Liverpool went 50 top-flight games unbeaten at home for the second time in their history after they beat Wolves 1-0 at Anfield on Sunday.

The runaway Premier League leaders extended the gap at the top to 13 points thanks to Sadio Mane's goal, albeit Wolves had an equaliser controversially disallowed by VAR.

It brings up a half-century of successive league matches at Anfield without a defeat for Jurgen Klopp's side, who have won 40 games and drawn the remaining 10 and last lost on home turf in the league in a 2-1 defeat to Crystal Palace in April 2017.

Liverpool have achieved the feat previously, going 63 league games unbeaten at home between 1978 and 1980.

The record such run is held by Chelsea, who did not lose any of 86 consecutive league matches at Stamford Bridge between 2004 and 2008.

Sunday's result also ensured the European champions lost just once in the Premier League in 2019 – a 2-1 defeat to Manchester City on January 3, in their first match of the year.

Liverpool will begin the new year leading the Premier League by 13 points, with a game in hand on nearest rivals Leicester City, after rounding off a sensational 2019 with a 1-0 victory over Wolves at Anfield in which they benefited from two VAR decisions in quick succession.

Sadio Mane's first-half goal ultimately secured an 18th win from 19 Premier League games for Jurgen Klopp's side, whose only dropped points so far this season came courtesy of a draw at Manchester United in October.

However, Mane's strike was only awarded after a VAR check, referee Anthony Taylor having initially penalised Adam Lallana for handball, and Wolves thought they had drawn level in first-half injury time, only for Pedro Neto's strike to be retrospectively ruled out for offside.

An aggrieved Wolves showed more ambition after falling behind, with Adama Traore and Raul Jimenez both introduced from the bench in the second period, but Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson had little to do as the hosts maintained their relentless form.

After winning the Champions League and Club World Cup this year, Liverpool will now enter 2020 as overwhelming favourites to end their 30-year wait for a domestic league title.

Mohamed Salah and Georginio Wijnaldum both fired over from presentable positions inside the Wolves box as Liverpool dominated the first period against opponents who were content to play a containing game less than 48 hours on from their 3-2 win over Manchester City, while a Roberto Firmino header flashed narrowly wide.

The Reds did find the breakthrough after 42 minutes when Lallana diverted Virgil van Dijk's lofted ball into Mane's path and the striker stroked home a first-time finish. After a lengthy delay, VAR ruled Lallana had not used his hand, the ball instead striking the top of his shoulder, although it also appeared the ball had hit Van Dijk on the arm earlier in the move.

Wolves' frustrations at the decision were soon heightened when Neto found the bottom-left corner from Jonny Castro Otto's deflected cross, only for VAR to once more rule against them, with the latter player adjudged offside by the narrowest of margins.

The visitors understandably took more chances after the break and Alisson was forced to stand firm at his near post after Diogo Jota had caught Van Dijk in possession before shooting powerfully at goal.

Although Liverpool's own threat faded, they faced few other moments of alarm until the closing minutes, when Joao Moutinho and Romain Saiss both shot wastefully over and Ruben Vinagre sliced an even better chance wide.

 

What does it mean? Liverpool round off 2019 in fitting fashion

This year will go down as one of Liverpool's most memorable, no mean feat for a club with such a history of success. As if a sixth European title and a maiden Club World Cup win were not enough, Klopp's side have been astonishingly consistent in domestic action, their only league defeat in the calendar year coming at Manchester City on January 3. Liverpool finished a point behind City with 97 points last term. They will surely not be beaten this time around.

Mane the man once again

Salah and Firmino both failed to take their first chances, but Mane was clinical for Liverpool's opener. The Senegal forward has been involved in 30 Premier League goals this year (24 goals, six assists), a tally only topped by Leicester's Jamie Vardy (34).

Dendoncker endures dismal day

Leandro Dendoncker completed fewer than half of his attempted passes and was particularly inaccurate in the opposition half before he was understandably withdrawn 13 minutes in the second half.

What's next?

Liverpool, who are now unbeaten in 50 home top-flight matches, welcome Sheffield United to Anfield on Thursday, while Wolves have one day fewer to recover before they face Watford at Vicarage Road.

