Preview: Liverpool vs. Nottingham Forest

Preview: Liverpool vs. Nottingham Forest

Having returned to winning ways in emphatic fashion last time out, Liverpool host Nottingham Forest at Anfield in Saturday afternoon’s Premier League contest.

The Reds taught Leeds United a footballing lesson in a 6-1 romping on Monday night, while Steve Cooper’s men were put to the sword 2-0 by Manchester United.

At risk of going six games without a win for the first time since Jurgen Klopp took charge, Liverpool instead produced their best counter-pressing and possession performance of the season at Elland Road, according to their jubilant German manager.

Liverpool took a while to get going at Elland Road, but Cody Gakpo’s 35th-minute opener sparked a goalmouth frenzy, as Mohamed Salah and Diogo Jota ended the night with braces alongside a Darwin Nunez effort, although Leeds made things interesting early in the second half through Luis Sinisterra.

The signs of a revival were there in the pulsating four-goal thriller with Arsenal, who were arguably fortunate to come away from Anfield with a point, but Liverpool’s drubbing of Leeds was not enough to propel them back into the European places, and they remain eighth in the rankings at the time of writing.

Nine points separate Liverpool from Newcastle United in the fourth and final Champions League spot, so Klopp’s side are mathematically still capable of forcing their way back into Europe’s premier competition, and a kind end to the season sees the Reds face just one other Big Six side in a faltering Tottenham Hotspur before the curtain closes on a tumultuous year.

Now unbeaten in seven successive home fixtures in the Premier League – scoring at least twice in each of their last four at Anfield – Liverpool have just one defeat on their record from their last 37 Premier League home matches, but Forest have already proven capable of going toe-to-toe with Klopp’s crop.

A public vote of confidence from the powers-that-be has done little to galvanise Steve Cooper or his under-performing Nottingham Forest squad, who were comprehensively put to the sword by Man United at the City Ground to deepen their relegation fears.

Efforts from Antony and Diogo Dalot either side of the half-time whistle confirmed a routine win for the Red Devils, who could have made the net ripple more had it not been for the efforts of Keylor Navas, but once again, the Paris Saint-Germain loanee’s string of stops proved futile.

Now without a win in 10 top-flight matches while losing each of their last three, the Tricky Trees travel to Anfield languishing in 18th place – albeit only behind Everton on goal difference – but Cooper had every right to feel aggrieved on Sunday after a seemingly clear handball from Harry Maguire in the box was not flagged.

A consolation goal from the spot would have done little to cancel out Forest’s abysmal record at the other end, though, as Cooper’s ravaged squad have now gone 10 Premier League games without a clean sheet, and each of the visitors’ last five matches on the road has ended in defeat.

It has been a different story for Forest at the City Ground, where former Liverpool striker Taiwo Awoniyi returned to haunt his former club in a surprise 1-0 win for the Tricky Trees in October, but the Reds have won each of their last four Anfield clashes with their visitors, the most recent of which saw Michael Owen score four in a 5-1 demolition job in 1998.

Liverpool Premier League form:

Liverpool form (all competitions):

Nottingham Forest Premier League form:

We say: Liverpool 3-0 Nottingham Forest
Dusting off their shiniest shooting boots and scoring for fun in front of their own fans, a resurgent Liverpool should experience few roadblocks en route to another goal-laden win this weekend.

While Cooper can set up his side to frustrate Liverpool, Forest’s terrible record away from the City Ground speaks for itself, and Navas can expect another taxing afternoon in between the sticks for the beleaguered visitors.

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