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.
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.
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 Everton. With 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.
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.
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.