Jordan Henderson clinched his status as the player with the most Premier League appearances in the 2010s when he lined up against Wolves on Sunday.

Liverpool's captain was selected in Jurgen Klopp's starting XI for the Anfield fixture, as the Reds looked to extend their lead at the top of the table.

It brought up a 308th appearance in the top flight since the start of 2010 for the 29-year-old, who made the move from Sunderland to Liverpool in 2011.

Team-mate James Milner, named as a substitute against Wolves, began the game with 306 Premier League appearances during this decade.

Watford goalkeeper Ben Foster has also played 306 Premier League games since January 1, 2010.

Trent Alexander-Arnold's mentality is "absolutely spot on" and there is little fear of ego hindering his progress, according to Liverpool team-mate James Milner.

Right-back Alexander-Arnold has been a key member of Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool team in recent campaigns, starring in last season's Champions League triumph and this term's charge to the top of the Premier League table.

The England international particularly stood out in the Boxing Day demolition of second-placed Leicester City, scoring one goal and providing two assists in a 4-0 success.

Milner, who tucked away a penalty won following a cross from Alexander-Arnold for the third, is confident the 21-year-old can continue to improve, aided by the tutorship of Klopp and his Liverpool colleagues.

"There's a long way to go and we don’t want him to become a big head, but he won't because there are plenty of people around him in this dressing room that, if he does, will pop it straight away," Milner told reporters.

"For me, one of the most impressive things about him is his mentality. You can admire him ability wise, but his mentality is great.

"He's got a great attitude. That's so important. He will keep improving and, if he keeps doing what he's doing, given how young he is, he'll have people talking about him for a long, long time.

"He can be very good. He's pretty good now, isn't he? You see the amount of games he's played and occasions he's played in - Champions League finals, big games, pushing-for-the-league-title games.

"There's a lot more to come from him. He's going to make mistakes and will have to bounce back from them. You get disappointments.

"The manager has taken him out of the team at times, but he always shows the right attitude. He knows it's for his benefit or the benefit of the team. His mentality is absolutely spot on, and his ability is incredible.

"There's a lot more to come from him, and he will keep on improving and be a massive player for Liverpool for many years to come."

Could Gareth Bale's time in Madrid be coming to an end?

Linked to the Chinese Super League previously, former club Tottenham have emerged as a possible destination for Real Madrid's Bale.

A Spurs star could move in the opposite direction as part of the deal…

 

TOP STORY – SPURS WANT BALE BACK IN EXCHANGE FOR ERIKSEN

Tottenham want to bring Gareth Bale back to North London in a swap deal that would see want-away midfielder Christian Eriksen join Real Madrid, claims The Sun.

It is said that LaLiga giants Madrid would receive £25.7million (€30m) as well as Eriksen in a deal that could reunite Bale with the club he left in 2013.

Eriksen has been linked to Manchester United, Atletico Madrid, Juventus, Inter and other clubs in Europe as his contract runs out at the end of the season.

ROUND-UP

- Chelsea have pulled out of the race to sign Jadon Sancho from Borussia Dortmund, paving the way for the England winger to join Liverpool, according to the Daily Express. United and Madrid have also been linked to the 19-year-old.

United and Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain are in the race to sign Leicester City's in-form right-back Ricardo Pereira in January, according to the Daily Mail.

- Wolves' push for a top-five Premier League finish this season could be bolstered by the addition of South Korean forward Hwang Hee-chan, should the Molineux club persuade Salzburg to part with the £23m (€26.9m)-rated forward in a deal mooted by Sky Sports News.

- Sky in Germany reports that Werder Bremen are keen on re-signing Southampton defender Jannik Vestergaard in January.

- Le10sport claims PSG sounded out Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp as a possible replacement for Thomas Tuchel. The report says PSG sporting director Leonardo spoke to Klopp but the German made it clear he is happy at Anfield.

- Sky Sports News claims David Moyes is poised for a return to West Ham to replace Manuel Pellegrini following his sacking. Moyes spent a brief period in charge of West Ham in 2018.

