Nottingham Forest have nothing to lose in “one of toughest games you can play”

Steve Cooper will tell his Nottingham Forest players to fully believe they can cause another FA Cup upset when they take on Liverpool in the quarter-finals on Sunday.

Forest have already knocked out Arsenal and holders Leicester on their way to the last eight and are in good form in the Championship.

Premier League title-chasers Liverpool present another step up but Cooper is relishing taking on Jurgen Klopp’s men.

“We’ve enjoyed it so far,” he said. “Obviously there’s an extremely tough test coming up on Sunday but one we’re really looking forward to.

“Liverpool have been brilliant to watch, certainly since Jurgen’s been in charge, and I think we’ve all admired how they’ve played and the competitions that they’ve won. We know it’s going to be one of the toughest games you can play. We’re going to have to be ready for it.

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)

“We’ve still got to aim to get success in the game because otherwise why should the players believe anything I say? So we’ll still very much be focusing on what we do and how we play and back ourselves, while knowing a lot of things will have to go well for us to get success.”

Cooper’s Forest have earned a lot of plaudits for their results and the way they have played, particularly in their 4-1 dismantling of Leicester in the fourth round.

They sit in eighth place in the Championship table, one point off the play-off places, but Cooper has no concerns about the cup hurting their promotion chances.

“I’d rather it that way because we’re still very much in the process of trying to build something,” he said of fighting on two fronts.

“We’re a bit further down the line now but we treat every game with the same amount of preparation, the same amount of respect and commitment. How we’ve played after the cup ties is a good sign we’re really sticking to the plan.”

This is Forest’s first FA Cup quarter-final since 1996, and it will be the first time they have faced Liverpool since the 1998-99 season.

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 very familiar with the Reds having spent five years working at Liverpool’s academy prior to his successful stint with the England age groups.

He said of the significance: “I never really think about what it means for me, I always think about what it means for the club that you work for.

“I think everyone’s excited that Liverpool are in town, excited about the cup tie, pleased that it’s at home, and we just want to make it a good spectacle on and off the pitch.”

There was bad news this week for defender Scott McKenna, who sustained a hamstring injury in Wednesday’s victory over QPR and will be out for around a month.