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Nottingham Forest logo
Premier League | Gameweek 27
Mar 2, 2024 at 3pm UK
The City Ground
Liverpool logo

Nott'm Forest
0 - 1

Danilo (90+3'), Gibbs-White (90+3'), Felipe (90+11')
FT(HT: 0-0)
Nunez (90+9')
Robertson (59'), Danns (85')

Preview: Nottingham Forest vs. Liverpool - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Saturday's Premier League clash between Nottingham Forest and Liverpool, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

On the back of contrasting results in the FA Cup, Nottingham Forest and Liverpool reconvene for a Premier League encounter at the City Ground on Saturday afternoon.

The Tricky Trees were dumped out of the cup with a 1-0 loss to Manchester United in their fifth-round affair, while the youthful Reds revelled in more knockout success with a 3-0 beating of Southampton.

Match preview

Nottingham Forest manager Nuno Espirito Santo before the match on February 28, 2024© Reuters

Needing extra time to get the better of Blackpool in a third-round replay before sinking Bristol City in their fourth-round rematch, Nottingham Forest had ridden their luck to even make it to the last 16 of the FA Cup, where Man United would provide their sternest test yet.

It was not for the want of trying for Nuno Espirito Santo's outfit, who tested Andre Onana on several occasions at the City Ground on Wednesday night, but the Cameroonian shot-stopper cut an impenetrable figure in between the sticks, unlike Matt Turner as Casemiro's deft header from a Bruno Fernandes free kick punched the Red Devils' ticked to the quarters.

With their dreams of a Wembley appearance crashing and burning in midweek, the Tricky Trees can at least focus purely on the Premier League relegation scrap, having seen their chances of survival suffer a damaging blow in a 4-2 defeat at the hands of Aston Villa on February 27.

Owing to Everton's points deduction being reduced from 10 to six, Santo's side have now been bumped down to 17th in the table - just four points clear of Luton Town having played a game more than the Hatters - and just one of their last six Premier League games has ended in victory.

However, breaching the Villa Park nets twice means that Forest have struck multiple goals in each of their last three Premier League fixtures, and they have scored in all of their top-flight games under Santo so far, albeit while also recording just one clean sheet in that run.

Liverpool's Jayden Danns celebrates scoring their second goal on February 28, 2024© Reuters

The kids are more than all right for Jurgen Klopp and Liverpool, whose academy products stripped down to shine in the dying embers of their EFL Cup final triumph over Chelsea before stealing the Anfield spotlight when Championship promotion hopefuls Southampton came to town in midweek.

Forced to field a selection of their academy proteges due to their double-figure absentee list, Liverpool unsurprisingly had their fair share of defending to do against the Saints, but Lewis Koumas's deflected strike and a dream double for Jayden Danns in front of the Kop sent the Reds through to the quarter-finals, where Forest's conquerors Man United await.

Likening his fledgling heroes to 17-year-old darts wonderkid Luke Littler, Klopp's beaming smile told the whole story as Liverpool's emerging talents put the Saints to the sword, seeing the Reds march to their fifth victory on the trot in all tournaments ahead of their Premier League return.

The 4-1 demolition of Luton Town on February 21 marks the visitors' last top-flight appearance, a triumph which moved them onto 60 points from 26 matches in 2023-24, keeping them one point clear of Manchester City and two above Arsenal in the gold medal position.

However, the Reds must break an age-old curse if they are to guarantee top spot by the close of play this weekend, as while they strode to a 3-0 triumph over Forest at Anfield in October, they have failed to win any of their last 13 away games versus the Garibaldi, including each of their six Premier League trips to the City Ground - an unwanted club record versus a single opponent.

Nottingham Forest Premier League form:

Nottingham Forest form (all competitions):

Liverpool Premier League form:

Liverpool form (all competitions):

Team News

Liverpool's Mohamed Salah celebrates scoring their third goal on February 17, 2024© Reuters

After returning from the Africa Cup of Nations with injuries, all of Ibrahim Sangare (knee), Ola Aina (unspecified) and Willy Boly (unspecified) were absent for the showdown with Man United, and Santo has not put a timeframe on their recoveries.

On-loan Arsenal left-back Nuno Tavares has also been ruled out for a number of weeks with the issue he sustained against West Ham United in February, while Chris Wood (thigh) is unlikely to be back before the end of March.

In Wood's absence, erstwhile Liverpool attacker Taiwo Awoniyi - scorer of the only goal in this exact fixture last season - spearheads the charge, but the Reds' lauded cult hero Divock Origi will likely cede his place up front to Callum Hudson-Odoi, who has three goals to show from his last four Premier League games.

Regarding the ravaged Reds, Klopp has confirmed that Dominik Szoboszlai and Darwin Nunez are both back in training and should be in contention to play this weekend, but Mohamed Salah is still out with his muscular concern and will instead target a return against Manchester City on March 10.

Neither Wataru Endo (knock) nor Andrew Robertson (illness) had trained by the time Klopp addressed the media on Friday, though, and the ankle injury that Ryan Gravenberch sustained in the EFL Cup final should keep him out for a little while longer.

Joel Matip (knee), Ben Doak (knee), Curtis Jones (shin), Trent Alexander-Arnold (knee), Stefan Bajcetic (calf), Thiago Alcantara (muscle), Diogo Jota (knee) and Alisson Becker (thigh) are all guaranteed to be unavailable, but Ibrahima Konate, Luis Diaz and Alexis Mac Allister are all primed for returns to the first XI.

Nottingham Forest possible starting lineup:
Sels; Williams, Niakhate, Murillo, Toffolo; Danilo, Dominguez; Elanga, Gibbs-White, Hudson-Odoi; Awoniyi

Liverpool possible starting lineup:
Kelleher; Bradley, Konate, Van Dijk, Tsimikas; Elliott, Gomez, Mac Allister; Gakpo, Danns, Diaz

SM words green background

We say: Nottingham Forest 1-2 Liverpool

As their injury crisis worsens by the week, Liverpool have almost always found a way to triumph in the face of adversity, and their young stars have certainly been striking fear into the hearts of opponents.

As such, the City Ground hoodoo may finally be lifted for Klopp's side, who should not keep Santo's team out but can capitalise on their hosts' ongoing rearguard frailties with the help of some returning senior stars.

For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.

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Liverpool's Lewis Koumas celebrates scoring their first goal with Harvey Elliott on February 28, 2024
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Tables header RHS
1Manchester CityMan City32227376324473
4Aston Villa33196868491963
5Tottenham HotspurSpurs32186865491660
6Newcastle UnitedNewcastle321551269521750
7Manchester UnitedMan Utd32155124748-150
8West Ham UnitedWest Ham33139115258-648
10Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton321111105250244
11Wolverhampton WanderersWolves32127134651-543
14Crystal Palace3289153754-1733
17Nottingham ForestNott'm Forest3379174258-1626
18Luton TownLuton3367204670-2425
20Sheffield UnitedSheff Utd3237223084-5416

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