Liverpool outruns Nottingham Forest in 3-2 Anfield thriller
Liverpool handled Nottingham Forest’s plan to fight fire with fire, getting a pair of goals from Diogo Jota in a 3-2 win at Anfield on Saturday.
Mohamed Salah bagged the winner for the free-scoring Reds, giving them 50 points and a reasonable-enough shout for the top four.
Liverpool’s moves into seventh place for the moment, six points back of fourth-place Newcastle and three behind Tottenham, who play Sunday. Aston Villa has one more point than Liverpool but has played one more match than the Reds.
Forest drops into 19th place with 27 points, though it twice looked set for a 28 points through Neco Williams and Morgan Gibbs-White equalizers.
Here’s everything you need to know ahead of Liverpool vs Nottingham Forest.
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Reds look good going forward to keep hopes alive
Consistency has not been the story of this Liverpool team, but if Jurgen Klopp’s free-scoring Reds have found their finishing footing they might just surprise with a top-four finish.
Liverpool is outscoring teams again, even if clean sheets are things of the past, and the Reds can directly affect two top-four rivals (Tottenham at Anfield on April 30 and Villa on May 20) while also looking to fixture list that is otherwise teams very much worrying about happenings down the table.
If Mohamed Salah and Diogo Jota can continue their lively play and Trent Alexander-Arnold can keep doing what so many figured he could do in the midfield, then the Reds may even hunt down a Champions League berth.
Forest shows fight but losing time
Perhaps it’s time to start planning Steve Cooper’s path in the Championship, because Forest just isn’t getting the rub of the green.
Forest’s performance was the type we’ve seen earn so many other relegation-threatened teams a point or three over the years, but the Reds cashed in their chances to deny any “smash-and-grab” headlines to a pair of visitors’ equalizers.
Four of Forest’s remaining six opponents are top-half, so even beating Southampton and Crystal Palace might not be enough to secure another season in the top-flight.
Perhaps Forest’s season took a dive when Awoniyi’s clever bicycle kick cleared the cross bar.
Liverpool vs Nottingham Forest player ratings: Stars of the Show
Liverpool vs Nottingham Forest as it happened
First half: Forest has had its fair share of the ball, at least according to expectations, but Liverpool’s supplying most of the pace and creatvity.
Virgil van Dijk has a header go just over the goal for a corner but the game is delated in the 28th minute as Scott McKenna’s injured his shoulder and will have to come off or Joe Worrall.
Now Diogo Jota flashes over goal as Liverpool is getting closer but still not quite finding the Incisiveness needed to lean on Forest’s nerves. Forest, meanwhile, is doing an almost uncanny job of giving the ball back to Liverpool within three touches of any takeaway/clearance/block.
Second half: GOAL!!!! Didn’t take long, did that? It’s Jota on the business end of a Trent Alexander-Arnold corner that sees three Liverpool heads touch the ball. Liverpool, 1-0.
GOAL!! Well, well, well... It’s ex-Liverpool youth Neco Williams with a deflected strike to fool Alisson and make it 1-1.
GOOOOAAALLLL!! Jota’s got his brace as he chests down an Andy Robertson free kick from the left in style, belting the shot past Keylor Navas and inside the far post!
Level again! GOAL! Morgan Gibbs-White slashes a side volley off a back-flicked corner kick, and it turns off Ibrahima Konate and Trent Alexander-Arnold to defy Alisson. 2-2.
GOOOOOOALLLL-Y SMOKES! Mohamed Salah fends off an arm bar and fires home from a cross in the 70th minute. This game, man. Liverpool, 3-2.
And Taiwo Awoniyi almost strikes again against his old team after doing so in a win earlier this season, but his bicycle kick just misses over the bar.
Jurgen Klopp reaction: Not thinking about top four right now
“Difficult game against the low block,” Klopp said of the game. “First half, we didn’t trade a lot but we didn’t give anything really away from them, which is important. You always need a positive start, and it’s positive you can control it. Then you can build on that in the second half. ... I think we deserve the three points clearly, and that’s the most important thing. All good for the moment.”
“Honestly, top four in the moment we have nothing to do. We will see how that looks in a few weeks but for us the three options are no European football, Conference League, or Europa League. The rest we have no influence if the teams above us win everything, then we just watch. It’s really take it game by game. Next is West Ham which is super tough. West Ham fights for absolutely everything. ... I’m happy that we could get all three points today. I don’t remember the last time we won two games in a row. Feels like ages ago, but that’s okay.”
Nottingham Forest hosts Brighton on Wednesday before going to Brentford at 10am ET Saturday.
Liverpool visits West Ham on Wednesday, then hosts Tottenham at 11:30am ET on Sunday.
Diogo Jota goal video: Tic-tac-toe headers
Neco Williams goal video: And it’s 1-1
Diogo Jota goal video: All-class trap and finish
Morgan Gibbs-White goal video: Super side volley
Mohamed Salah goal video: Egyptian battles to snap ball home
How to watch Liverpool vs Nottingham Forest live, stream link and start time
Kick off: 10am ET, SaturdayTV Channel: USA NetworkOnline: Stream via NBCSports.com
Key storylines & star players
Liverpool was scoring even went things weren’t going to plan against Leeds. Just look at Diogo Jota’s reaction to his mishit but still successful second goal. But there’s no question that Jota and Mohamed Salah are in terrific form after braces against Leeds.
Forest has been getting near-immaculate service from Morgan Gibbs-White many games this season, but the club has just gotten their preferred MGW target back in Taiwo Awoniyi. Hopefully the ex-Liverpool man can help Brennan Johnson deliver the goods against his old club.
Liverpool team news, injuries, lineup options
OUT: Stefan Bajcetic (undisclosed), Calvin Ramsay (knee), Naby Keita (undisclosed)
Nottingham Forest team news, injuries, lineup options
OUT: Willy Boly (thigh), Dean Henderson (thigh), Chris Wood (thigh), Cheickou Kouyate (thigh), Giulian Biancone (knee), Omar Richards (calf), Ryan Yates (shoulder), Gustavo Scarpa (knee)