Liverpool scraped past Wolves 2-1 at Anfield after a nervy second half performance from the Reds.
An own goal from Roger Johnson and a Luis Suarez strike put the home team ahead in the first half which looked to have set up the second half for a relatively easy cruise to three points for Liverpool.
Liverpool were good in the first half with Suarez and Andy Carroll linking up well up front but Wolves nearly took the lead in the 8th minute after a terrible mistake from Jamie Carragher let Kevin Doyle set up Jamie O’Hara for a shot, but the midfielder never got hold of his strike and let Liverpool and Carragher off the hook.
Carragher’s mistake was quickly forgotten when a speculative shot from Charlie Adam was blocked by Wolves captain Roger Johnson, but unfortunately for the former Birmingham man his header also beat his ‘keeper and rolled into the back of the net for Liverpool to take the lead in the 11th minute.
It was a half-hearted attempt at a clearance by Johnson and bad defending from Wolves who failed to close down Adam’s shot and Liverpool’s lead was well deserved.
Wolves were troubled by Andy Carroll whose physical presence kept them on their toes and coupled with the pace and skill of Luis Suarez, the second goal was inevitable for the Reds.
A long ball from the left back position from Jose Enrique set Suarez free down the left flank after the Wolves defence failed to pick up the Uruguayan striker, who expertly beat the offside trap.
From a tight angle, Suarez cut inside and then back onto his favoured left foot to leave Christophe Berra turned inside out and the Liverpool number 7 let fly from a tight angle to put Liverpool two in front.
Whatever Mick McCarthy said to his team at half time must have worked because Wolves came out for the second half on the front foot and within four minutes they had pulled a goal back.
McCarthy made two changes at half time with 19 year-old Irish right back Matt Doherty coming on for Richard Stearman and David Edwards making way for striker Steven Fletcher, who made his mark on the game straight away.
In the 49th minute, Stephen Hunt’s persistence on the right side of Liverpool’s box allowed him to cut back a pass to Fletcher who finished brilliantly with a half volley from close range.
Liverpool hit back a few minutes later when Carroll’s header from Downing’s cross rattled the post; the big Geordie probably should have scored from that chance.
But it was Wolves who had control of the play in the second half as they looked the team most likely to score but McCarthy’s side didn’t have the likes of Suarez to finish their chances, as Kevin Doyle looked off the pace and not at his best.
Steven Gerrard’s late appearance with ten minutes to go provided a late rally for Liverpool and their talisman created one or two chances for his team before the referee blew the final whistle with relief from the Liverpool faithful.
This match was similar to Liverpool’s game with Sunderland on the opening day of the season, when Dalglish’s side were dominant in the first half but let their foot off the pedal in the second half to allow Sunderland back into the game.
The difference between today against Wolves and the Black Cats game in early August was Liverpool got the decisive second goal and, despite a poor second half performance by their standards, held on for the three points.