Diogo Jota’s winning return to Molineux was overshadowed by a head injury to Rui Patricio, which led to a 14-minute delay at the end of Liverpool’s hard-fought victory against Wolves.
Jurgen Klopp typified the importance of the result lauding Liverpool’s 13th league win of the campaign as “three dirty points”.
Jota, 24, scored the only goal of the game to inflict further misery on his former team as Liverpool recorded a league double over Wolves for a third consecutive campaign.
Still, the unfortunate setback to Patricio laid bare how insignificant football can be when opposed to a player’s genuine safety.
The incident itself will likely lead to much debate as to how to offside rule is implemented.
Indeed, no-fault should be directed at the assistant referee, who followed the protocols correctly when Mohamed Salah ran through in the 85th minute to find the net – only to be correctly pulled up for offside.
Unfortunately, allowing play to go on, as is the rule, resulted in Connor Coady colliding with the Portuguese number one, catching Patricio in the face with his knee.
Wolves forward Raul Jimenez, in the stands at Molineux on Monday, fractured his skull against Arsenal in November.
There have been a number of close calls this season with similar incidents, and it feels like this particular incident was an accident waiting to happen.
Luckily, Wolves’ manager, Nuno Espirito Santo, was able to provide an encouraging update on Patricio, who was confirmed to be in a stable condition.
“He’s OK,” Nuno said. “It was a collision with the knee of Coady on the head. All situations when it is the head get us worried.
“He is going to recover. The following hours are important; he is with the doctors and has to be assessed.”
Both Jordan Henderson and Trent Alexander-Arnold made the decision after the match to take to social media and offer their best wishes to Patricio.