Anfield is the venue as high-flying Liverpool and bottom-half Nottingham Forest go head-to-head in what promises to be a one-sided Premier League encounter on Sunday afternoon.
Everton’s self-destructive performance in last weekend’s Merseyside derby fired Jurgen Klopp’s title-bidding side to a comfortable 2-0 home victory, ending their two-game winless league run.
Following an underwhelming 2022/23 campaign, the Reds are seemingly back to where they belong, with only three points separating them from early pacesetters Tottenham Hotspur at the start of this round.
Liverpool will play Toulouse in their third Europa League group-stage fixture on Thursday, looking to maintain a 100% start to their first season in Europe’s secondary competition since a runner-up finish in 2015/16.
It will be the final rehearsal ahead of Forest’s visit to Anfield and a potential opportunity for Klopp to rest several first-team stars amid a packed-out schedule.
Marquee summer arrival Dominik Szoboszlai, who has yet to miss a single minute of top-flight action this season, should have some rest, even though the local crowd would probably like to see him play.
The Hungarian’s phenomenal start to life in England has made him a fan favourite, with Liverpool naming him the most popular club player ahead of long-serving stalwart Mohamed Salah on any online shop selling Livepool and Premier League shirts.
Szoboszlai’s rise to stardom at Anfield is not the only encouragement for Liverpool fans, as last season’s flop Darwin Nunez seems to be finally hitting his stride on Merseyside.
In the build-up to the Reds’ clash against Toulouse, Klopp backed the Uruguayan to hit top gear and earn a more prominent role following a troubled first year in the Premier League.
Nunez has only scored once at home this season, but it hasn’t stopped Liverpool from winning all six competitive outings at Anfield by a combined score of 16-3.
Since they’ve won their last five home matches against Forest in the Premier League, it stands to reason another emphatic scoreline could be on the cards on Sunday.
You’d need to go back to a scoreless draw in 1993 for the last time Forest avoided defeat at Anfield, though they made a valiant attempt in 2022/23, going down 3-2 in a five-game thriller.
With Liverpool enjoying a far better campaign this term and the Tricky Trees already losing three of their five away league games (W1, D1), it’s hard to expect another closely-fought contest.
Last weekend’s clean sheet against Everton was only the Reds’ second shutout in nine Premier League outings this season, so Forest’s long-standing scoring problems on the road are a welcoming boost.
No side scored fewer league goals away from home than Steve Cooper’s men last term (11), and they seem to have carried that profligacy into the new campaign, drawing a blank on their last two top-flight travels.
Long-term absentees Thiago Alcantara and Stefan Bajectic have got company in the treatment room as Andy Robertson suffered a nasty shoulder injury while on international duty with Scotland.
However, the rest of the Liverpool team should make the matchday squad if they can avoid picking up fresh injury concerns against Toulouse.
As for Forest, Danilo, Felipe, Nuno Tavares, Gonzalo Montiel and Taiwo Awoniyi are unavailable for selection due to injuries.
Liverpool potential starting line-up:
(4-3-3): Alisson Becker; Trent Alexander-Arnold, Virgil van Dijk, Ibrahima Konate, Kostas Tsimikas; Alexis Mac Allister, Dominik Szoboszlai, Ryan Gravenberch; Luis Diaz, Mohamed Salah, Darwin Nunez.
Nottingham Forest potential starting line-up:
(4-3-3): Matt Turner; Serge Aurier, Willy Boly, Murillo, Harry Toffolo; Nicolas Dominguez, Orel Mangala, Ibrahim Sangare; Morgan Gibbs-White, Anthony Elanga, Chris Wood.