.”
That makes considerably more sense than the manager of a national team attacking the manager of one of the biggest clubs in the world over an obvious misunderstanding.
However, while Cisse was diplomatic in his approach to Klopp’s words, he did point out that: “Klopp says out loud what a lot of coaches in Europe are whispering.”
There is clearly a sense that African football, and the AFCON, is still not held to the same regard as major competitions in Europe, but it is obvious that this is not what Klopp intended.
Don’t believe everything you read – particularly if it appears in a low-rent Sunday tabloid.
The forward’s injury-time strike snatched a 1-0 win at Molineux after the Reds dominated.
It briefly sent Liverpool top of the Premier League before Manchester City became the third team to lead the table on Saturday following their 3-1 win at Watford, Chelsea having started the day at the summit.
Origi, who has made just 34 league starts in seven years at Anfield, feels Jurgen Klopp’s men have the belief to remain in the hunt for the title.
He told the club’s official site: “I think that ties in with the values of the club – keep believing, keep going.
“In the end you can only control the moment you are in and just try to make the right play every time, even if you fail again and again.
“In the end, we are happy that we got the goal, even though it was a bit late. We enjoyed it. Winning games is all you work for.
“We try to work on the details during the week and we’re together the whole season to try to get wins.
“Getting that win, getting that goal is the best feeling and it keeps us also going with the momentum.”
Wolves looked like becoming the first team to stop Liverpool scoring since Real Madrid in April until Origi’s sucker punch in the fourth minute of stoppage time, when he collected Mo Salah’s cross to turn and score from six yards.
Wolves rarely threatened but their defensive display deserved more than late heartbreak, which cost them a spot in the top six.
“It’s the worst thing in football when you work hard to get the result and you concede a goal in the last minute of the game,” Ruben Neves told the club’s official site.
“We lost the ball in a transition but I thought we had done really well throughout all the game in transition. We went and lost it in the last minute.
“I think there was a little bit of disrespect to us before the game, with people saying Liverpool have got four goals already but we did well. They scored four goals in their last few games but we’ve not been conceding.
“We don’t get that much attention in the Premier League compared to the ‘big teams’ but I think we showed we’re not an easy team to beat. We will get to work again and go again next week at Manchester City.”
Divock Origi scored an injury-time winner to give Liverpool the three points away at Wolverhampton Wanderers on Saturday.
The striker came off the bench and fired in with 94 minutes on the clock, handing the Reds a crucial victory in the Premier League.
Here are five talking points from the match...
'Divock Origi, the legend, came and finished it off for us'
Just when you think it's decided, up pops Origi.
The No.27 added another to his insanely long list of important goals for Liverpool.
"I think that ties in with the values of the club – keep believing, keep going," the match-winner reflected.
But his introduction into the game after 68 minutes was far from a last throw of the dice by Jürgen Klopp.
A change in shape – that included Diogo Jota dropping slightly deeper – helped the Reds gain a foothold the further the game went on.
The winner was a well-crafted bit of play in the fourth of five minutes added-on time.
Virgil van Dijk's searching ball found Mohamed Salah, whose brilliant first touch created the space for a cut-back. There on the edge of the six-yard box was Origi, swivelling before clinically drilling past Jose Sa.
"It was his game,” Klopp explained afterwards. "He could be Divock Origi 100 per cent: in and around the box, use your body, use your technique, finish the situations off."
Origi's moment was the 13th game-winning goal scored in the 90th minute or beyond in the Premier League under Klopp.
Like the win at Aston Villa in 2019-20, it could turn out to be a huge moment in the title race.
Chelsea began the day top of the table but defeat at West Ham United saw them drop down to third, with Liverpool ahead in second by a point. Manchester City's win at Watford elevated them up to first place.
But as witnessed on Saturday, there's a long way to go and plenty of twists to come in the battle for the crown.
"It’s really important and feels really big today for us, to be honest," Klopp told his post-match press conference.
Salah adds to his stats
Salah may not have been on the scoresheet on Saturday, but the Egyptian still leads the Premier League Golden Boot race.
He's also top of the competition in another category, and added to that lead on Saturday.
The cross for Origi was his ninth assist in the top flight this term – two more than teammate Trent Alexander-Arnold and Paul Pogba.
The No.11's goal-involvement tally in all competitions for this season now stands at a staggering 28. It's early December...
It’s in our hands. https://t.co/DfNF3oQ1d6— MoSalah (Mohamed Salah) 4th Dec 21:07
The platform for Origi to be Origi was built from the back.
