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Winners & Losers

Alisson should be pinning Liverpool flops up against the wall! Winners, losers & ratings from Forest horror show

17:27 EAT 22/10/2022
Liverpool Nottingham Forest 2022-23
Taiwo Awoniyi struck as Nottingham Forest heaped more misery on Liverpool with a 1-0 win at the City Ground.

Of all the people, in all the games. Taiwo Awoniyi spent seven years as a Liverpool player, yet never got the chance to pull on a Liverpool shirt in a competitive match. He had loan after loan, never realising his dream of representing the Reds.

But here, at the City Ground, he broke his former club’s heart, his goal handing the other Reds, Nottingham Forest, their first Premier League win since August and proving that for all the talk of a revival after recent wins against Manchester City and West Ham, the foundations of Jurgen Klopp’s side are still shaky, to say the least.

Liverpool were nothing like fluent as Forest defended doggedly, dragged Klopp's side into a battle and then buried them early in the second half through Awoniyi.

The Nigerian was on hand to convert from close range after Ryan Yates’ initial effort had struck the post. It was his third goal since his summer move from Union Berlin, and enough to secure the points as Liverpool, for the second time this season, dropped points away to a newly-promoted side. 

They have now lost more league games this season than in the whole of the last campaign. Their mini-revival is well and truly over.

Forest, meanwhile, can celebrate a win that will be talked about for years, and which could really get their campaign going after a tough start.

  • Taiwo Awoniyi Nottingham Forest 2022-23

    The Winners

    Taiwo Awoniyi:

    It had to be him, didn't it? The Nigeria international is nothing if not resilient. He showed that during a succession of loan spells while a Liverpool player, heading to Belgium and Holland before finding a home in Berlin. He's in Nottingham now, and days like this will ensure he feels the love forever from the fans. His goal was a poacher's effort, the right man in the right place to convert after the ball had rebounded off the post, but it was Awoniyi who created the chaos in the first place, his persistence forcing Joe Gomez into an error on the ball, with the Liverpool man dragging him back to concede the free-kick. The rest, as they say, is history. Awoniyi left to the loudest cheers of the afternoon soon after, his job done on a big day.

    Steve Cooper:

    The Liverpool connection at Forest is strong. As well as Awoniyi, there was Neco Williams, the Reds academy graduate, battling away out of position at left-back against Harvey Elliott, Mohamed Salah and Co. And then there's the manager, a one-time youth coach at Kirkby, now the man tasked with re-establishing the Garibaldi Reds as a top-flight club after 23 years in the wilderness. Cooper pulled a masterstroke here, his team defending superbly, competing for every first ball, every second ball, protecting their penalty area and breaking with menace when they could. His players, to a man, gave everything, and earned their win. They needed their goalkeeper at the end, but had it not been for Liverpool's, Forest might have added extra gloss to the scoreline. As it is, 1-0 is more than enough.

    Alisson Becker:

    If Liverpool's goalkeeper has anything about him, he'll have been pinning a few of his teammates up against the dressing room wall after this. After all, if he can do his job to the best of his abilities, why can't the rest? The Brazilian is the only starter - the possible exception of Elliott aside - to emerge with any credit here, an all-too-familiar tale in a season of woe for Jurgen Klopp. Alisson was helpless as Forest grabbed the winner, his defence flat-footed and failing to defend a deep set-piece. The goalkeeper then reacted superbly to keep out first Brennan Johnson and then Ryan Yates, as the Premier League's bottom club twice broke clear. He found himself in the Forest penalty area in the dying stages, and was close to converting a rebound of his own after Van Dijk's header was saved. That Liverpool needed him to, however, says everything.

