In the long run, it may even be that these awkward few weeks come to be seen as having been a positive, in getting pitch time for players such as Kelleher, Curtis Jones and Neco Williams. The young right-back impressed again before being removed for Trent Alexander-Arnold midway through the second half. His return after a hamstring pull is, clearly, a relief for Klopp, but the form of Williams means there should be no need now for Alexander-Arnold to be flogged through seven games in 23 days as he was before sustaining the injury.
Liverpool’s unbeaten run at home now extends to 65 games, and matches like this are the kind to make opponents blanch at the prospect of a trip to Anfield, even with only 2,000 fans. Wolves, admittedly without Raúl Jiménez, who might have offered some kind of outlet, never looked like being able to build anything. This may be a slightly more restrained Liverpool than the side of a year or so ago, but it stifles opponents with similar effectiveness.
Comparisons with last season must be treated with caution given the differences in the calendar but back then Liverpool kept only two clean sheets in their first 15 league games before embarking on a run of seven in a row from early December. This season there have been three in 11. The last two games at Anfield have been characterised by a sense of a balance, of a team comfortable in holding their opponents at arm’s length but still lethal when chances come.
The stereotype of Liverpool is of relentlessness, of wave after wave of attacking. And they are capable of that, as various comebacks or demolitions have proved. But last season they also had the best defensive record in the league – and that despite a fairly ragged end after lockdown. What made them unstoppable was the three-month spell from the beginning of December to the middle of February in which they conceded just one goal in 11 games while always having the firepower to win. The Brighton game casts some doubt, but the last two home games have suggested a side rediscovering that sort of balance and relentlessness.
That it is being achieved with so many absentees is all the more ominous for the rest of the league.