The Reds successfully resisted a threatening Wolves attack to land their ninth clean sheet in the 2021-22 Premier League. No team has more this season.
Alisson Becker was limited to just one save throughout the afternoon, while Joel Matip led the side by winning 10 of his duels.
On the overall team display, Origi summarised: "I would say it's a successful day."
Three big wins in seven days
It's been a hugely satisfying week for Klopp and his players.
Kicking it off with a big victory over Southampton, the Reds' nearest rivals were then comfortably dispatched before ending it with that type of win at Molineux.
Nine goals scored, one conceded and nine more points towards the total.
Up next is an encounter with AC Milan at the San Siro as Klopp's men go in search of 18 points from a possible 18 in Champions League Group B.
And then a certain Steven Gerrard returns to Anfield with his Aston Villa side for a Saturday 3pm GMT kick-off.
Fingers crossed for another successful seven days.
Enjoy every angle of Divock Origi's injury-time winner against Wolverhampton Wanderers.
The striker secured the three points for the Reds deep into stoppage time at Molineux with a well-taken finish.
Relive the moment plenty of times in the video above.
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Molineux, Premier League
Saturday 4 December, 2021
Goals: Origi 90+5′Patience and profligacy
Recent months have seen Liverpool go out and simply blitz everyone they come across, culminating in that record-breaking run of notching two or more in so many matches.
This, against a team who concede fewer shots on goal per match than any Premier League side other than the top three, was always going to be a very different occasion.
Wolves simply don’t allow you much space in the box without working very hard for it or having real quality in the build-up.
Of course the Reds would always create some chances and Diogo Jota had to score at least one of his big two, a header and an open goal, while Mane was denied late on and Trent blazed over in the first half.
And, then, Origi.
A reminder that our stellar attack is not utterly infallible and of why having a brilliant defence is a must as well, to keep a shut-out of their own and at least preserve the chance of victory until the last.Midfield mix
Liverpool’s centre of the park has been exemplary over the last few games, but they had a hit-and-miss time of things at Molineux.
Thiago had unquestionably the best outing of the trio, showing his passing and progressive play over and over again, including for the best two chances of the first half coming via his vision.
Defensively, too, he offered plenty in both halves, and if a few passes went wayward, it was a minor negative compared to some of the decision-making on show by certain individuals on both teams.
Jordan Henderson didn’t have a great outing after a few big recent showings, while Fabinho was excellent to start with but a little marginalised by necessity once he was booked for taking down Adama Traore.Adama Traore: Reds target or flashy and ineffective?
The past couple of weeks have seen Adama Traore rumours doing the rounds once more, a frequent name linked to Liverpool but rarely with any more end product than, well, than Adama himself across the course of a season.
In the first half, the allure and the possibility of his play was on show. Twice he carried the team about 40 yards upfield, weaving away from challenges into five yards of space each time.
Both occasions he overhit the pass at the end.
Second half, he forced an error from Van Dijk and his powerful running in possession got both Fab and Robbo booked, but overall, there was again very little in terms of real creativity from his good positions and no direct threat to Alisson.
Perhaps that is more the side of an undoubtedly exciting player which determines whether or not he’s a real addition option.Jota’s dismal day out
He should have won the game, simple as that. Some of Diogo’s off-the-ball work was decent, but this was one of those games when nothing he did in possession was simple or effective.
Missed passes overhit, bad choices made to shoot at some times and woeful execution at others.
Jota should have scored in the first half with a close-range header, sent wide, but every Premier League player should be scoring Jota’s second chance, basically an open goal after a defensive mix-up with just two defenders on the line, right together in the middle of the goal.
Pass to Mane? Roll it in either corner? Switch it to his right foot? Basically, anything other than the option he took would have ended up in a goal, but Jota blasted it with his left straight at the two defenders.
Wolves don’t give you many chances, but Liverpool forced a huge one – Jota blew it this time.
He owes Big Div a pint of Ribena.Title charge and Villa vibes
From a run of important fixtures to a total dead rubber, for all intents and purposes, in midweek.
We head to Milan knowing this is merely fixture fulfilment, aside from obvious financial and fitness implications from the 90 minutes.
A few players returning from injury will hope to feature, as will those who have been fit but out of the line-up for the past couple of weeks, like Ox and Kostas.
Meanwhile in the title race, the Reds are top of the table – at least for a couple of hours.
