Liverpool finish off Nottingham Forest to advance to FA Cup semi final


Photo Credit: Stephen Gormley & Anthony Stanley

Liverpool edged past Nottingham Forest in the FA Cup Quarter Final with a 1-0 win on an emotional evening.

The clubs met again in the oldest domestic cup competition in the world for the first time since that fateful meeting at Hillsborough in 1989. Forest left 97 seats in the stadium empty for the Liverpool fans who simply went out to a football match but never returned home 33 years ago.

This was always going to be a tough away cup tie for Liverpool who made eight changes following their 2-0 away league win over Arsenal four days earlier including being without Andy Robertson, Mo Salah and Sadio Mane.

The first half was played at a frantic pace and Forest had a couple of decent chances to get in front. Ryan Yates had a shot deflected, while Joe Lolley cut inside from the right wing but shot just wide of Alisson’s post.

However Liverpool had the best chance of the first half when sloppy play let Firmino in for a one on one with the goalkeeper but instead of hitting it low and hard he tried to be cheeky and attempted to flick the ball over Ethan Horvath. The American keeper read the Brazilians mind perfectly and stood up well and produced a great save to leave it 0-0 at the break.

In the second half, Horvath had to make a couple of big saves early on before Forest had a glorious chance to take the lead. A great ball in from Brennan Johnson for Philip Zinckernagel who just pulled his shot wide of the post from around 10 yards out with only Alisson to beat.

The miss proved costly for Forest as Liverpool took the lead in the 78th minute with Tsimikas crossing the ball in from the left for Diogo Jota to finish off from close range. There was a VAR check for offside but the goal stood.

Forest thought they should have had a penalty when Yates went down under a challenge from Alisson but it looked like he kicked the Liverpool goalkeeper’s hand and VAR again ruled in Liverpool’s favour.

After the match Forest’s manager (who was himself an ex-Liverpool youth coach) expressed similar thoughts to his team’s Greek owner Evangelos Marinakis, who  was in attendance for the first time since March 2020 due to Covid-19 travel restrictions.

“It’s brilliant that he was here. He’s feeling a bit like me, not bad, but it’s what might have been.”

Jurgen Klopp was relieved that his side got the late winner.

“The result in the cup is the only thing that counts. Cup ties are not about quality, they are about who wants it more. We wanted it as much as they wanted it and it made the difference.”

It was a spirited performance from the Championship side but ultimately Liverpool’s experience and quality got them through to the semi final where Manchester City await them at Wembley in mid April.


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