  • Mohamed Salah Liverpool 2022-23

    The Losers

    Liverpool's attack:

    Good luck putting a highlights reel together for this one. After thrilling against Manchester City and grinding it out against West Ham, the hope was that Liverpool, belatedly, had clicked into gear. But they've never won at the City Ground in the Premier League, and they didn't deserve to change that record here. They were without stars - Diogo Jota and Luis Diaz are sidelined, Darwin Nunez wasn't risked and Thiago Alcantara went down with an ear infection overnight - but they were equally without incision, without quality, seemingly without belief. They had some chances - Van Dijk should have done better with a couple of headers - but Salah and Roberto Firmino were anonymous, Fabio Carvalho only flickered and Harvey Elliott, like Curtis Jones, did his best work too far from goal. Trent Alexander-Arnold added something, but it was 1-0 by the time he was summoned. Too late.

    Joe Gomez:

    He must have thought he'd gotten away with it. A yellow card, yes, but a necessary one. Having dawdled in possession on the halfway line, Gomez had seen Awoniyi cut out his attempted pass to Van Dijk, forcing the defender into a desperate grab of the shirt. It proved costly; from the free-kick, Forest fired the ball in from the right, the ball ricocheted against the post and Awoniyi pounced. Gomez was man of the match against City last week, but since then he's given up a penalty against West Ham and delivered this shaky display at Forest - one which ended with him being berated by his manager for being too timid in a challenge. Like Liverpool, he has shown flashes of his old self, but been unable to build any real momentum.

    Fabinho:

    We need to talk about Liverpool's 'lighthouse'. For so long, Fabinho has been the centrepiece of the Reds' midfield, but his form right now is a huge concern. He looks shattered, his legs refusing to do what his brain wants. He is too easily bypassed, too easily beaten and his quality on the ball isn't good enough to compensate. Sure, he was without his usual sidekicks here - Curtis Jones, making his first start since May, was his partner to begin with - but this is a senior player we're talking about in Fabinho. He isn't playing like one.

  • Virgil van Dijk Liverpool 2022-23

    Liverpool Ratings: Defence

    Alisson Becker (8/10):

    Faultless handling and made two big saves at 1-0. Nearly scrambled an equaliser. Blameless.

    James Milner (6/10):

    He and Elliott looked the most likely to open up Forest in the first half. Milner put one on a plate for Van Dijk and defended well. After the break he set Elliott up well before being subbed.

    Joe Gomez (5/10):

    Had his hands full with Awoniyi and he lost the battle. His foul led to the goal, and he struggled after that. Got a telling off from Klopp for being too timid in the second half.

    Virgil van Dijk (6/10):

    Wasted a great headed chance first half and should have done better with one late on. Otherwise, he did well defensively.

    Andy Robertson (6/10):

    Not able to get forward as much, but when he did he was dangerous. Looked tired towards the end.

  • Curtis Jones Liverpool 2022-23

    Midfield

    Fabinho (4/10):

    His form has to be a huge concern for Jurgen Klopp. Not enough presence, not enough quality. He looks laboured, lethargic, leggy, everything but himself.

    Curtis Jones (6/10):

    Showed confidence and composure to ask for the ball and take it under pressure throughout, though he didn't make the breakthrough in the final third. Did well to last 90 minutes after so long out.

  • Roberto Firmino Liverpool 2022-23

    Attack

    Harvey Elliott (6/10):

    Gorgeous ball to set up chance for Carvalho early on, and looked bright and enterprising. Best work came too far from goal, sadly, but he continues to fight and believe.

    Mohamed Salah (4/10):

    Limited impact. Buffeted by Cook and McKenna, and could not stamp any kind of authority. Still had half chances but they weren't taken.

    Fabio Carvalho (5/10):

    Denied in the first half by Henderson, and had a couple of efforts after the break, but didn't do a great deal else. Offered no presence out wide.

    Roberto Firmino (4/10):

    Anonymous in the first half and not much better in the second. Subbed at 1-0 down, which says a lot.

  • Jurgen Klopp Liverpool 2022-23

    Subs & Manager

    Trent Alexander-Arnold (7/10):

    Saw lots of the ball and delivered some quality. Made a difference.

    Jordan Henderson (6/10):

    Brought a little control, but not much.

    Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (5/10):

    On late, sent one cross straight into Henderson's hands.

    Jurgen Klopp (5/10):

    Forced into more unwelcome changes by illness and injury, his team let him down. Too narrow, not enough penetration and a lack of belief.