It’s now 10 games without a win for Nottingham Forest, who quickly turn their attention to Saturday’s trip to Anfield looking for the points to lift themselves from the bottom three.
As many expected last weekend, Nottingham Forest fell to defeat against Manchester United – extending their winless streak into the double digits. It’s been a wretched few weeks for Steve Cooper’s who’s side can’t seem to find any form as the creep ever closer to the Championship.
The same can’t be said about Liverpool, who are setting their sights on the top four after floundering in mid-table for most of the season. Jurgen Klopp’s side have struggled this season, and with a rebuild anticipated this summer, the Reds will look to round out the campaign on a high and secure a Champions League spot for next season.
WHEN & WHERE?
Where: Anfield, Liverpool.
When: Saturday 22nd April, 2023.
Time: 15:00 GMT
Referee: Michael Oliver.
Assistants: Stuart Burt, Dan Cook.
Fourth official: Anthony Taylor.
VAR: Paul Tierney.
Assistant VAR: Derek Eaton.
Liverpool’s underwhelming season can largely be attributed to an injury-hit squad. Now, with most players back in action, results and performances have picked up, with the North-West side flying up the table. Youngster Stefan Bajcetic picked up a season-ending injury in March, but otherwise, Jurgen Klopp has a near full fit squad at his disposal this weekend.
Steve Cooper’s side – like most weeks – will be weakened this weekend, with nine first-team players still out through injury. There will be some speculation as to whether Ryan Yates will return, with the Forest academy graduate sorely missed in midfield; but it’s likely to be another week without the Englishman in the matchday squad.
Every Nottingham Forest fan must be petrified right now. Performances are poor, results aren’t coming and they are quickly moving closer to confirming their return to the second division. The Reds didn’t manage a single shot on target against Manchester United last Sunday, despite their opponents rotating each player of their backline. It was an abysmal attacking display and with a trip to Anfield on the horizon, it looks like it won’t get any easier.
Earlier in this season, Liverpool were on the wrong end of a 1-0 score line at the City Ground, as they looked like a shadow of their former-selves. However, the six-time Champions League winners have looked back to the best in recent weeks and could wreck havok on this dysfunctional Forest side.
Klopp’s side will suffocate their opponents, penning them into their own third, shutting down passing lanes and pressing with intensity. To their credit, Forest have looked alright defensively – regardless of their goals against record – but it will take something incredible to keep the Scousers out. In their last four games, Liverpool have scored nine games, largely part to their 6-1 hammering of Leeds United. An attack on form should have no issues dealing with a lacklustre Forest side.
In their remaining games, Forest play three sides in the bottom-half of the table – two of which are Chelsea and Crystal Palace. With such a tough run in ahead, the Reds need to pick-up points from unlikley destinations and the optimist in me feels like Anfield could be that place; but Forest need to get their front men on the ball. An issue they’ve had a lot in recent weeks is creating chances for their attackers, with just three shots on target in their last three games. Cooper needs to set his midfield up to match that of his Liverpool counterparts but also create openings for the Forest attack. It’s a tough ask but with their backs up against the walls I don’t think you can quite write them off just yet.
Liverpool: Trent Alexander Arnold
What a redemption arc Trent has had this season. The 24-year-old looked lost at the start of the season, but with tactical changes and the freedom to drift into midfield, Trent has again become a key creative outlet for this Liverpool side. Three assists in two games is a clear sign of a man in form; chasing down a place in the top four, Klopp needs everyone to step up – right as Trent is hitting form.
Nottingham Forest – Felipe
Wherever Forest are next season, Felipe shouldn’t be with them. The 33-year-old is a phenomenal defender, who is excellent at reading the game and winning back possession. Assuming Forest will struggle to lay a glove on Alisson in the Liverpool net, they will need their defence to hold on to whatever they can. Felipe hasn’t let them down yet.
Liverpool predicted lineup vs Nottingham Forest: Alisson, Robertson, Van Dijk, Konate, Alexander Arnold, Jones, Fabinho, Henderson, Jota, Gakpo, Salah.
Nottingham Forest predicted lineup vs Liverpool: Navas, Lodi, Felipe, Niakhate, Worrall, Williams, Danilo, Freuler, Shelvey, Awoniyi, Johnson.