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Wolves: Lopetegui must unleash Adama Traore v Liverpool

Wolverhampton Wanderers return to action tonight as they travel to Anfield to face an out-of-sorts Liverpool side.

With Julen Lopetegui’s reign at Molineux well and truly underway, the Spaniard will target this trip to Merseyside as a fine opportunity to cause an upset and truly kickstart what has been an underwhelming campaign for the Old Gold so far.

Having already earned success at Goodison Park in his first game in charge, a narrow loss to Manchester United and a draw at Aston Villa have underpinned a mixed start for the new Wolves boss.

However, with the Reds having lost last time out to Brentford, the Bees offered a blueprint as to how Jurgen Klopp’s team can be neutralised.

What Thomas Frank and several managers before him have done is target the positional inadequacies of Trent Alexander-Arnold, who offers so much to the Liverpool setup.

His creativity has been paramount to their recent success, but he has been questioned defensively in recent months due to his tendency to push forward and stay there. As such, the Old Gold must look to pinpoint this weakness with speed rather than technical proficiency.

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Despite Matheus Cunha being touted for his first start since moving from Atletico Madrid, it is Adama Traore who could truly expose the 24-year-old Liverpool right-back and be the catalyst for a cup upset.

Having been limited to mostly substitute appearances throughout the campaign, the Spaniard was imperative in the comeback win over EvertonWith the game poised at 1-1 deep into stoppage time, he was released down the right flank, from which he drove into the space and delivered a teasing ball for Rayan Ait-Nouri to slam home the winner.

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Bruno Lage on the touchline for Wolves.

1. Wolves kick-started 2022 with an impressive win over Manchester United at Old Trafford, who scored the winner?

He could duly have earned himself a start for tonight, utilising the pace and power which makes him such a frightening prospect. The 26-year-old ranks in the top 2% for dribbles completed and the top 7% for aerial duels won among positional peers in Europe’s top five leagues in 2022, further underlining this point.

The £55k-per-week machine, who was dubbed an “animal” by presenter Stephen Howson, could be the perfect player to force an issue that Gabby Agbonlahor highlighted last season.

Speaking on talkSPORT, the former Villa striker dubbed Alexander-Arnold “the weakness” in Liverpool’s team, also stating: “If I’m Villarreal tonight, I’m putting my quickest player on that left-hand side!”

Lopetegui could employ a similar tactic tonight as Wolves look to progress in the FA Cup.