The deadlock was broken after the half-hour mark when Alexis Mac Allister began a move when winning possession high up the pitch, and it was finished by Diogo Jota who put away the rebound from Darwin Núñez‘s saved effort.
Liverpool doubled their lead four minutes later as Mohamed Salah played Dominik Szoboszlai into a dangerous area before the Hungary international cut the ball back for Nunez to score from close range.
The game slowed down in the second half as Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp favoured a more possession-style approach in cruise control. And any hopes that Nottingham Forest had of finding a way back into the game were further reduced when Salah scored into an empty net from a mix-up at the back from the visitors.
Liverpool were patient in the first half before scoring their first goal and didn’t look out of control across the 90 minutes. Klopp’s side showcased their game management in the second half, and it was another glowing performance on the right flank in particular, where Salah and Szoboszlai were difficult to defend against when combining together.
No negatives in what was a strong Liverpool performance. Klopp’s side were well worth the three points.
8 — Klopp’s strategy allowed Salah to get into promising positions where he was able to thrive in a playmaker role. Liverpool’s system made it difficult for Nottingham Forest to pick up players on the right flank, which allowed the likes of Szoboszlai to thrive. Klopp also ensured control in the match to prevent Forest from creating any meaningful opportunities.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best, players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Alisson, 6 — He was alert to come off his line against through balls in behind his defence, while he also impressed with his distribution when looking to help his side break quickly. A quiet game overall for the Liverpool goalkeeper, who often wasn’t called into action.
DF Kostas Tsimikas, 6 — The Greece international kept things simple on the left flank and was assured with his defending. He got forward more often in the second half and enjoyed some positive spells of link-up play with Cody Gakpo.
DF Virgil van Dijk, 7 — The Liverpool captain was calm in possession and controlled the defensive line well against Anthony Elanga who was always looking to get in behind. He defended impressively late on when the visitors looked to play with more intent.
DF Trent Alexander-Arnold, 6 — The 25-year-old impressed when linking up on the right with Salah and Szoboszlai and it was a performance where he always looked to make something happen on the ball. He didn’t make the most of a free-kick in the first half that hit the wall but was otherwise solid.
MF Alexis Mac Allister, 7 — He continues to shine in a deeper midfield role and won the ball back on a number of occasions in dangerous areas — including for the Liverpool attack that broke the deadlock.
MF Ryan Gravenberch, 6 — An intelligent first-half performance from Gravenberch saw him regularly look to play progressively, as well as making a number of positive runs into dangerous areas. But he was quiet after the break before being replaced by Harvey Elliott.
MF Dominik Szoboszlai, 8 — Unlucky not to score in the first half with a low curling effort that had to be pushed away from the near post, but he did link well with Salah before registering the assist for Liverpool’s second. He got his second assist with a long ball that Forest made a complete mess of, leaving an empty net for Salah to finish into.
FW Diogo Jota, 7 — Jota was difficult to pick up for the Forest defence as he was effective on the flank as well as in central areas. The 26-year-old anticipated where the ball would end up after Nunez’s strike, and was on hand to open the scoring, dedicating his goal to teammate Luis Díaz (whose parents were kidnapped in Colombia) by holding up his shirt to the crowd.
FW Darwin Núñez, 7 –– The Uruguay international looked to test USMNT goalkeeper Matt Turner at every opportunity and, after his strike was diverted into the path of Jota for Liverpool’s first, he found good space to connect with Szoboszlai’s pass to double the lead.
FW Mohamed Salah, 8 — Salah played a significant role in Liverpool’s two first-half goals, with his key pass to Nunez vital before Jota’s effort, and he then played in Szoboszlai who cut the ball back to Nunez for the second. Salah’s goal in the second half after a mix-up from the Nottingham Forest defence put the game out of sight.
Substitutes (players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
Cody Gakpo 6 – The former PSV Eindhoven star took up intelligent positions in the attack to receive the ball to his feet, and that helped Liverpool sustain their spells of possession. Unlucky with a strike that almost caught Turner out at his near post. He had the ball in the net late on but was offside.
Wataru Endo, N/R — Introduced for Nunez in the final 10 minutes as Liverpool saw out the remainder of the game.
Joe Gomez, N/R — On for the last spell of the match.