Taiwo Awoniyi’s goal earns Nottingham Forest their 1-0 win over Liverpool but Jurgen Klopp frustrated by his patched-up team’s missed opportunities at the City Ground
Jurgen Klopp was in disbelief that his Liverpool failed to score in their 1-0 defeat to Nottingham Forest as he bemoaned his team’s poor finishing.
Taiwo Awoniyi’s goal early in the second half was enough to secure Forest’s first win since August as Liverpool’s wait for a Premier League victory away from Anfield continues.
“How we cannot score from the set pieces I have no idea,” said Klopp.
“It is not that the boys didn’t want. I know it, I saw it. The fight, the spirt was there. Everything is fine. We took the atmosphere, all these kinds of things, but who can we blame for not finishing the situations off? There are not a lot of people out there, it is just us.
“It is a big, big blow for us because we came here and we wanted to get the three points. You look at the game back and you think, how could that not happen? But it happened and that is it.”
Virgil van Dijk had the best chances, opting not to direct a header towards goal in the first half and then seeing a header saved by Dean Henderson in stoppage time.
In between, Mohamed Salah failed to control a ball when seemingly put off by the sun and substitute Trent Alexander-Arnold had his header saved late on. Not that Klopp was in the mood to credit the heroics of Henderson in the Nottingham Forest goal.
“He made two saves. The others were the better chances but we just missed the goal. I think Virg in the first half thought he was offside, which he wasn’t. There is no real reason for it. How often does Bobby Firmino score from these moments? How often does Virgil van Dijk just put these balls in the back of the net? There is no reason for it.
Roberto Firmino rues a missed chance in Liverpool’s defeat to Nottingham Forest
“It is just intense. Three games in six days. Limited squad. You cannot exactly do a massive change in the middle of the park, it created uncertainty, I understand that. But I didn’t see that with the boys. They made a real fight of it. That is what we had to do today.
“We could not expect to come here and create 20 chances against Nottingham with the way they defended, I don’t think it’s possible. But we had seven, eight or nine.
“Yes, from set pieces. The biggest chance second half was probably Trent’s header from open play so it is not that they defended world-class and we could not get through. There were moments and we did not use them.”
The upheaval to the team selection came overnight with Thiago ruled out at 5.15am on the day of the game, his unavailability forcing Curtis Jones into a central midfield role. Darwin Nunez was also omitted from the squad.
“Thiago had a bad ear infection last night and there was no chance for him to do anything actually. We drove him home. Darwin should be back. This game was just too early. Maybe another day of recovery would have helped him. At least that’s my knowledge at the moment.
“Two things to remember. We never ever played before in this formation and the most difficult thing in football is to play against a deep defending side. It was always clear. We were obviously lacking up front runs in behind and vision in the centre. That is all true.
“I thought Curtis did really well but he is not used to the position. He can play there, definitely, but he was not even in my thoughts to start. That all happened last night. But he did really well. That we did not create that much I am not surprised. These things can happen.
“But actually, set pieces count. When you score from them they count. We forced these situations when we created situations where they had to defend us. They did not want us to be in the area to have a free-kick or a corner. But in the end we could not use it. That is our fault and nobody else.”
Do Liverpool have a problem away from home, though? Klopp’s team are winless in five attempts this season in the Premier League, having mustered only two draws. However, the manager does not see a trend. “You cannot compare these things,” he added.
“That it is better for us to play at home, that is pretty much always the case. But in normal circumstances I think we should have won this game and then we talk differently but we didn’t. I don’t think it has anything to do with it that we played here away.
“They defended pretty much with everyone they had. We had to do better.”