Liverpool’s mini-revival came to an end with a 1-0 defeat against Nottingham Forest, who won their first Premier League game in 23 years thanks to Taiwo Awoniyi’s strike.
Liverpool’s mini-revival came to an end with a 1-0 defeat against Nottingham Forest, who won their first Premier League game in 23 years thanks to Taiwo Awoniyi’s strike. Awoniyi spent six years as a Liverpool player before being loaned out on a succession of loan spells, but he returned to haunt his previous team and lift his current employers off the bottom of the table. Liverpool was without the injured Darwin Nunez, Diogo Jota, and Luis Diaz, and it showed as they lacked the spark needed to break down a deep-lying Forest defence.
The Reds have now lost more league games in the first 11 games than they did in the entire season last year when they finished second to Manchester City by a point.
Victory over City last Saturday, followed by a 1-0 triumph over West Ham in midweek, appeared to have given Jurgen Klopp’s players a boost following a sluggish start to the season.
But, with Thiago Alcantara also out due to sickness, they didn’t have enough in reserve to beat a team that hadn’t won since August.
Forest has been patient with manager Steve Cooper, even offering him a new contract, as he attempts to bring in a Premier League record 23 new recruits in one transfer window.
The two-time European winners are slowly beginning to see a return on their investment after drawing 0-0 with Brighton at the Amex in midweek.
Klopp made five changes from Liverpool’s midweek triumph over West Ham, and it showed in a disjointed first-half performance in which Liverpool struggled to convert over 70% possession into chances.
Before halftime, the visitors’ finest chance to break the stalemate came from a corner, when Virgil van Dijk bizarrely attempted to head the ball in the direction of Roberto Firmino rather than go for goal himself from close range with a free header.
Forest struck from a set piece ten minutes into the second period when Ryan Yates’ original shot came back against the post and Awoniyi was perfectly placed to touch into an unguarded net.
Set-pieces were Liverpool’s greatest chance of scoring, with Firmino heading wide from a corner and Van Dijk’s shot from a Trent-Alexander Arnold free-kick brilliantly saved by Dean Henderson.
Alisson Becker kept Liverpool in the game with saves from Brennan Johnson and Morgan Gibbs-White, while Forest had plenty of chances to kill the game off on the counter-attack.
Forest, however, held out to the pleasure of a sold-out crowd at City Ground to go within one point of climbing out of the bottom three.
A third league defeat of the season keeps Liverpool in seventh place, 11 points behind leaders Arsenal despite having played one more game.