For the first time this season, Liverpool played to what felt like an extremely comfortable win. The Reds dominated the ball, dominated the chances, and dominated the scoreline. Nottingham Forest didn’t even have a sniff at goal until the 84th minute, well after the match had been put to bed. It felt like the Liverpool from their title winning season, or the quadruple challenging season, except potentially even more fun to watch.
Below, we take a look at some winners and losers on the night, and attempt to disentangle narrative from fact.
Support for Luis Diaz
It’s been an awful couple of days for Luis Diaz after learning that his parents had been kidnapped back in Colombia. While his mother is home safe, his father is still missing. Diaz was given compassionate leave as the search for his father continues, and his Liverpool teammates and supporters made it clear they were all thinking of him. After scoring the opening goal of the match, Diogo Jota immediately ran to the side line to grab a Luis Diaz jersey and hold it up in a gesture of support for his teammate.
The Anfield faithful also gave full-throated support to their Colombian winger, singing out his name. Really goes to show that this club is about more than just what happens on the pitch.
When Liverpool were at their best over the past half decade (or longer), they had a fluid front three of Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino, and Sadio Mané with a controlling midfield behind them. Jürgen Klopp’s Liverpool V2 takes that attacking fluidity to a new level with the integration of dynamic midfielders Dominik Szoboszlai and Ryan Gravenberch.
Against Nottingham Forest, the strikers and more advanced midfielders were continually rotating in and out of positions to create space and passing lanes for each other to crack open the low block. All together, the front six combined for 8 shots on target from 13 total shots. The entire starting front three finished with a goal for the second time this season, with midfield dynamo Dominik Szoboszlai (seriously, how good is this guy?) finishing with his first two assists for the club. The goal for Jota was his 50th in the Premier League, while Salah’s goal was his fifth consecutive goal at Anfield in the league to start the season. This may shock you, but that’s apparently another record that Salah has broken.
Alexis Mac Allister
While no one will confuse Alexis Mac Allister with prime Fabinho, the Argentinian midfielder is looking more and more settled in a holding role. Granted, the last two matches have been against overmatched sides Everton and Nottingham Forest, but Macca was again on hand to vacuum up seemingly every loose ball in midfield for the second week in a row to regain or maintain possession. He also has cut out some of the silly mistakes that have lead to chances earlier in the season, and really showed off his prowess to ride the press and progress the ball with a pass or dribble.
It’s typically not a comfortable win unless it’s accompanied by a clean sheet. Liverpool dominated possession, but they also did a very good job of limiting Nottingham Forest to a few half chances throughout the majority of the match. Alexis Mac Allister did well to regain possession in most cases, and Virgil van Dijk and Ibrahima Konaté were on hand to mop up anything that leaked through. Forest only had two chances through the 80 minute mark, and didn’t have a clear chance until Anthony Elanga crashed a volley off the crossbar in the 84th minute. In the end, Alisson had one save to make on the day.
Away Teams Having Liverpool Attack The Kop End First
Bold choice Nottingham Forest, how’d that work out for you?
From The Manager
“The preparation was the most difficult I had in my life. Didn’t expect it, couldn’t prepare for it. We try to help Lucho as much as we can. The only thing we can do is fight for him.”
Jürgen Klopp on preparing for the match after finding that the parents of Luis Diaz had been kidnapped.
What Happens Next
Liverpool continue a busy stretch of fixtures, heading to the south coast to take on Bournemouth in an EFL Cup match on Wednesday. Expect quite a few chances as the match kicks off a span of three away matches in just over a week, with trips to Luton Town in the Premier League and Toulouse in Europa League to follow.