Liverpool emphatically silenced their critics with a 6-1 thrashing of a lackluster Leeds last time out as the pressure mounted following a discouraging five games losing streak (D2, L3). At Elland Road, they appeared very much like the Liverpool of old, and the rest of their Premier League (PL) campaign will likely need to reflect this if they are to salvage anything significant given that they are still six points outside of the European positions.
It is practically unimaginable for Anfield to not host European football, therefore Jürgen Klopp’s team returns home needing to keep the wins coming after having lost only one of their previous 37 league home games (W27, D9). The fact that Liverpool hasn’t lost at home in the last 25 head to head meetings (W18, D7) should also scare Nottingham Forest, but the fact that Liverpool lost the previous meeting 1-0 in October illustrates that nothing can be taken for granted.
That is especially true when you come across a wounded animal in a position of relegation, which is exactly where Forest are right now after going winless in their last ten games (D3, L7). In each of those contests, they have given up a goal, therefore manager Steve Cooper has only celebrated a league victory this year when his team has kept a clean sheet.
It would be absolutely remarkable if Cooper could somehow orchestrate one of those tenacious defensive displays here, given just two promoted sides have ever defeated Liverpool in the Premier League, and Forest’s previous league double over their opponents was back in 1962/1963. The stats clearly rule out a historic double, with Forest’s six points and five goals on the road in the Premier League this season both being league lows.
Diogo Jota continued his streak of never losing while scoring for Liverpool (W25, D4) with a brace against Leeds after a 372 days absence off the Premier League scoresheet. With four Premier League goals this season, all of which have come as the game’s first score, Forest’s Taiwo Awoniyi will be aiming to repeat his heroics from the previous meeting.
Luis Diaz made his first appearance in almost six months after fully recovering from knee surgery on a nearly flawless night for Liverpool at Leeds, but Roberto Firmino will now definitely miss three games with a muscular issue.
While Stefan Bajcetic (adductor) and Calvin Ramsay (knee) continue to recover from season-ending surgeries, Naby Keita is still recovering from a muscular issue and may have worn the Liverpool jersey for the last time.
Thiago Alcantara and Nunez may once more be forced to accept minutes from the bench by Klopp, who presumably sees no reason to change a winning formula. Curtis Jones and Jota, who contributed to three of Liverpool’s six goals on Monday after a disastrous start, may remain in the starting lineup.
As a result of injuries sustained at the City Ground, Giulian Biancone (knee), Omar Richards (calf), Chris Wood, Willy Boly, and Cheikhou Kouyate are all expected to spend the foreseeable future in the hospital. Forest manager Cooper is also still dealing with a number of other players who are injured.
Although the injuries to Ryan Yates (shoulder), Serge Aurier (unspecified), Dean Henderson (thigh), and Gustavo Scarpa (knee) shouldn’t take as long to recover from, Cooper said in his pre-game news conference that he would be working with the same team as last weekend.
Awoniyi squandered a wonderful opportunity to make the net tremble against Man United, but the former Reds striker can be optimistic about keeping his spot against his former team, unless Cooper takes a chance on Orel Mangala, who is more of a defensive presence.
Liverpool possible starting lineup
Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Konate, Van Dijk, Robertson, Jones, Fabinho, Henderson, Salah, Gakpo and Jota.
Nottingham Forest possible starting lineup
Navas, Felipe, McKenna, Niakhate, Williams, Danilo, Mangala, Freuler, Lodi, Awoniyi and Gibbs-White.
Liverpool defeats Nottingham Forest 3-0 as we predict
A resurgent Liverpool should face few obstacles on the way to another goal filled victory this weekend if they dust off their brightest shooting boots and score for fun in front of their own supporters.
Cooper may be able to set up his team to frustrate Liverpool, but Forest’s dismal record away from the City Ground speaks for itself, and Navas can anticipate another hard day in goal for the struggling visitors.