Arsenal have set their sights on RB Leipzig centre-back Dayot Upamecano. A move for the 21-year-old depends on whether Leipzig can sign Tanguy Kouassi from PSG, according to Le Parisien.

Trent Alexander-Arnold intends to stay at Liverpool for the rest of his career in the hope of becoming a club legend.

The England international has become an integral part of the Reds' first team over the past two seasons and finished 19th in this month's Ballon d'Or voting.

He further highlighted his importance with a goal and two assists in the 4-0 win over Leicester City, a result that leaves Liverpool well on course for a maiden Premier League trophy.

And the Liverpool-native, who came through the club's academy ranks, has his sights set on writing his name in Anfield folklore.

"I've always wanted to be a club legend," he told Swedish newspaper Sportbladet. "Winning titles, playing as many matches as possible, winning matches, becoming captain.

“Of course, I can't become a legend if I leave Liverpool to play elsewhere. So, my focus is there and on making the club as successful as possible."

Alexander-Arnold is already in possession of a Champions League winner's medal after playing 11 times in Liverpool's successful European campaign last season.

Jurgen Klopp handed the right-back his first-team debut in October 2016 and he is grateful to have been given a run in the side.

"He always talks about how we can improve, what we can do to get into the team, what we have to do to make it happen," Alexander-Arnold said.

"It's obviously something you have to hear as a young player. You have to feel that the manager may give you a chance."

"You never begin to doubt yourself if the manager tells you what you need to do or what you need to improve in order to play."

Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson is available for his side's clash with Wolves on Sunday, according to manager Jurgen Klopp.

England midfielder Henderson suffered a kick on the shin in Liverpool's 4-0 victory at Leicester City on Boxing Day but Klopp described the injury as "only pain" as he confirmed the Reds have no new fitness concerns for the visit of Nuno Espirito Santo's in-form side.

The runaway Premier League leaders played a full-strength side at King Power Stadium, with Henderson alongside Naby Keita and Georginio Wijnaldum in Klopp's midfield three, and the Liverpool boss said the same squad of players would be in contention against Wolves.

Assessing his players' recovery, Klopp told the club's official website his charges were "quite OK", adding: "The boys we had available should be available again.

"The only problem is that we are training later this afternoon so I still have to wait for all the information, that's how it is in this period. But it looks like they should be all fine."

Henderson has started 14 of Liverpool's 18 league games this season, scoring once in October's 2-1 victory over Tottenham.

James Milner and Adam Lallana could feature against Wolves should Klopp choose to rest his skipper, but when asked whether Henderson is fit to be involved the Liverpool manager replied: "Yeah, it's only pain!"

Raul Jimenez hopes Wolves can repeat their upset win over Manchester City when they visit Liverpool on Sunday.

Wolves stunned City 3-2 in the Premier League on Friday, denting the champions' title chances while moving up to fifth in the table.

Jimenez, who scored the equaliser as Wolves came from 2-0 down, hopes his team can deliver again when they make the trip to Anfield.

"Why not?" the forward said, via the club's website, about repeating the result.

"It will be a tough game, but we know that."

Trailing 2-0 and playing against 10 men, Wolves scored through Adama Traore before Jimenez's equaliser and Matt Doherty's 89th-minute winner.

Jimenez praised his team, who also recorded a 2-0 win over City in October.

"It's never easy to come back from two goals, especially against a team like Manchester City," he said.

"It's difficult, but with our heart and our football, we knew this was a very good opportunity for us to win this game.

"It wasn't a perfect match, but we played very well against a very good team in Manchester City. It's difficult to win or even draw against them, but we've won both games.

"So, we are very excited, very happy, and we will enjoy this."

Sadio Mane insisted Liverpool had learned from the "mistake" of last season as they continue their charge towards the Premier League title.

Liverpool claimed 97 points in 2018-19 but ended up one behind champions Manchester City.

But they are well on track to better that tally, sitting on 52 through 18 games and holding a 13-point advantage at the top.

Mane, who has scored nine league goals this season, said Jurgen Klopp's side had taken plenty from last campaign, when they held a seven-point lead at the top in January.

"If you lose the league that hurts you in the head mentally, so we always focus on the same target – we want to win something," he told UK newspapers, via The Telegraph.

