After a busy midweek of matches on Amazon Prime, we reach the weekend with this lunch time fixture first up for the Premier League. It pits two historical clubs against one another, and could be the game of the weekend.
After very dissimilar summers in the market, a heavily revamped Forest Squad meet a Liverpool group that had only minor surgery applied. The home side currently reside at the bottom of the division, and in somewhat of a predicament. The heavy summer dealings and squad reshaping has left Forest without any consistent identity, and they are struggling to keep pace with those above.
The Forest floodgates have lessened somewhat, with a narrow 1-0 loss away to Wolves coming a after a 1-1 draw at home to Villa. This last midweek saw them draw away to an impressive Brighton side, therefore form isn’t too bad coming into this game. With Steve Cooper having now been in charge for a little over a year, he really needs to start putting points on the board however. In welcoming a slightly more resurgent reds side, he’ll certainly hope that they can push Liverpool towards their more early season form.
On the injury front, Renan Lodi does Santos, Omar Richards, Jack Colback, Lewis O’Brien, Moussa Niakhate & Harry Toffolo are all out injured. Taiwo Awoniyi will be hoping for a recall, and Joe Worrall may come in to add more defensive solidity. With so many changing pieces through the first period of the campaign, it’s difficult to predict a Forest performance, therefore a low block and fast attack will no doubt be incorporated.
For Liverpool, they’ll be eagerly wanting to add a third Premier League win in a week. With Rangers so easily overcome the midweek prior (Champions League), another win will surely see Jurgen Klopp’s men turn the corner. Form has been sporadic at best, but another three points is all that is wanted right now. The Manchester City win (last Sunday) and home win against a good Hammers side (on Wednesday) show the visitors travel with confidence, and this makes for a very interesting match up.
In terms of available players, Ibrahima Konate and Joel Matip are probably still out with knocks, whilst Calvin Ramsey is now back in contention. In midfield, Naby Keita is about a week away from starting fitness, whereas the myth that is Arthur will probably be out till after the World Cup. In attack is where most of the new injury issues reside, with both Diogo Jota and Luis Diaz out for the foreseeable future. Darwin came off with a concern in midweek, so could now be a doubt to start.
In terms of the starting eleven for the visitors, Andy Robertson and James Milner could return at fullback, with Harvey Elliott and Fabinho coming back into midfield. Jordan Henderson will likely step out with Fabio Carvalho also dropping to the bench. The wide and forward positions will come down to availability, but don’t be surprised if Mohamed Salah and Darwin start as a front line pair.
The reds will fancy this one, whilst Forest will be looking to get at least a point. A possession heavy away side will have to be wary of the pace in Brennan Johnson and Jesse Lingard, whilst former red (Taiwo Awoniyi) will be eager to make an impression. If Liverpool defend well, they should win, but do so only by a small margin. Counter attacking will be the homes sides weapon of choice, and Liverpool start slow, it could be a grind.
Player to watch – Taiwo Awoniyi
Nottingham Forest 1 – 2 Liverpool