The 2022-23 Premier League season has gone bad, to worse, to near-catastrophic for Jürgen Klopp’s Liverpool as the Reds continue to fall away from the title race after a surprise 1-0 loss at the City Ground against promoted outfit Nottingham Forest.
Steve Cooper’s troops earned just their second win of the season after summer signing Taiwo Awoniyi slammed home from close range to give Forest a 1-0 lead ten minutes after the interval.
But despite Liverpool’s dominance in possession (75.2%), Forest would hang on for the full boatload of points, with their eighth goal of the league season being enough to keep them level with Leeds United, Aston Villa, and Wolves on nine points.
According to Klopp, however, the result was harsh on his foundering Reds as the German headmaster gave little credit to Cooper’s men, claiming that he was unsure where he should put praise on his adversaries’ performance on the back of a string of clear cut chances that Liverpool crafted.
The data on the match paints a different picture though, with Nottingham Forest credited with posting a higher xG come full-time over the perennial title chasers, and on that evidence, the result is justified.
Though it could be plausible to suggest that Liverpool missed the attacking presence of summer acquisition Darin Núñez after the Uruguayan star was left out of the team and not risked today after feeling his hamstring during their midweek win over West Ham United at Anfield, Klopp certainly cannot be held to the fire too much as a club of Liverpool’s stature and ambition both at home and abroad cannot accept losing to a side, who though performed well, have just been promoted from the Championship.
Liverpool has won just twice in the Premier League across their last six domestic fixtures, and despite their goal difference (+9) showing that they should be able to rebound at some stage, the points gap between them and both Arsenal and Manchester City who are at the head of the class is already proving to potentially be a bridge too far.
Up next for Liverpool is Leeds United at Anfield before traveling to the capital to take on Antonio Conte’s Tottenham, and then back home to Merseyside to lock horns with Southampton before the World Cup break.
If the situation is to correct itself before an uncharacteristic winter recess for the Premier League, nine points from nine should be viewed as the only acceptable outcome for the club if they are to reinstate their European credentials.