10 key things to know ahead of Nottingham Forest vs. Liverpool

Liverpool will be looking to keep their quadruple dream alive on Sunday, as the Reds make the trip to in-form Nottingham Forest in the FA Cup quarter-finals.

Nottingham Forest vs. Liverpool

FA Cup Quarter Final | City Ground
Sunday, 20 March 2022 | 6pm (GMT)

Jurgen Klopp‘s side secured an invaluable 2-0 win at Arsenal in the Premier League in midweek, as a relentless run across four competitions continues.

Next up is this weekend’s trip to an impressive Forest side, with a place at Wembley in the semi-finals up for grabs.

Here are 10 things to know ahead of the game.


1. Forest impressing in the Championship

NOTTINGHAM, ENGLAND - Thursday, February 4, 2016: A general view of Nottingham Forest's City Ground ahead of the FA Youth Cup 5th Round match against Liverpool. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

It is now 23 years since Forest last appeared in the Premier League, having suffered relegation back in 1998/99.

Since then, there have been sporadic efforts to return to the big time – they also spent three seasons in League One – but invariably, they have had to settle for mid-table mediocrity.

That could be about to change, however, with Forest sitting eighth in the table and knowing they will be in the playoff positions if they win their games in hand.

Steve Cooper’s side have knocked both Arsenal and Leicester out of the FA Cup this season, too, highlighting what a danger they could be to Liverpool, playing some attractive, high-octane football along the way.


2. Cooper making waves

STOKE-ON-TRENT, ENGLAND - Saturday, January 25, 2020: Swansea City's manager Steve Cooper applauds the supporters after the Football League Championship match between Stoke City FC and Swansea City FC at the Britannia Stadium. Swansea City lost 1-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Cooper is one of the most impressive young British managers around, having initially made a name for himself as youth coach with Wrexham, Liverpool and England.

The 42-year-old won the Under-17 World Cup with the Three Lions back in 2017, managing a star-studded team featuring Phil Foden, Jadon Sancho, Callum Hudson-Odoi and a certain Rhian Brewster.

At Forest, Cooper has done a magnificent job since arriving last September, inheriting a side that sat bottom of the Championship after Chris Hughton’s exit and guiding them to within touching distance of the playoffs.

They have lost just once in all competitions in 2022, spanning 14 matches, so Liverpool are facing them at a bad time.


3. Potential Forest XI

HELSINKI, FINLAND - Saturday, September 4, 2021: Wales' Brennan Johnson during training session at the Kontula Sports Park in Helsinki ahead of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Qualifying Group E match against Belarus. (Pic by Jussi Eskola/Propaganda)

This is one of Forest’s biggest games in years – it’s not every day that they take on possibly Europe’s best team.

For that reason, their strongest available starting XI will take to the field, in what will be a special night for the club.

In terms of players to watch out for, Djed Spence is excelling as a marauding right wing-back on loan from Middlesbrough, while Man United loanee James Garner is a key figure in midfield.

Young attacker Brennan Johnson is also an exciting talent, having scored 12 goals and registered six assists this season.

Predicted Forest XI (3-4-1-2): Horvath; Worrall, Figueiredo, McKenna; Spence, Yates, Garner, Colback; Zinckernagel; Johnson, Davis


4. Who’s out for Liverpool?

BRIGHTON AND HOVE, ENGLAND - Saturday, March 12, 2022: Liverpool's Trent Alexander-Arnold during the FA Premier League match between Brighton & Hove Albion FC and Liverpool FC at the AMEX Community Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Trent Alexander-Arnold will miss Sunday’s match, having picked up a hamstring injury that will rule him out for weeks.

It is a big blow for Liverpool, but the hope is that he will return in time for the Premier League title showdown with Man City on April 10.

Mohamed Salah may not feature after still feeling some pain in his foot against Arsenal – it surely isn’t worth risking him.

Reds pair Kostas Tsimikas and James Milner missed the midweek action through illness, and are yet to be confirmed as available.


