HELDER’S SET TO AS HE SHINES ON

Loa­nee is the star in cup up­set

The Football League Paper - - FA CUP FOURTH ROUND - By Chris Dunlavy

WOLVES winger Helder Costa tore Liver­pool to shreds as Jur­gen Klopp’s woe­ful Reds were sen­sa­tion­ally dumped out of the FA Cup at An­field.

Costa, 23, crafted goals for Richard Stear­man and An­dreas Weimann, nearly scored a spec­tac­u­lar third and spent the best part of an hour ty­ing the hap­less Al­berto Moreno in knots.

The winger, on loan from Ben­fica, fi­nally departed mid­way through the sec­ond half, leav­ing his team-mates to con­duct a heroic rear­guard ac­tion im­per­illed only by a late Divock Origi strike.

Dubbed the ‘Mo­lineux Messi’, Costa left the stage to a rau­cous cho­rus of ‘Lam­bert, sign him up’, though that may be eas­ier said than done af­ter his tal­ents were ex­posed to a global TV au­di­ence.

“The par­ties are talk­ing and we’ll see what hap­pens,” said Lam­bert.

“As a foot­baller and the way he is as a guy, you’d take him hands down. Ab­so­lutely no prob­lem.

“He’s got in­cred­i­ble speed, great feet. He does things in train­ing that you stop and think ‘Wow, where did that come from?’.

“What he did here didn’t sur­prise me, be­cause he’s been play­ing like that more or less since I’ve been here. He’s a big, big tal­ent who makes things hap­pen.

“The other side of the coin – fi­nances and things like that – I can’t in­flu­ence. All I can do is try to get the best out of him and for a lad new to this coun­try, he’s been ex­cep­tional.”

If a Liver­pool team fea­tur­ing young­sters Ben Wood­burn and Con­nor Ran­dall had sown seeds of hope for Wolves, the open­ing minute saw shoots burst from the An­field turf.

Lu­cas was caught in pos­ses­sion, Moreno – a sham­bles all af­ter­noon – lunged in late on Nouha Dicko. Costa’s free-kick found Stear­man, who ditched the static Origi be­fore leap­ing to head be­yond Kar­ius. An­field fell silent, rightly fear­ing the worst.

That open­ing salvo was ef­fec­tively the match in mi­cro­cosm; lax­ness from Liver­pool, in­spi­ra­tion from Costa, pun­ish­ment for the Kop.

Three months ago, Liver­pool were a tem­pest of ter­ror­is­ing move­ment, all fren­zied press­ing and bl­itzkrieg at­tacks. Here, bereft of Sa­dio Mane and Adam Lal­lana, they were static and lumpen, as ‘Rock n’ Roll’ as Cliff Richard.

Too of­ten they dal­lied. Too of­ten they were caught, beaten to the ball by a Wolves side bril­liantly or­gan­ised by Lam­bert and more hun­gry in ev­ery as­pect.

Mo­ments af­ter the opener, Costa’s quick feet pro­pelled him for­ward again, run­ning from his own half and be­witch­ing three help­lessly pirou­et­ting de­fend­ers be­fore be­ing thwarted at the last.

Clearly, lessons weren’t learned. Late in the half, an­other Costa break, an­other lapse from Moreno, and an­other inch-per­fect ball al­lowed Weimann to skip past Kar­ius and tap

PIC­TURE: Ac­tion Im­ages

HANDY ANDI: Wolves’ An­dreas Weimann scores their sec­ond goal, in­set right,and cel­e­brates. In­set left: Helder Costa shoot­ing at goal

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