The football gods at times do have a sense of poetic humor.
Liverpool lost 1-0 to the worst team in the league in Nottingham Forest—with an ex-Red scoring the decisive goal—not even a week removed from beating the best team in the country, and arguably the world, in Man City by the same margin.
The injury trickster god among the football pantheon was at work once again, with reports emerging before kickoff that midweek match winner, Darwin Nunez would miss out with a hamstring complaint, while Thiago was a late scratch with an ear infection.
The late calls meant that the young trio of Harvey Elliott, Fabio Carvalho and Curtis Jones all started on the day, the latter playing his first extended minutes all season.
Jurgen Klopp was still able to field a side full of trophy-winning quality, however, as has been the case this season, Liverpool on the day added up to less than the sum of their parts.
Fittingly, it was an ex-Red, Taiwo Awoniyi who delivered the decisive blow, goading Joe Gomez into conceding a foul on the break before bundling home a saved shot on the ensuring free kick. It was only Forest’s eighth goal from 12 matches so far this season.
“We made a massive mistake for the goal, unnecessary and unforced,” Klopp admitted speaking to Bein Sport after the game.
“We should have won today even with all the changes and chances we had—we are used to fighting through games.”
It has been an intense 7-day period for the Reds, with the trip to Forest following an emotionally draining victory against City last Sunday and a hard-fought win over West Ham in midweek depleting Liverpool’s ranks and energy.
Virgil Van Dijk in particular will rue his multiple missed chances on a series of set pieces, including a free header on a corner late in the game in which he shot straight at the keeper while unmarked.
“We are playing 3 games a week with a really limited squad with full intensity,” Klopp continued, this time speaking to BT Sport.
“We gave them all of their chances—we kept making the wrong passes.
“I never saw a game where one team has four or five no-brainer [chances] from a set piece where we have to finish it off.
“For us today we have to win here and we didn’t, so credit to Nottingham.
“Standing here with [no points] feels really bad.”