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Nottingham Forest vs Liverpool: Match preview, lineups, quotes, form, injuries and how to watch live on BT Sport
Nottingham Forest host Liverpool in Saturday's early afternoon curtain-raiser. Will Klopp's side kick on or can Cooper's men cause an upset?
When and where to watch Nottingham Forest vs Liverpool
Nottingham Forest vs Liverpool kicks off at 12.30pm on Saturday 22 October.
You can catch all the action from the City Ground exclusively live on BT Sport 1 and Ultimate.
Nottingham Forest vs Liverpool match preview
After 1-0 victories over Manchester City and West Ham at Anfield, and before that a 7-1 thrashing of Rangers in the Champions League, Jurgen Klopp appears to have found a solution to his team’s early-season woes.
The Reds still have plenty of catching up to do, though. They currently sit seventh with ten games played, four points behind Chelsea in fourth and 11 behind league leaders Arsenal.
For now, though, Liverpool will just be pleased to have regained some form after a worrying opening few weeks of the season.
Some fine goalkeeping from Alisson and Darwin Nunez’s first Anfield goal (as a Liverpool player) proved enough to beat West Ham in midweek. And, crucially, Mo Salah seems back to his best after a subdued beginning to the campaign.
Nottingham Forest, meanwhile, are still searching desperately for an elusive victory having not won a Premier League game since they beat West Ham in August.
Steve Cooper has been backed by the club’s board but an improvement on recent performances will be needed if the newly-promoted side are to avoid being cut adrift in the bottom three.
A hard-fought 0-0 draw at Brighton on Tuesday night will likely have encouraged Forest, and they will need to be at full tilt to trouble Liverpool at the City Ground.
Nottingham Forest vs Liverpool predicted lineups
Nottingham Forest: (4-2-3-1) Henderson; Cook, Williams, Toffolo, McKenna, Kouyate, Yates, Freuler, Gibbs-White, Johnson, Dennis.
Liverpool: (4-3-3) Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, Van Dijk, Robertson, Fabinho, Thiago, Salah, Firmino, Elliott, Nunez
Nottingham Forest vs Liverpool: Injuries and suspensions
Forest could welcome back Serge Aurier after he missed the Brighton match having failed a late fitness test.
Jack Colback and Moussa Niakhate are still set to miss out through injury.
Liverpool have no fresh injury concerns after their win over West Ham, but Diogo Jota, Luis Diaz and Arthur Melo are all long-term absentees.
Joel Matip, Ibrahima Konate and Naby Keita could all make a return in the next couple of weeks, but Saturday’s game will come too soon for them.
Klopp could serve the first match of his touchline ban for his red card during the Man City win.
Form (last 6 matches)
Nottingham Forest – LLLDLD
Liverpool – WDDLWW
Nottingham Forest vs Liverpool: Form guide
Liverpool’s form over the last six games includes a couple of frustrating draws against Everton and Brighton and a 3-2 defeat at Arsenal.
But Klopp’s switch to a 4-4-2 - or 4-2-3-1 - system seems to have given the team a new lease of life.
Salah is playing more centrally and having more of an influence as a result, while the back four, with Fabinho usually marshalling just in front, appear to have more protection.
With back-to-back 1-0 wins, Liverpool head to the City Ground with renewed confidence, although Forest will be aware, having seen the West Ham game, that Klopp’s side are certainly not invulnerable.
The home side managed to pick up a potentially valuable point at Brighton, but they still sit bottom of the six-game form table, with just two points to their name.
A return of six points from the first 11 matches doesn’t bode well, though the hope is Forest’s influx of new players will soon gel and all will be well.
Cooper has, at least, managed to tighten things up at the back since the 4-0 drubbing at bottom-side Leicester earlier this month. Forest have conceded just twice in their last three games, and will need to be defensively disciplined again when Liverpool come to town.
He said what?!
Forest boss Steve Cooper has backed his players to come good despite their poor start:
“Everything is a collective effort here. I believe in these players 100 per cent and I am enjoying working with them.
“Although we’ve not been able to get the points, I have seen a group of players that want to be here and are committed every day and are striving to do better.