"We have learned from the mistake last year. That was a tough time for us and I think we have learned a lot from it."

Liverpool have won 17 of their 18 Premier League games this season to open up a huge lead at the top.

Mane believes his side have improved from 2018-19, when they went on to win the Champions League.

"I think we are better this season than last year in what we're trying to do. It's another adventure for us. Let's keep working and try to keep things at the same level," the attacker said.

"I think you have to sacrifice yourself at this moment when you are in our situation. You have to deal with it and keep going. We are all working hard every minute of the day to get better and better."

Liverpool host fifth-placed Wolves on Sunday.

Jurgen Klopp warned his Liverpool players that keeping "exceptional" Wolves winger Adama Traore quiet will be even more difficult than shutting out Jamie Vardy.

Premier League top scorer Vardy was largely anonymous as Liverpool won 4-0 at second-place Leicester City on Thursday to move 13 points clear at the summit with a game in hand on the Foxes.

However, the runaway leaders face a quick turnaround in fixtures as they are back in action on Sunday with a home match against Nuno Espirito Santo's Wolves.

Klopp is expecting a tough test at Anfield and is particularly wary of the threat posed by versatile attacker Traore, who has starred on the right of a front three this term and scored twice in a win at Manchester City in October.

"Finally, Traore has a manager who has found a position for him," Klopp told reporters ahead of the match. "He started as a wing-back and now he can play in the front three.

"He is an exceptional player and was already exceptional as a kid when he played for Barcelona. He's probably the quickest player in the league.

"It makes it really difficult to play against them, but it should be difficult for them, too. That's the plan.

"This year they won against City. In the big space, Jamie Vardy is difficult to defend but I would say Traore is even more difficult to defend because the speed is exceptional."

Traore has a combined six goals and assists in the top flight this season, compared to two in his maiden campaign at Molineux after joining from Middlesbrough in August 2018.

The 23-year-old was part of Barcelona's famed academy and has previously been on Liverpool boss Klopp's radar.

"Of course, everybody knew him," Klopp said. "I think it was in Barcelona - I saw thousands of players, but as a kid he was at Barcelona, right?

"I saw him at Middlesbrough and he was exceptional but someone had to give him the right information, obviously, because that's a big, big challenge.

"He's still very young and now he has found it. Everybody was pretty sure that it will happen and now it happened. Good for Wolves. It makes them really dangerous."

Liverpool boast an in-form attacker of their own, with Roberto Firmino making it four goals in three games with his brace at the King Power Stadium.

That follows a run of six games without scoring, but Klopp was never concerned about a lack of goals from the Brazil international.

"I think in the last three games he's scored four goals and before that it was a little bit like he didn't score that often," Klopp said.

"Journalists told me Bobby Firmino didn't score for a while and I didn't even realise. When I think about Bobby I don't think about scoring, I think about how important he is.

"So we had a bit of a talk and I told him because he looked, for the first time since I've known him, a little bit concerned about that fact.

"I told him that I'm not interested in that number because he's the 'connecter' for our team. He's so important for us. He's not the only one who can play in the position but he can play the position in a very special way."

Liverpool have recalled Nat Phillips from his loan at Stuttgart to bolster their options in defence.

Phillips was due to spend the entire 2019-20 season at the 2.Bundesliga side but has returned to Anfield and will be available for selection from the FA Cup meeting with Everton on January 5.

Injuries to Dejan Lovren and Joel Matip have left Liverpool short at centre-back, with Jordan Henderson having to play in defence for the Club World Cup semi-final against Monterrey on December 18 when Virgil van Dijk was ruled out through illness.

However, 22-year-old defender Phillips could yet return to Stuttgart next month.

"With their squad currently stretched by injuries and a busy schedule, Liverpool asked to recall the centre-back from his loan spell," a Stuttgart statement read.

"The two clubs have agreed, however, to look into the possibility of Phillips going back to Stuttgart at the end of the German winter break."

Phillips has featured 11 times in all competitions for Stuttgart this season, making seven starts.

Leicester City manager Brendan Rodgers believes it will be "very, very hard to stop" Liverpool winning the Premier League.