That late, late, late, late winner from Origi gives us serious Aston Villa vibes from the title season: that late turnaround where Mane and Robbo struck in stoppage time to turn defeat into three points and spark another upsurge of belief.
Chelsea‘s slip-up at West Ham both gave us a chance to pounce and also served as evidence that our own defeat there wasn’t all that bad after all – and now we’ve taken our chance to keep winning and leapfrog them. Onto the San Siro!
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Divock Origi netted the winner in the fourth minute of injury time to give the Reds the three points.
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As the Reds sought to trim their squad and raise funds in a difficult market, Origi was one of the players deemed up for sale at Anfield.
Wolves were among the clubs credited with an interest in the striker, as has been the case throughout the past few years, but no bids were received in a quiet window.
Origi has, then, stayed for his seventh season with Liverpool – albeit including a loan spell at Wolfsburg – reprising his squad role from the previous campaign.
Unlike in 2020/21, however, Origi is finding the back of the net again this term, with his effort at Molineux his fourth in nine appearances, averaging a goal every 78.3 minutes.
Speaking after the game, Klopp was asked about his stance on Origi’s future, and whether he had expected him to leave in the summer.
“If I was the manager of another club, I would [have gone] for it. That’s true,” he said.
“Because he didn’t have massive game time. But again, I can’t believe people think if you don’t play for Liverpool, you cannot be good.
“This team is outstanding, and if you are here, No. 12, 13, 14, then you are outstanding.
“I’m very happy that he’s still here, actually. I didn’t expect it to happen, but I wouldn’t have been surprised. That’s it.”
Origi’s goal against Wolves was the latest in a seemingly never-ending run of iconic moments at a club for which he has rarely played a regular starting role.
He is an enigmatic figure, but asked about the Belgian’s knack for stepping up when it matters most, Klopp was full of praise for his finishing ability and his mentality.
“He’s an incredible finisher. If we don’t know it at Liverpool, then who should know it? We saw it so often,” he said.
“How I said, it’s difficult to get 500 minutes a week in this team, because of the players we have, but Divock Origi is an incredible football player.
“He’s great in these moments, he doesn’t need a lot of time to get into a game – and especially not in this game today.
“It was his game. He could be Divock Origi, 100 percent. In and around the box, use your body, use your technique, finish the situations off.
“He was unlucky with the ball before, I think, he was involved in a lot of good moments, he was a threat before he scored.
“But this kind of goal we see plenty of times, in training and everywhere.
“So, yeah. Winning in the 95th minute is great, but when Div scores the goal, it makes it even better.”
During the title-winning campaign of 2019/20, it became a trademark for the Reds to claw until the very end to seal the three points needed each week.
This season, they have been largely dominant, winning nine of their 14 league fixtures before Saturday’s trip to Molineux by at least two goals – breaking a record for netting two or more in consecutive games across all competitions.
Speaking in his post-match press conference, Klopp recalled the 2-1 victory at Aston Villa in 2019 – which, like Origi against Wolves, saw Sadio Mane score in the 94th minute – and the “important skill” of staying positive.
“We said it after the game, it was like the good old times, our good old times, like two years or so ago. When we really needed it badly, like Aston Villa,” he said.
“It’s an important skill, to stay positive. We didn’t have that or it was not needed too often this season, but it’s still an incredibly important skill.
“Thank god we could show it today.
“It’s not a lucky win, even though, of course, it’s lucky when you score that late.
“It’s not a lucky win in the sense that they had chance after chance; we had chance after chance and just didn’t score.
“So I think the point would have been lucky for Wolves, and so it’s the right result.”
Asked if the manner of Liverpool’s win at Molineux was proof that they can win the Premier League title again this season, Klopp would not satisfy the journalists watching on.
However, he was full of praise for his side’s performance and, of course, the mental resolve shown to take the points so late.
“We’re not even halfway into the season. That you have glamorous wins like 20, 25 times a year is really unlikely, so who cares?” he said.
“We have to win football games, in different ways, and today was that way.
“The game was really difficult. I think you all saw Wolves playing this year very often, playing very different football to what they were allowed to play against us today.
“We really pushed them back, we were at them, our pressing was outstanding, our counter-press a lot of moments, recovery runs great.
“And then we create chances, but then there was wind and a deep-defending side, all these kinds of things makes it not easier.
“I’m not surprised that the boys stayed on track, but I don’t take it for granted as well.
“I’m really happy that we could show that skillset again today, because it was for a while not needed now.
“Today it was needed and it’s still there, and I’m really happy about that.”