It wouldn’t be difficult to make the case that Liverpool didn’t play terribly against Nottingham Forest on Saturday. The Reds held 76% of the possession, completed three times as many passes as their opponents, were nearly 25% more accurate with them, and had more shots.
In the end, though, for a side in the position Liverpool are in—a side expected to challenge for the title who instead find themselves mid-table—it’s hard to look past the final scoreline, a 1-0 defeat to the side that was worst side in the league until they upset the Reds on Saturday.
“A really tough one and in our position we can’t really afford it,” summed up left back Andy Robertson. “Look, credit goes to Forest, I thought they were really good, in our faces in front of their crowd and everything, but I don’t know how we’ve not scored today, I really don’t.
“We had so many chances, set-pieces we knew could have been huge. Some of the balls in were good, finding free headers or landing on people’s feet and we’ve just not had that composure to put it away. Look, we could be sitting here with a very different story but we’re not.”
Missed opportunities are indeed one of the main talking points, with fellow defender Virgil van Dijk alone missing three wide open chances created off set-pieces or in their immediate aftermath. On another day, it could have added up to an easy win. On Saturday, it added up to frustration.
In another season, that might be the end of it. Games like Saturday happen to the best of teams at the best of times. Liverpool’s problem is that however good this team might have shown they can be at their best in past seasons, this very much is not the best of times for them.
“We’ve had games like this in the past but in the position we are in just now, we can’t really afford that and that’s why we’re all gutted in that changing room now,” Robertson added. “It’s so disappointing, we’ve had enough chances like I said, but that’s the thing we have to swallow.”