Wolves 0-1 Liverpool: Harvey Elliott rocket sets up Brighton revenge mission in FA Cup

Celebrations: Harvey Elliott blasted home the only goal of the FA Cup replay at Molineux  (Getty Images)
Celebrations: Harvey Elliott blasted home the only goal of the FA Cup replay at Molineux (Getty Images)

A superb strike from Harvey Elliott delivered Liverpool a much-needed 1-0 win over Wolves and sealed the holders’ progress in the FA Cup.

The England Under-21 midfielder produced the only moment of real quality after just 13 minutes of a feisty third-round replay at Molineux on Tuesday night, settling an entertaining tie once and for all and booking a meeting with Brighton at the Amex Stadium on January 29.

Liverpool will relish the opportunity to try and exact some swift revenge on Brighton, who brushed them aside 3-0 in the Premier League at the weekend in a game that a frustrated Jurgen Klopp afterwards described as the worst of his entire illustrious managerial career to date.

As well as bouncing back from a run of three defeats in six that has seen his side drop to ninth in the top-flight and a full 10 points adrift of the Champions League qualification spots, Klopp will also be grateful to see a battling clean sheet preserved after eight goals shipped in just three matches.

A first win of any kind in 2023 should provide a timely confidence boost for Liverpool ahead of their Premier League showdown with a Chelsea team enduring similar struggles this term at Anfield on Saturday.

Klopp made eight changes from the debacle at Brighton, with only Ibrahima Konate, Thiago Alcantara and new arrival Cody Gakpo retaining their places, with rare starts for the likes of Naby Keita and Fabio Carvalho.

It was a surprising team selection for many who view the FA Cup as Liverpool’s best remaining chance of silverware this term given their unfortunate league predicament, Carabao Cup elimination and upcoming Champions League last-16 rematch with holders Real Madrid.

And they started on the back foot at Molineux, with Wolves - who made seven changes of their own and also announced the £4.4million signing of Spain winger Pablo Sarabia from Paris Saint-Germain before kick-off - looking to capitalise on a crucial 1-0 win over West Ham at the weekend that saw them escape the Premier League relegation zone and lift spirits after being denied a spot in the Carabao Cup semi-finals with a penalty shootout defeat by Nottingham Forest.

However, that initial pressure quickly fizzled out and Liverpool took over following a power failure that briefly plunged the stadium into darkness by cutting out the floodlights and also knocking out the use of the VAR systems.

They dominated possession and passed the ball around with zip and purpose, with their trademark press far more effective than it has been for some time on the occasions where they did need to recover.

After a slew of half-chances, man of the match Elliott netted what proved to be the winning goal inside quarter of an hour, receiving possession from Thiago and charging forward with menace before unleashing a corking strike from 25 yards that flew beyond Wolves goalkeeper Jose Sa, whose positioning left a lot to be desired.

Managers Klopp and Julen Lopetegui clashed on the touchline with plenty of fouls committed by both teams in a tetchy atmosphere, with the home side once again feeling they were harshly treated by the officials following a memorable 2-2 draw at Anfield last weekend in which defender Toti saw what he thought was a late winner controversially ruled out for offside.

Gakpo whistled over the crossbar and Carvalho slammed home after a break led by Elliott and Keita, but he was clearly offside and the goal did not stand.

Adama Traore lashed well wide as Wolves finished the first half on the front foot but could not get anywhere close to testing Liverpool’s reserve goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher.

The second half was a notably scrappy affair, with the likes of Keita and Traore lacking composure and half-hearted Wolves penalty claims for handball against the former waved away by referee Andre Marriner.

Ruben Neves - who, along with fellow Portuguese midfielder Matheus Nunes, has been linked with a move to Liverpool -- whistled a free-kick over as the hosts finally began to up the tempo in the final 20 minutes.

But they could not fashion an equaliser, with Raul Jimenez heading over off Joe Gomez and Kelleher confidently claiming a dangerous dropping ball inside his six-yard box after Rayan Aït-Nouri’s cross had been deflected high into the air by Nat Phillips.

Lopetegui turned to the fit-again Diego Costa in the closing stages and his lay-off was fired over by Matheus Cunha before Liverpool went close to doubling their advantage as Elliott fed Curtis Jones and the substitute steered a low drive agonisingly wide of the far post.

Cunha headed straight at Kelleher from Nunes’ cross and Wolves kept the pressure on until the last kick of the game, but never looked likely to find the goal that would have forced extra time and prolonged their stay in the FA Cup.