Liverpool 3-0 Nottingham Forest (Premier League) 29.10.23
Nottingham Forest were handed their biggest defeat of the season so far as Liverpool proved too strong at Anfield in a comfortable win the home side.
Steve Cooper’s men seemed to weather the early storm at a flat and low key seemingly un-atmospheric Anfield Stadium, wearing sky blue and white stripes ‘the reds’ as we know them contained their hosts to minimal opportunity with a low block, five across the back and four in midfield with the lively Anthony Elanga up top on his own.
Elanga himself causing Liverpool’s high line some danger but was too easily caught offside, his pace saw him bearing through on goal but snatching wide before the assistants flag was waved early doors.
Jurgen Klopp’s title challengers were reduced to long range attempts and trying the eye of a needle pass around the edge of the eighteen yard box as Forest looked to competently handle their hosts attacking force but when the away side got brave and attacked for the first real time in numbers on the half hour, Murillo got caught half way and Liverpool countered to devastating effect. Salah opening up to race through before supplying Nunez to shoot at Turner who could only parry into the path of Diogo Jota who blasted home from close range.
Things got worse as Forest quickly conceded a second on 35 as smart play down the right ended in Salah feeding the magnificent Szoboszlai who crossed low to Nunez who couldn’t miss. The Uruguayan striker then headed over from a corner and tested the fingers of Turner before half time, one way traffic with the home side comfortable and deserving of a two goal lead.
The second half continued with its flat ambience as Forest stifled their opponents and the crowd some more, Steve Cooper’s side hardly tempted to come out to play, in fear of opening themselves up for more self destruction, but that still did occur, a long routine ball by Szoboszlai which was bouncing had Reds goalkeeper Matt Turner racing out, he totally missed it and Mo Salah walked home for a third on 77… A goal which puts the Forest goalkeeping position up for debate. Greek International net minder Odysseas Vlachodimos sitting on the bench, watching, may well be featuring next time out at home to Aston Villa on Sunday.
The final few minutes saw Forest actually play some of their best attacking football, in fairness Liverpool had downed the gears and made several changes but the Reds rattled a crossbar late on when Elanga’s thumping effort had glimpses of Marco van Basten, but little cheer for Forest fans to take back with them other than their memories of a day out, on a day where the two teams were a gulf of class apart. A goal ruled out in the final seconds when Gakpo stood offside could have even made things worse, VAR ruling the correct decision, why the assistant didn’t put his flag up? I don’t know?
Bigger tests will follow… Forest’s four losses this season have came at Arsenal, Manchester United, Manchester City and now Liverpool. Steve Cooper’s side will need to start picking up some points quickly though as they begin to look over their shoulders, the Garibaldi sitting sixteenth with ten points from ten games played all be it five clear of Luton in the highest relegation space.
Liverpool: Alisson, Alexander-Arnold (Gomez 89), Konate, van Dijk, Tsimikas, Gravenbach (Elliott 59), Mac Allister, Szoboszlai, Salah, Nunez (Endo 80), Jota (Gakpo 58).
Nottingham Forest: Turner, Aurier, Boly (Awoniyi 69), Niakhate, Murillo, Aina (Toffolo 69), Dominguez (Yates 69), Sangare, Mangala (Santos 83), Gibbs-White (Williams 83), Elanga.
Venue: Anfield (50,143).
*Article provided by Daniel Peacock (Editor).
*Main image @NFFC the two teams pause to reflect Sir Bobby Charlton & Bill Kenwright.