Liverpool 3 – 0 Nottingham Forest. Liverpool’s players showed their support to absent team-mate Luis Diaz during a comfortable win over Nottingham Forest at Anfield.
Diaz missed the match following reports his parents had been kidnapped in Colombia, with officials still searching for the winger’s missing father after his mother was rescued.
Diogo Jota, surrounded by his team-mates, held up the Colombia winger’s shirt after firing the Reds into a 31st-minute lead when Matt Turner turned Darwin Nunez’s attempt into the Portuguese forward’s path.
Liverpool were dominant and Uruguay striker Nunez doubled the advantage four minutes later with his sixth club goal of the campaign after a cutback by Dominik Szoboszlai.
Forest’s miserable day was complete when Turner and substitute Harry Toffolo got in a tangle, allowing Mohamed Salah to become only the third player in the club’s history to score in each of the opening five home league matches of a season.
Jurgen Klopp’s side are three points behind leaders Tottenham, while Forest, who failed to seriously test Liverpool keeper Alisson, are 16th, five points above the relegation zone after a fourth defeat in six away games this season.
Liverpool fans chanted the name of Diaz, who joined for an initial £37.5m in January 2022, as their team maintained their 100% home winning run in the league.
The 26-year-old had been due to play before news emerged on the eve of the match about his parents.
“It’s a worrying situation for all of us,” said Reds boss Klopp before the game. “It was a pretty tough night. I’ve never had that before. It’s a new experience I never needed.”
The late change did not disrupt the Reds on the pitch, however, with Klopp’s team having now gone a year without losing at home in the league.
Liverpool finished a distant 22 points behind champions Manchester City last season, but with more than a quarter of this season gone, they are proving much more of a threat at the top of the table.
But for Forest keeper Turner, they would have won by a more handsome margin as he made fine saves to deny summer signings Ryan Gravenberch and Szoboszlai.
But Turner was then involved in the error that led to Salah making it 3-0 in the 77th minute and claiming his 145th Premier League goal for Liverpool.
He was well outside his area when Szoboszlai launched the ball forward from his own half, with the in-form Salah taking advantage of the mix-up between the keeper and Toffolo to score his 10th Liverpool goal in all competitions this season.
The Egypt forward joined Harry Chambers (1922) and John Aldridge (1987) in achieving the feat of scoring in each of the opening five home league matches of a season.
Forest’s long wait for a win at Anfield, which they last achieved in 1969, goes on after injury deprived them of fielding a recognised striker in their starting XI.
Taiwo Awoniyi and Chris Wood have scored six of their team’s 10 goals this season, but Awoniyi – on Liverpool’s books before joining Union Berlin in 2021 after a loan spell in Germany – started on the bench after a groin problem, while Wood was ruled out with a hamstring issue.
With Callum Hudson-Odoi and former Reds player Divock Origi also missing through injury, it was left to winger Anthony Elanga and midfielder Morgan Gibbs-White to lead a makeshift attack.
They only seriously threatened after Liverpool had established a 3-0 lead, with Elanga hitting the woodwork in the closing stages before volleying a good chance over.
Turner’s error will only have compounded Cooper’s misery with Forest now without a goal in three away games.
Source – BBC