Liverpool moved 13 points clear at the top after thrashing Leicester 4-0 at King Power Stadium on Boxing Day.

Rodgers said his former club, who have won 17 of 18 league games this season, would be difficult to stop.

"They're going to be very, very hard to stop, there's no doubt. Fantastic team, confidence is high as well," he told a news conference.

"They've become winners now and haven't lost many games over an 18-month period, so to lose the games they would need to in the second part of the season... they've got enough players now, enough experience and enough quality to stay focused and get the job done.

"There's still a lot to play for but in our last couple of games we've come up against the best two teams in the league."

Roberto Firmino's brace, a James Milner penalty and Trent Alexander-Arnold strike saw Liverpool cruise past Rodgers' second-placed team.

Alexander-Arnold also provided two assists and Rodgers praised the right-back's performance.

"When I see him, he plays full-back as a midfield player. His range of passes is phenomenal for a young player," he said.

"Of course he was a midfield player at Liverpool as a youngster. His quality, his range of pass and experiences that he's gained in these past few years. For Jurgen [Klopp] he's been absolutely amazing.

"You see him with his goal, as soon as the switch came, he was up there supporting, his intent to get up and his strike from outside the box was absolutely brilliant.

"We've got one here at Leicester who's amazing as well, Ricardo Pereira, he's been outstanding for me this season and since I came in but Trent's up there and very much England's number one right-back and playing consistently at a very high level."

Jurgen Klopp insisted Liverpool's 13-point lead atop the Premier League was "not relevant" after their thrashing of Leicester City.

The league leaders produced a fine display at King Power Stadium on Boxing Day, recording a 4-0 win over second-placed Leicester.

Roberto Firmino scored a brace, James Milner netted a penalty and Trent Alexander-Arnold struck late as Liverpool moved 13 points clear while holding a game in hand.

However, Klopp said the size of his side's lead at the top was irrelevant.

"You only think what changes in the question is the number is different: it was 10, 11, now it's 13," the Liverpool manager told a news conference.

"We actually don't feel it, we don't think about it, not at all. We didn't mention it once before the game because it's just not interesting. I can write the stories myself – the first story is that never before in the history of football, British football at least, has a team had a bigger lead and lost the lead. So that sounds in my ear negative, so why should we think about something like that?

"We are just focused on the next [games]. How I said, we play Wolves, Sheffield United, Everton, Tottenham, Manchester United in the next five games. That doesn't sound like anything is decided in my ears, to be honest.

"We have to play all of them and we try with all we have to make sure we are ready. The number is absolutely not relevant to us."

Liverpool ran riot against Leicester, claiming their 17th win in 18 Premier League games this season.

But, asked if his side had played better this season, Klopp said: "Yes, I would say so.

"We played an exceptional game against Manchester City, we played a super game against Arsenal and we've had a few good games this season. I am not sure if it was better, it was just different.

"It was exactly the performance we needed. I think a little bit less good and we would have had problems.

"We had no real problems in the game because the boys were really 100 per cent in the game and that helped us a lot."

Liverpool host Wolves on Sunday.

Trent Alexander-Arnold's masterful showing against Leicester was "not perfect" according to Jurgen Klopp, who is reluctant to label the Liverpool star the best full-back in world football.

The freshly-crowned world champions romped to a 4-0 win at Leicester City on Boxing Day – their nearest challengers in the Premier League table – to open up a 13-point advantage at the summit.

Alexander-Arnold supplied assists for both of Roberto Firmino's goals before completing the scoring with a stylish breakaway strike.

Such brilliance prompted post-match questions over whether the 21-year-old is the best in his position globally, but Klopp was keen not to add to the hyperbole.

"I am not too interested to be honest," he replied at a post-match news conference.

"He played a really good game, but not a perfect game. It was not perfect, but it was really good and it was decisive and helped us a lot.

"We know how important these crosses are for us, how important these things are for us, so that's absolutely exceptional.

"But I can't compare because at the moment I watch pretty much only Liverpool games so I don't see the others."

One possible blot on Liverpool's outing was the sight of Jordan Henderson hobbling off late on, cutting short another fine individual showing.