5. Predicted Reds lineup

Klopp will no doubt see this as an important match, but he is still expected to ring the changes on Sunday.

Alisson will start over Caoimhin Kelleher in goal, while Joe Gomez and Ibrahima Konate may be paired at centre-back, should Joel Matip and Virgil van Dijk be rested.

Roberto Firmino will surely begin proceedings after an excellent cameo at Arsenal, with fringe players Takumi Minamino and Divock Origi options to come in, too.

In truth, it is tough to predict how strong Liverpool’s team will be, with the international break coming straight afterwards.

Possible Liverpool XI: Alisson; Milner, Gomez, Konate, Tsimikas; Henderson, Keita, Jones; Minamino, Diaz, Firmino


6. Klopp on Elliott’s lack of minutes

Speaking to the media on Friday, Klopp played down Harvey Elliott‘s lack of playing time:

“He was really long out, came back and immediately looked like ‘wow, he’s back’, but then everything settled slightly and that’s how it is.

“A completely normal situation, all fine, training well and nothing else to say.”

The 18-year-old hasn’t featured since the 2-1 win over Norwich on March 2 – could that change on Sunday?


7. Liverpool’s FA Cup history vs. Forest

April 17, 1989, floral tributes in front of the Kop - Hillsborough disaster (Picture by: Peter Kemp / AP/Press Association Images)

Liverpool and Forest will forever be linked in the FA Cup because of the heartbreaking events that took place at Hillsborough back in April 1989.

It was the Reds who ended up prevailing in a replayed semi-final clash that year, but it was overshadowed by one of football’s darkest days.

Liverpool also picked up a 2-0 win at the City Ground in the fourth round back in 1979/80, as well as a 2-1 triumph in the semis in 1987/88.

Meetings took place in 1895 and 1897, too, with Liverpool winning the first game and Forest prevailing after a replay in the latter, while the Reds also got past them in 1948 and 1949.


8. Did you know?

CARDIFF, WALES - SATURDAY, MAY 13th, 2006: Liverpool's captain Steven Gerrard lifts the FA Cup surrounded by team-mates L-R Momo Sissoko, John Arne Riise and Xabi Alonso after beating West Ham United on penalties during the FA Cup Final at the Millennium Stadium. (Pic by David Davies/Pool/Propaganda)

Despite Liverpool being the joint-most successful English club of all time, they are being outperformed by others in the FA Cup.

While seven triumphs in the competition is still no mean feat, the Reds are behind Arsenal (14), Man United (12), Chelsea (eight) and Tottenham (eight) in the reckoning.

Here’s hoping Liverpool start making a surge towards top spot this season, as they look to seal a first FA Cup trophy in 16 years.


9. Pawson in charge

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, December 6, 2020: Liverpool's captain Jordan Henderson remonstrates with referee Craig Pawson after he awaded Wolverhampton Wanderers a penalty, the decision was later overturned when the referee looked at a replay on the VAR monitor, during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Wolverhampton Wanderers FC at Anfield. Liverpool won 4-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Craig Pawson has been confirmed as the referee for the weekend action.

Andrew Madley, who bore the brunt of Klopp’s frustrations at the Emirates in midweek, is on VAR duty.

Pawson oversaw Liverpool’s 3-0 win at Leeds in the league back in September, sending off Pascal Struijk after his tackle fractured Harvey Elliott‘s ankle, as well as the 3-2 loss away to West Ham.

He strangely decided against awarding a foul on Alisson for the opening goal against the Hammers, however, playing a part in a rare Reds defeat.


10. Sunday night ITV offering

LONDON, ENGLAND - Wednesday, March 16, 2022: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp celebrates after the FA Premier League match between Arsenal FC and Liverpool FC at the Emirates Stadium. Liverpool won 2-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Nottingham Forest vs. Liverpool is live on ITV from 5.15pm (GMT), with kickoff at 6pm.

TIA’s matchday live blog will be in full swing from 5.15pm, too, as Dan Clubbe is tasked with hopefully guiding you through another Reds win.