Liverpool had all the momentum in the world entering Saturday afternoon's match at Nottingham Forest It took 90 minutes for the home side to take it all away. Former Red Taiwo Awoniyi scored on a redirected ball off the post in the 55th minute and Forest goalie Dean Henderson made a pair of strong saves in stoppage time to secure the 1-0 result. The defeat is Liverpool's first to Nottingham Forest since 1996.
Liverpool conceded a free kick in the 4th minute, but the chance was cleared. Fabio Carvalho garnered the first chance of the match, bringing a pass down in front of the goal in the 9th minute, but Dean Henderson was able to get a touch on the ball forcing a corner
Liverpool dominated possession over the next 10 minutes of play, but it was Nottingham Forest who put a shot on frame from Cheikhou Kouyaté in the 19th minute, but Alisson was able to make the save, keeping the match scoreless. Taiwo Awoniyi forced another save in the 25th minute, as the home side settled into the match.
After a Salah shot was saved by Henderson, Forest hit on a counter-attack, but Alison made another save. Mohamed Salah suffered an injury later in the half, but he was able to stay on. Virgil Van Dijk missed an open header in the 38th minute. That was the best chance of the half by either side as the teams entered the dressing room tied at 0-0.
The second half started at a frenetic pace. Neco Williams got things started with a shot in the 47th minute, Carvalho put a shot high in the 52nd minute, but Awoniyi turned the match on its head in the 55th minute. He sent home a shot that had hit the post to put Nottingham Forest up 1-0.
Havey Elliott nearly equalized in the 57th minute, but Henderson made a nice save to keep his team in front. Nottingham Forrest nearly doubled their lead on two separate occasions later in the half. Morgan Gibbs-White's shot was blocked by James Milner in the 58th minute and Brennan Johnson forced an Alisson to save in the 69th.
The run of good play by the home side continued ed when Ryan Yates put a shot on goal in the 75th minute Ryan Yates continued to make a menace of himself as he unleashed another attempt in the 77th minute. Liverpool began to make the final push for an equalizer in the 80th minute Trent Alexander-Arnold failed to get his header past Henderson and Salah's follow-up attempt was high.
VanDijk had an unmarked header just before stoppage time, but Henderson came away with another spectacular save. Andy Robertson and Salah put two more shots on goal in stoppage time, but it was not to be as Nottingham Forest came away with the shocking 1-0 win
Taiwo Awoniyi was under contract with the Reds from 2015-2021 but played mostly on loan with other clubs He never scored for Liverpool's senior squad, but now he has the distinction of scoring against them.
“I was looking forward to playing Liverpool because they signed me when I was 18 and it was an emotional game for me,” Awoniyi said after the match. “For me, I think it's a good game for my team, we had a plan to stay compact and in the end we won, I'm very happy about it.”
Forest's 2nd Half Surge
After Liverpool dominated the first half of play, Nottingham Forest turned the tables in the second half. They ended the match on par with Liverpool with 7 shots on goal after having no shots on frame in their last match. It can not be said that Nottingham Forest did not deserve this result and if not for some brilliant saves by Alison, the scoreline could have been worse
LFC Global Verdict
Here we go again. Just when it looked as if Liverpool had righted the ship, it has sprung another leak. The Reds have yet to win an away fixture in the EPL and this may be the most surprising loss of them all. Nottingham Forest was on a 10-match streak without a win and Liverpool was trending in the other direction.
This was the first of a long stretch of supposedly winnable games leading up to the International break that was supposed to put Liverpool back in contention for a league title, but Nottingham Forest had other plans. Now it's back to the drawing board for Jürgen Klopp and the boys. They have bounced back from tough losses before, but supporters are getting tired of that narrative.
Man of the Match & What's Next
Nottingham Forest have several candidates: Awoniyi, Yates, and Henderson, just to name a few. But I'm going to think out of the box on this one and give it to the 12th man, the Nottingham Forest supporters. They were in full voice from the opening whistle until the play was blown dead.
They have waited so long just to be promoted back to the Premier League and they were an early-season candidate for relegation. But that did not matter. The fans came out in throngs to The City Grounds and willed their side to a famous win.
Nottingham Forest- Taiwo Awoniyi ‘55
- Jordan Henderson for Fabio Carvalho - ‘62
- Tret Alexander-Arnold for James Milner - ‘62
- Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain for Robert Firmino - ‘78
- Joe Worral for Taiwo Awoniyi - ‘62
- Brennan Johnson for Jesse Lingard - ‘62
- Renan Lodi for Neco Williams - ‘73
- Orel Mangala for Cheikhou Kouyaté - ‘80