Nuno Espírito Santo was so exasperated by the game’s second VAR controversy, when his Wolves side had a goal ruled out, that he was shown a yellow card and he said later it was wrong for the game to be remembered for a “non-goal”.
“I don’t want to speak about VAR any more,” he said, before breaking his own embargo in the next breath. “I don’t like it that we are seeing decisions being taken by referees miles and miles away. A referee in that situation doesn’t feel the game like someone present at the match. I’m a manager, a coach, it’s not for me to say how things can be improved, but I think it’s a pity when you have two fantastic teams in a fantastic stadium. We should be looking for fantastic football, fantastic fun, we shouldn’t be celebrating a non-goal.”
Legitimate grievance expressed, Nuno went on to praise the efforts of his players at Anfield. “In terms of performance we did very well. We dominated at times in the second half and we created chances without quite getting the final touch. I think we are doing OK but we want to get better. We have already shown we can compete against the best teams in the Premier League but we can still grow and improve some more.”
Jürgen Klopp played down the importance of Liverpool’s 13-point lead at the top of the Premier League table with his usual “titles are not won in December” spiel, though he said Wolves were among the toughest opponents his side have faced this season.
“No surprise there – they are a proper team with a lot of strength and they are a big threat on the counter-attack,” the manager said.
“It was an open game, especially in the second half when they brought on fresh legs, and we had to fight to get the result over the line.”
A gritty 1-0 victory at home was the opposite of the stylish demolition of Leicester on Boxing Day, but Klopp said he thinks the rest of the season may follow the same pattern. “There are still a lot of games left and we will probably have to fight for everything from here on in,” he said, before explaining how the two VAR controversies just before the interval seemed to put even more fight into Wolves.
“The goal they scored didn’t count but it gave them some momentum. They were really angry with us after that and it wasn’t our fault, but believing everyone in the stadium is against you is a big motivation.”