Liverpool

Liverpool mean serious business in their pursuit of unprecedented quadruple

Max Parsons
Jurgen Klopp's side are going for a quadruple this term
Jurgen Klopp's side are going for a quadruple this term / Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/GettyImages
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The gravity of a clash between Nottingham Forest and Liverpool is a long way off what it was in the late 1970s and early 1980s, although a spine-tingling atmosphere throughout will have told you all you needed to know about the importance of the two clubs' FA Cup meeting on Sunday evening.

From 1977 to 1981, they earned five consecutive European Cup titles between them; but while Forest can only dream of the heights they previously reached under the unique Brian Clough, a trip to the City Ground would still represent a momentous occasion and very tricky task for quadruple-hunting Liverpool on Sunday evening - just ask Leicester and Arsenal.

Steve Cooper has reinvigorated the club since his arrival and went into the weekend searching for a third consecutive Premier League scalp in the cup - a feat to boast alongside their barnstorming push for Championship play-off qualification.

It would be far from easy for Jurgen Klopp's men, who have consistently struggled to push on multiple fronts since the German's arrival at the club.

Yes, the accolade of Champions League and Premier League triumphs in successive seasons is pretty tasty; but compared to Manchester City's 11 titles since the 2017/18 campaign, the Reds' tally of four major honours in that time evidences a further step the club need to take.

This season feels different, however.

After failing to get past the fifth round of the FA Cup in each of his first five seasons in charge, Klopp has finally got his side to the business end of the competition and can now look forward to a spot in the last four.

It's evidence of the squad's increasing depth. Most notably, the arrival of Luis Diaz means Klopp can rotate between two frighteningly good front lines (as he did on Sunday - from Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Diaz to Diogo Jota, Roberto Firmino and Harvey Elliott) as the season nears its most crucial time.

Meanwhile, the acquisition of Ibrahima Konate last summer and the return to full fitness of Virgil van Dijk has relieved the defensive strain that we saw last campaign (they boast 25 clean sheets in all competitions this time around), while the midfield continues to set the tone for consistently dynamic and ruthlessly energetic performances week-in week-out - heavy metal football.

It's important to note, however, that Liverpool were not at their best at the City Ground. A few nervy moments at the back might have been costly given the lack of real potency up top, but however far Forest pushed their star-studded opposition, Liverpool had answers - and more importantly, solutions.

Their composure was admirable and their knack for counteracting and overcoming Forests' hugely enjoyable rip-roaring style of play was vital.

In the end - as has been the case for the large majority of the 2021/22 campaign - Klopp's men were simply too good and were deserving of the victory when many others would have thrown it away.

Jota, despite looking out of sorts in front of goal for the opening 76 minutes of the game, once again produced the necessary touch to assume hero status. His deft touch at the back post was enough to put Kostas Tsimikas' lovely delivery past Ethan Horvath in the Forest goal, and in the process earn Liverpool their second trip to Wembley this term.

With the form the Reds are in at the moment, it's hard not to pin them as favourites for practically every fixture they go into.

They'll be heavy favourites for their Champions League quarter-final clash with Benfica, while Premier League and FA Cup encounters with Manchester City will undoubtedly prove the decisive moments in a potential quadruple-winning campaign - on current form, you'd have to back Klopp's side in those weighted occasions, surely?

Let's not get ahead of ourselves, though - there are a couple of months left to be played, of course.

But still battling on three fronts (having already secured success on the fourth), Liverpool are really showing they have the squad depth and quality to embark on a period of overwhelming domination.

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