However, Klopp was pleased to report his captain's knock sustained in a challenge with Ayoze Perez is not serious.

"Yes [it was a kick] on the shin," he said. "It was bleeding but he told me afterwards, 'I could have carried on!'. So obviously it is not so bad this time."

Liverpool are back in action on Sunday against Wolves, who entertain reigning champions Manchester City at Molineux on Friday.

Liverpool thrashed second-placed Leicester City 4-0 to extend their lead at the top of the Premier League to 13 points with a game in hand.

Club World Cup hero Roberto Firmino scored either side of a James Milner penalty and Trent Alexander-Arnold capped a phenomenal display by completing the scoring at the King Power Stadium.

Manchester United were also big winners, coming from behind to beat Newcastle United 4-1 at Old Trafford, while elsewhere in the Premier League two keenly anticipated managerial tenures got under way.

Carlo Ancelotti saw Dominic Calvert-Lewin head Everton to a 1-0 win over Burnley in his first game in charge at Goodison Park, while Mikel Arteta had Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to thank for salvaging a 1-1 draw for Arsenal at Bournemouth.

Yet the result of the afternoon came at Chelsea, where superb goals from Michael Obafemi and Nathan Redmond meant Frank Lampard's men were unable to build upon their impressive triumph at Tottenham last time out.

Spurs moved back to within three points of fourth-placed Chelsea after coming from behind to beat Brighton and Hove Albion 2-1, a result repeated in the south of the capital as Crystal Palace stole the points against West Ham courtesy of a fabulous Jordan Ayew solo effort.

Watford's 1-1 draw at Sheffield United lifted them off the bottom of the table, with Norwich City now propping up the rest after going down 1-0 at Aston Villa.

No sign of home comforts for Lampard, but better news for Solskjaer

Leicester's designs on a title push have been checked by defeats to Manchester City and now Liverpool, who have won 17 of their 18 Premier League games this season.

They last lost in the competition on January 3 and Alexander-Arnold, who set up both of Firmino's goals, gave an awesome demonstration of the quality at their disposal.

By contrast, Chelsea have now lost five of their past seven Premier League games and three out of four at Stamford Bridge after Southampton were able to toast an unlikely hero.

Obafemi got his chance up front as top scorer Danny Ings was rested and he drove at a backpedalling Blues backline to finish emphatically after the half hour. Redmond capped a fine team move 17 minutes from time.

Spurs were facing a fresh setback in their game against Brighton when Adam Webster powered in Pascal Gross' free-kick, but Harry Kane continued his habit of finding the net on Boxing Day and Dele Alli maintained his prolific form under Jose Mourinho with a 72nd-minute winner.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer watched his Manchester United turn on the style after going behind to an early Matty Longstaff goal against Newcastle.

As memories of a painful 1-0 defeat to the Magpies in October came flooding back, the hosts found an extra gear at Old Trafford to turn the match around, with Martial, Greenwood and Rashford showing a clinical touch.

Encouraging early signs for Ancelotti and Arteta

Burnley created little at Goodison Park but Everton had to be patient before the breakthrough arrived with 10 minutes to play.

Djibril Sidibe's searching cross found a diving Calvert-Lewin, who headed home via the post.

The Clarets are now below 11th-placed Arsenal on goal difference after Arteta got a first-hand look at some of his club's long-standing defensive problems,

Dan Gosling put Bournemouth ahead after the Gunners were carved apart down the right but the Gunners summoned a battling response and Aubameyang turned in his 12th Premier League goal of the season.

Ayew sends Eagles soaring

Palace had a day to remember against West Ham despite falling behind to a Robert Snodgrass goal at Selhurst Park.

Cheikhou Kouyate stole in to equalise against his former club before Ayew danced through a succession of challenges and found a delightful chipped finish in the final minute.

West Ham are a point and a place above the relegation zone after third-bottom Villa saw off fellow strugglers Norwich.

Substitute Conor Hourihane swept in Jack Grealish's pass eight minutes after coming on, while Tom Heaton excelled in the home goal.

Watford made it back-to-back draws under Nigel Pearson, leading briefly at Bramall Lane through Gerard Deulofeu before Oliver Norwood levelled from the penalty spot.

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