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Liverpool analysis - Mohamed Salah sends Real Madrid message as Thiago concern grows

Liverpool analysis - Ian Doyle with three key talking points following the 3-1 victory over Wolves at Anfield on the Premier League's final day

Salah sends Real Madrid message

There was no pitch invasion after the final whistle at Anfield. Instead, the influx came in the form of silverware as evidence of a remarkable – and ongoing – campaign from Liverpool.

Ahead of the traditional lap of appreciation, James Milner trotted on holding the League Cup, while a guard of honour formed – at the request of the management and squad – to mark the imminent departure of Divock Origi, who entered with the FA Cup before being handed gifts from Fenway Sports Group trio John Henry, Tom Werner and Mike Gordon.

Alisson Becker – again excellent here – had already picked up his Premier League Golden Gloves award he will share with Ederson, while Mohamed Salah was handed awards for the most goals and most assists in the top flight this campaign.

LFC RATINGS: Alisson excellent and Thiago immense against Wolves

READ MORE: Jurgen Klopp gives worrying Thiago update as Liverpool striker to miss Champions League final

Salah, who had limped out of the FA Cup final and was absent at Southampton in midweek, emerged from the bench to net late on and tie with Son Heung-Min for the goalscoring accolade, the Tottenham Hotspur man having scored twice at relegated Norwich City on the final day.

The Egyptian’s intense celebrations were very much that of a man notching his first goal in eight games - and 31st of the campaign - timely given his imminent revenge mission against Real Madrid. Mo’s back in the mood.

Matip edging Konate battle

With Virgil van Dijk sat watching on the bench, the visit of Wolves effectively became an audition for who will partner him in Paris next week.

And the growing evidence is Joel Matip, despite not being the preferred choice during the Champions League knockout stages, has perhaps edged ahead of Ibrahima Konate in the pecking order.

Konate’s cause wasn’t helped when, after only three minutes, he misjudged a long goal kick from Wolves goalkeeper Jose Sa that allowed Raul Jimenez to tee up Pedro Neto for a shock opener.

The Frenchman, making only his 10th Premier League start, found Jimenez difficult to handle first half, but deserves credit for steadying himself after the break, particularly when isolated battles became more regular with the game becoming hugely stretched.

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Matip, though, was the defensive standout, which in truth has been the case for much of the season. The Cameroonian held his form and nerve while those around were, in periods, affected by the inevitable tension on such a decisive afternoon.

Van Dijk’s expected return next weekend – he wasn’t called off the bench here – should help in that regard. And while Konate’s early error was rendered a postscript, it’s concerning Liverpool have now conceded the first goal in five of their last six games. Real Madrid won’t be as accommodating as Wolves if the Reds go behind in France.

Thiago concern

There was a worrying sense around Anfield that, as Thiago Alcantara trudged disconsolately down the tunnel, he was taking with him Liverpool’s hopes of the quadruple.

The Spaniard had been outstanding in the first half, his cool head and intelligence shining bright amid the frantic tension, the highlight of which was his sumptuous backflick to divert Ibrahima Konate’s pass into the path of Sadio Mane for the equaliser.

Liverpool’s late goal flurry meant the Spaniard’s absence for the final 45 minutes ultimately made little difference in the title race.

But Thiago would be a massive miss against Real Madrid for all the reasons he impressed here. Not for nothing has he become such an integral part during the closing months of the campaign, while his knowledge of facing such old rivals could be the kind of small detail on which such encounters are determined.

The engine room will be crucial in Paris. With that in mind, Fabinho remained wrapped in cotton wool, while Jordan Henderson – again deputising in the number six role – and Naby Keita emerged unscathed.

If Thiago doesn’t make it, all three appear primed to step out at the Stade de France – a triumvirate that has won every previous game it has started together.

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