“I know we want to be more of a threat and we want to create more chances and spend more time on the ball in the opponent’s half, I understand that.
“We’ve had times in games where we have been that but it’s been to the detriment of being too open at the back and we’ve conceded too many goals. We’ve got to get the balance right."
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp discussed his side's switch to 4-4-2 in recent games:
"We played for quite a time a specific system, a specific way, and when you get used to things, you lose a desire for the detail a bit, and because it was so well tuned, how we defended or how we pressed or how we did different things, little things can change a lot, and that's why we had to change a big thing and to start thinking new about it as a group.
"It's actually not a big difference. It's a change of responsibility slightly. It has given us more stability in different moments. In the last game, to get stability again, we changed to a 4-5-1 in the last few minutes, so that's possible still.
"It all depends who is available, who is fit. When we started the 4-4-2, we had two more strikers available [Luis Diaz and Diogo Jota], so we have to stay open for all different possibilities and we make decisions about that, so it's about what is best for us and what is worst for the opponent. That's pretty much how you try to set up and that's always what we did and will do."
Nottingham Forest vs Liverpool: Last time they met
The last Premier League meeting between these two teams was way back in 1999, when Pierre van Hooijdonk scored a last-minute equaliser for Forest in a 2-2 draw at the City Ground. Jamie Redknapp and Michael Owen had given Liverpool the lead.
But the most recent clash of these historic clubs came only a few months ago, in March, when Liverpool battled to a 1-0 win in the FA Cup quarter-finals - going on to win the competition - thanks to a Diogo Jota goal 12 minutes from time.
Nottingham Forest vs Liverpool: Players to watch
Scott McKenna was Forest’s standout performer at Brighton and the centre-back will be a key man again against Liverpool.
The powerful Scot could well be tasked with keeping Nunez at bay, a challenge his recent performances suggest he’s capable of rising to.
Forest have also been indebted to goalkeeper Dean Henderson on several occasions this season, and he will almost certainly be involved again on Saturday.
For Liverpool, Nunez continues to be a captivating watch, a striker with raw talent, impressively quick and strong, but lacking some of the refinement that will likely come with time.
The Uruguayan will be looking to build on his performance against West Ham and add to his tally of three Premier League goals.
Nottingham Forest vs Liverpool: Key stats
- This the first league meeting between Nottingham Forest and Liverpool since a 2-2 draw in April 1999, though Liverpool won an FA Cup tie between the two at the City Ground last season.
- Liverpool have never won in five Premier League away games against Nottingham Forest (D3 L2) – the City Ground is the only ground the Reds have played at more than once in the competition and never won.
- Liverpool are unbeaten in their last 16 away Premier League games against promoted sides, since a 2-0 loss at Hull in February 2017 (W11 D5). The last team to have a longer such run were Tottenham between 2012 and 2020 (23 games).
- Nottingham Forest are winless in their last four Premier League home games (D1 L3), netting the first goal in each of their last three. Only two teams have opened the scoring but failed to win more consecutive home games in the competition – Chelsea (4 between February and April 1996) and Norwich City (5 in December/January 2019-20).
- Liverpool have failed to win any of their four Premier League away games so far this season (D2 L2) – they last had a longer run without an away win from the start of a campaign in 2006-07 (7).
- Nottingham Forest are on the longest current winless run in the Premier League, drawing three and losing six times since beating West Ham 1-0 in August. They've failed to score on five occasions in this run, and conceded 21 goals, though they did keep a clean sheet last time out.
- Liverpool have won their last two Premier League games 1-0, the first time they've opened the scoring in consecutive league games since a run of three in April. They last had a longer run of consecutive 1-0 wins between May-September 2013 (4).
- Only Manchester City (177) have had more shots than Liverpool (175) in the Premier League this season, while only Everton (183) have faced more efforts than Nottingham Forest (176).
- Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah has been involved in 29 goals in his last 30 Premier League appearances against promoted sides (18 goals, 11 assists). He’s scored against 26 of the 27 opponents he’s faced in the Premier League with the Reds, failing only against Swansea City.
- No Liverpool player has provided more assists in all competitions this season than Konstantinos Tsimikas (5), with the full back setting up Darwin Núñez's winner against West Ham last time out.