Wolves beat Liverpool 3-0 on Saturday, and Joao Moutinho played a huge part in actually sealing the result for Wanderers after starting on the bench.
Julen Lopetegui’s side moved up to 15th in the Premier League table with the victory.
It was a fantastic performance from Wolves, who outfought Liverpool an played some really good football, especially in the first-half.
Lopetegui got his team selection spot on.
One of the keys to taking all three points was always going to be winning the midfield battle.
And Wolves did that, with Mario Lemina playing deep and Ruben Neves and Matheus Nunes providing support a bit higher up.
That midfield trio has a really nice balance to it, and is probably what Lopetegui should be using in most games going forwards.
That would therefore mean Moutinho takes up more of a bench role.
The 36-year-old started as a substitute against Liverpool, but was introduced on the hour mark as a replacement for Pablo Sarabia.
He was excellent when he came and darted around the pitch. Despite only having 30 minutes on the pitch, Moutinho won all three of his duels, and completed 93% of his passes (Sofascore).
It was he that dispossessed Joe Gomez and released Adama Traore on the counter for Wolves’ third goal.
The Spaniard then crossed for Neves who provided an assured finish.
It just feels as though this is now what should be happening with Moutinho going forwards.
Moutinho off the bench for is the way forward for Julen Lopetegui
Moutinho was a player that had been struggling in the first half of the season.
It felt as though Bruno Lage was putting too much faith in a player who, as fit as he is, is now in his late thirties.
Moutinho has been an absolutely amazing signing for Wolves. The £5 million paid to AS Monaco in 2018 for his transfer was one of the best investments the club has ever made.
But that cameo against Liverpool is surely a sign that this should be his regular role now.
It’s time for him to step aside as a starter to allow for a more dynamic engine room. Lemina looks a superb acquisition and really complements Neves and Nunes.
Moutinho being used more from the bench is something that will be good for him too. It’s a means of keeping him fresher, which is what he needs at his age. And the team needs a fresh Moutinho.
Moutinho still has a big part to play this season, no question. And there will be games that require him to start.
But the Liverpool game has shown how effective he can still be coming on as a substitute.