Tap For Menu  
Single word yields best result

Football News: Liverpool v Nottingham Forest - A Quick Liverpool Perspective

Liverpool v Nottingham Forest - A Quick Liverpool Perspective

Liverpool v Nottingham Forest


It is not often a game is so one-sided, but that is now the third game in a row that Liverpool have been by far the better side and it has just been a case of how many they win by. I really do not like the tactics as a general way of playing, but in games like these, where the opponent has just turned up to try not to get beat by too many goals, they do work really well. Though it is of course perfectly possible that playing a standard back four would have worked just as well, or maybe even better, it is just that matches like this are worth taking the risk of leaving a gap at the back. Mainly because the opposition do not really attack that space at all. Actually, they pretty much failed to attack at all due to the set up they went with in this game.

With just one up front, Forest found exactly the same problem as West Ham had done earlier in the season. They had no out ball and just got smothered every time they tried to break forward. It was the cause of the first goal, Murillo breaking forward out of defence was left with no options to pass to and just had to keep going and going until he lost the ball. Liverpool could only beat what was in front of them and they beat them well and look to be riding high on a wave of confidence right now. Most importantly, the whole team are playing with real purpose, even when they are not playing well they are not letting their heads drop and continuing to work hard.

This season is beginning to look reminiscent of a couple of seasons ago, where the team was not playing the best, most exciting brand of football, but just finding ways to win. What is most exciting about this season's team is that they seem to have finally added that long sought after ability to control games once they get their nose in front. Thiago was bought to provide that quality, but this team is doing it without the oft-injured Spanish midfielder and it is difficult to see where he can fit in to the starting eleven. What he does provide, as does Endo and others, are options for Klopp to choose between. He has a midfield that can be altered to suit the situation posed by the game ahead. A forward line that has dangerous options to bring in to change a game. It is only really the defence that looks to be short of a solid, durable, central defensive alternative to the first choice pairing. Even that has Gomez and Matip as back up options and the youngster Quansah to be developed for the future.

Right now, this Liverpool team looks capable of pushing all the way to the end of the season, hopefully even win a trophy (or more) this season, with the potential to be even better in the future. All this with the togetherness they show could make this Klopp's best team yet. A long way to go yet, but it is looking like the start of something special. In fact it has for a while, but I have been trying to temper my excitement!


Forest have come a long way over the last couple of seasons and it is going to take time for them to make the next step up to be consistent finishers in the top table. Even then, these kind of results will still come occasionally, but they will have to be less passive if they are not to become the norm, rather than occasional. Without a genuine top class goalkeeper to pull them out of the mire when the need arises, they really cannot afford to rely on defending in depth to get them through. Turner is a long way off top class, he is a decent, solid back up keeper at Premier League level but not good enough in the long term to be first choice. I am not referring to his terrible error for the third goal, I am also talking about his weak push out of Nunez's shot to allow Jota a tap in for the opening goal. That should have been knocked well clear or even out for a corner. Instead it was laid on a plate for anyone following up.

Their defence and midfield are now looking decent, though lacking in depth as Worrall and McKenna, in particular, are nowhere near the level required. It is the attacking third that they look in real trouble, and that can often be the difference between wins and losses in this league. They have three strikers in Awoniyi, Wood and Origi that suffer far too many injuries to be relied upon and they really need to look for a reliable forward. More to the point they need to find a way to get Gibbs-White to play more football and spend less time throwing himself to the floor and whining. His form right now is woeful and most of their game is built around him, so they cannot afford him to be out of sorts for long.

Finally the manager, Steve Cooper, really needs to reconsider his tactical approach. The squad he has been given is not suited to a defend deep and hang on for dear life style. The first choice players are all good technical footballers and need a platform to play on. I do realise that takes a bravery that very few managers have, to stick with a more attacking approach even when there are the inevitable bad results. The problem he has is that owner Marinakis is not known for his patience, he would have replaced Cooper last season if he had been able to get the replacement he wanted, I am not sure that he will be happy with the current slow progress forward after spending so much in the last few windows. That is Cooper's biggest issue right now, it will decide his future far more than results, it is getting that style of play that Marinakis will enjoy while getting results. Personally I think he has done well and there are clear signs of progression, but each step up gets harder to make.

