HELDER’S SET TO AS HE SHINES ON
Loanee is the star in cup upset
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
HANDY ANDI: Wolves’ Andreas Weimann scores their second goal, inset right,and celebrates. Inset left: Helder Costa shooting at goal