Preview: Liverpool vs. Nottingham Forest

Preview: Liverpool vs. Nottingham Forest

On the prowl for a third consecutive win across all tournaments, Liverpool return to Premier League action on Sunday, when Nottingham Forest stop over at Anfield.

The Reds dismantled Toulouse 5-1 in Thursday’s Europa League contest, while Steve Cooper’s side threw away a 2-0 lead against Luton Town to draw 2-2 last weekend.

With six goals, an inexplicable miss from both sides and a handful of debuts being gifted to up-and-coming starlets, Liverpool’s captivating battle with Toulouse was a terrific advert for Europa League football, which is proving all too easy for Jurgen Klopp’s troops at the moment.

A second-string side did have a few questions asked of them by Les Violets, who broke forward in numbers at every available opportunity, but 18-year-old goalkeeper Guillaume Restes faced a barrage of attacks himself and was powerless to prevent Mohamed Salah, Darwin Nunez, Diogo Jota, Wataru Endo and Ryan Gravenberch from making the net bulge.

Thijs Dallinga’s first-half equaliser only proceeded a relentless onslaught from the Reds, who are now potentially one game away from sealing a last-16 spot in Europe’s secondary competition, and Klopp has led the Merseyside giants to seven successive home wins at the start of the season for the first time since 1990.

A somewhat unconvincing 2-0 Merseyside derby success over Everton kept Liverpool within touching distance of the Premier League podium, as the fourth-placed hosts – who have now scored at least twice in each of their last four contests – are just one point worse off than Manchester City and Arsenal.

One of four teams with their 100% home record still intact in the top flight, Liverpool’s unbeaten Anfield run in the Premier League now stands at 16 matches since Leeds United’s shock 2-1 success, and the visit of Forest will coincidentally come exactly a year to the day since the Whites subjected Klopp’s side to a Halloween horror story.

The Chris Wood-Anthony Elanga combination worked a treat on two occasions during Nottingham Forest’s showdown with Luton Town last weekend, as the Swedish attacker provided two assists for the towering talisman to ostensibly put the Tricky Trees out of sight.

However, earlier wasted opportunities would come back to haunt Steve Cooper’s side, as Chiedozie Ogbene reduced the arrears with 83 minutes on the clock before a dramatic injury-time leveller from Elijah Adebayo denied Nottingham Forest maximum spoils at the City Ground.

Amid reports of Cooper being on the FA’s shortlist as a possible successor to England head coach Gareth Southgate, Three Lions bosses may be struggling to find many positives in the Tricky Trees’ ongoing barren run, which has seen Forest go five Premier League games without victory – drawing each of their last three.

With just the two top-flight wins to their name so far this term, Nottingham Forest are dancing with the devil in 15th place, and while they still have a healthy six-point gap to the relegation zone, their position will become all the more volatile should they fail to arrest their autumnal slump.

One-nil successes over Chelsea and Southampton represent Forest’s only Premier League away wins in 2023, during which time they also fell short in a 3-2 Anfield loss to Liverpool – despite a valiant effort – although it has been just over 12 months since ex-Reds protege Taiwo Awoniyi downed his old employers in a 1-0 City Ground beating.

Liverpool Premier League form:

Liverpool form (all competitions):

Nottingham Forest Premier League form:

We say: Liverpool 2-0 Nottingham Forest
Benefitting from Toulouse’s brave approach in the Europa League, Liverpool should not expect such an emphatic scoreline against a Forest side bound to sit back and soak up pressure, but three points ought to be theirs regardless.

Sure to be morally damaged by letting a two-goal lead slip against the newcomers last weekend, it could be Forest’s turn to try to recover from a 2-0 deficit at Anfield, but Cooper’s side should not repeat Luton’s feats on Sunday.

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