Nottingham Forest 1-0 Liverpool (Premier League) 22.10.22
Nottingham Forest emphatically ended their nine-match winless run in the Premier League to beat the mighty Liverpool in a thrilling game at a packed, noisy, and most jubilant of City Ground’s.
Both sides had chances in an even first half where the home team more than matched their famous old rival, in the second half it was Forest who drew first blood before surviving a couple of late scares to take all three points.
For Steve Cooper’s side, it ensured the bottom placed team pre-game, for a little while at least, moved up to nineteenth in the table on nine points from twelve games, more important than immediate league position, was the win, a huge home victory and performance that suggests the club can certainly compete at the level, club captain Ryan Yates saying after “If we can beat Liverpool, we can beat anyone”.
Yates was magnificent in midfield, next to Cheikh Kouyate who worked tirelessly, and the ever-improving Swiss international Remo Freuler. The back four were excellent, moving to a back five later in the match, and in attack, the Reds got their goal and might have had more, posing questions on the struggles of Jurgen Klopp’s side so far this season.
A packed house and vocal backing went into a ferocious roar on 55 minutes when a free kick on the halfway line found Steve Cook out wide who fired a ball across where Taiwo Awoniyi prodded against the post. The Nigerian striker, a former Liverpool Academy starlet, was quickest to react, in front of the Trent End, to prod home and give Forest a deserved lead.
Thereafter. Liverpool came knocking, substitute Trent Alexander Arnold forcing Dean Henderson to a diving stop from a header, but at the other end Ryan Yates might have made it 2-0, but for a brilliant stop by Alisson, Morgan Gibbs White had earlier a chance to double home advantage but for a last ditched James Milner block, Ryan Yates then shot low after fabulous work by Kouyate, his scuffed effort comfortably saved in the end by Alisson.
In the closing stages, Forest brought on Joe Worrall, they brought on Renan Lodi, and they defended deep against a lacklustre Liverpool, only occasionally a danger from set plays, the away sides best effort in stoppage time, when the unmarked Virgil van Dijk headed down from a corner but for a brilliant save by Dean Henderson before Ryan Yates cleared away.
Brennan Johnson might have wrapped things up, but hit a post when the goal was left open by Alisson who was scrambling back from attacking a corner, Johnson’s blushes saved by the assistants flag for offside, but it wasn’t enough to save Liverpool’s blushes, shortly after, the whistle went to incredible celebrations sparked by Dean Henderson jumping into the Bridgford End, Forest fans singing “I just can’t get enough”.
Whether it feels like a turning point or not, on what has been a tough return to life in the top flight of English football. Manager Steve Cooper, emotionally stated after the match “It has to be made into one” continuing “It’s a win, and that’s it, a huge one for the generations of football fans who have all played part of this fixture at this football club, but we won’t get carried away”.
Forest will next face league leaders Arsenal at the Emirates a week on Sunday, after which, they’ll have two home games against Brentford and Crystal Palace ahead of the World Cup, during which time, the Reds will have another month or so to build on the bond which has hugely been sewn together further by this magnificent performance on this most memorable of days.
Fact of the day… Liverpool have never beaten Nottingham Forest at the City Ground, in the Premier League. A record which will happily be kept to at least 2023 for those delighted fans of Garibaldi.
Nottingham Forest: Henderson, Aurier, Cook, McKenna, Williams (Lodi 73), Freuler, Kouyate (Mangala 80), Yates, Gibbs-White, Lingard (Johnson 64), Awoniyi (Worrall 64).
Liverpool: Alisson, Milner (Alexander-Arnold 62), Gomez, van Dijk, Robertson, Elliott, Fabinho, Jones, Salah, Firmino (Oxlade-Chamberlain 76), Carvalho (Henderson 62).
Venue: City Ground (29,245)
*Main image @NFFC Morgan Gibbs-White & Jesse Lingard celebrate the Reds win.