Liverpool will face Man City in the FA Cup semi-final after scraping past Nottingham Forest thanks to Diogo Jota‘s goal.
Nottingham Forest 0-1 Liverpool
FA Cup Quarter-Final, City Ground
Sunday, March 20, 2022
Jota 78′ (assist: Tsimikas)
Jurgen Klopp made seven changes from the side that beat Arsenal in the week, some enforced and some for rotation. Joe Gomez came in at right-back for the injured Alexander-Arnold.
Harvey Elliott made his first start for over a month, playing on the right of the front three for the first time for Liverpool since February 2020.
This was a rivalry that used to dominate English football, but the last meeting between the two sides was 23 years ago. Forest fans fancied a throwback to the 1980s and spent much of the game signing about unemployment – and, bizarrely, asking ‘where’s your famous atmosphere’ at their own stadium. Work that one out.
On the pitch, the first half was fast-paced, very much an FA Cup quarter-final away to a lower division side. The home side had a good chance early on but Joe Lolley opted to pass when he could have shot.
By far the best chance of the first half fell for Roberto Firmino just before the half-hour when the Brazilian attempted but failed to chip the ‘keeper after being through on goal with plenty of time and space.
Gomez had a good chance to score his first-ever goal for the club just before half time but he skied a half volley over the bar from an angle.
Liverpool played okay, but lacked some cohesion and that final pass or finish, which can be expected with a rotated side.
Half time: Forest 0-0 Liverpool
There was a scare for the Reds early in the second half, while Jota and Oxlade-Chamberlain had shots saved and blocked in quick succession as the end-to-end match continued.
A quadruple set of subs just after the hour saw Jordan Henderson, Luis Diaz, Takumi Minimino and Thiago introduced as Klopp completely changed the midfield.
Forest had a huge chance with 15 minutes to go when Zinckernagel skewed his shot wide when completely free 12 yards out.
Within minutes Liverpool finally broke the deadlock at the other end. Jota, now on the right-wing, arrived six yards out at the back post to get on the end of Tsimikas’ cross from the left.
Forest appealed for a penalty with five minutes to go when Yates threw himself to the ground as Alisson came out to make a block. VAR rightly said no pen.
There was another big chance for Yates just before the end of the 90, unmarked six yards out he headed straight at Alisson.
It certainly wasn’t pretty, but Liverpool yet again found a way to win and continue their incredible campaign.
With the draw for the semi-finals having been made before the match itself, Liverpool already knew the prize for winning this was to face Man City at Wembley – a week after their league encounter in mid-April.
Next, it’s the international break, let’s hope for no injuries, a massive month awaits in April.
TIA Man of the Match: Joe Gomez
Referee: Craig Pawson
Liverpool: Alisson; Gomez, Konate, Van Dijk, Tsimikas; Fabinho (Henderson 64′), Oxlade-Chamberlain (Thiago 63′), Keita (Minaimno 64′); Elliott (Diaz 64′), Jota, Firmino
Subs not used: Adrian, Matip, Beck, Jones, Origi
Nottingham Forest: Horvath; Worrall, Figueiredo, Yates; Spence, Garner, Colback, Lolley; Johnson, Zinckernagel, Davis
Subs: Samba, Mbe Soh, Bong, Laryea, Cafu, Ojeda, Mighten, Silva, Surridge
Next match: Watford (H) – Premier League – Saturday, April 2, 12.30pm (BST)