Yesterday Cooper got it all wrong. Injuries did leave him with a lack of options, but to not play anyone to attack that space on Liverpool's right flank left by Alexander-Arnold inversion is criminal. It would not have taken much to move Elanga to operate from the left and ask Gibbs-White to just push further forward, without needing to change the players. I can understand him being unwilling to take the risk to press Liverpool, even if they have shown a weakness to being pressed while playing out from the back, as any mistakes in the press would leave Forest in trouble. Dropping deep and defending is also understandable, but you have to give yourself an outball and Cooper simply did not set up without one and that made it easy to dominate them.


Quick notes on the players:


Alisson - once again he had the deck chair out. If this carries on he will need to join a book club to find books to read to keep himself occupied during the 90 minutes. At this rate Liverpool can just play Alexander-Arnold as a 'rush keeper' and let Alisson have the weekends off to catch up on the household chores. After all, Alexander-Arnold is already playing in defence and midfield, so what is another position?

Alexander-Arnold - had an excellent game, I especially liked some of his forward bursts running past players. Dropping the shoulder and going past a player or two in that way opens up so many more options for him on the ball.

Konate - never really put under pressure or tested, it was a nice little stroll for him. Considering he had been talking about how this system makes him cover more ground than ever before in his career, it is strange that Forest never looked to put pressure on down his side to see how he held up.

van Dijk - looking back to his imperious best, even showing his pace is still there when needed. His return to form has been a key part in Liverpool's season.

Tsimikas - a better performance than last weekend, he is starting to settle back in to the role but he has to offer more when receiving the ball. He played it far too safe, usually just looking to pass it back when he got it.

Mac Allister - this is the kind of game made for Mac Allister at the 6. When it is not about him breaking up play, but more about him using it as a springboard for launching attacks from deep. As such, he had a very good game, showing his vision and range of passing are there when given the time and space to operate. He did look even better late in the game after Endo came on, when he moved forward and played his natural position.

Gravenberch - looked very off, I would think because of the number of games he has played in a short space of time without having had the benefit of a preseason at Liverpool to prepare him for them. His touch was heavy and he was a bit leggy, no doubt struggling with slightly heavy legs. There were still flashes of what he can do.

Szoboszlai - is there really only one of him on the pitch at a time? It really does feel like there must be more, or maybe they are just running on and off like rolling subs in ice hockey, because no one man should be able to pop up everywhere like he does constantly. He is a phenomenal talent and still young enough to have the potential to improve.

Jota - it is games like this which show why I get so annoyed with Jota on other days. He was excellent in this game, not just scoring but also linking up and pressing well, good switch of play in the build up to the second goal as well. This is the level he should be at most games, rather than the player we often see with the loose touch and inability to pass to a teammate. One thing is for sure, you can never argue he does not score enough! Great celebration too - fingers crossed for Diaz's father's safe return!

Salah - excellent again, always causing problems and linking up well with Nunez and Szoboszlai. Is it me or is he really playing even better this season than ever before? And to score for the 5th home league game in a row is incredible, only the third player in the club's history to manage that feat. So glad he was not interested in the Saudi billions in the summer!

Nunez - he really is Captain Chaos. It is hard not to love him as he works so hard and torments opposition defenders every second he is on the pitch. His link up play has improved vastly this season as well.

Gakpo - brought on in the 58th minute for Jota. Slotted straight in and looked comfortable in there. A few times this season he has been guilty of just trying a little too hard, but this time he was doing the right things and not trying to do something special, forcing it even.

Elliott - came on in place of Gravenberch, also in the 58th minute. As is usual when he comes on as a sub, Elliott provided workrate and enthusiasm in abundance, as well as a little touch of quality at times.

Endo - swapped in for Nunez in the 80th minute. Bringing him on allowed Mac Allister to move forward and freed him up. It also gave the team a lot more of a solid feel as Endo does the right things. He is not the most spectacular player, but he tends to position himself well and does the simple things without fuss. I would like to see more of him, especially against the teams that are going to actually attack Liverpool.

Gomez - replaced Alexander-Arnold in the 88th minute. Never really had time to affect the game much, but he does slot in well right now and is beginning to look a lot more comfortable when he inverts. The drop off from having Alexander-Arnold playing there has lessened significantly and Gomez is beginning to look once more like the player he was during the title season.

Written by Tris Burke October 30 2023 16:41:03


Discuss rumours and transfers on our Liverpool rumours web page


Discuss rumours and transfers on our Nottingham Forest rumours web page