Nottingham Forest 0-1 Liverpool: Player ratings as Nunez snatches victory in stoppage time

  • Forest denied Liverpool a single shot on target in the first half
  • Anthony Elanga went close for the hosts on two occasions
  • Nunez struck in the 99th minute

Darwin Nunez celebrates his dramatic winner
Darwin Nunez celebrates his dramatic winner / Shaun Botterill/GettyImages

Darwin Nunez salvaged a dramatic 1-0 victory for Liverpool with a 99th-minute winner away to Nottingham Forest on Saturday afternoon.

Nuno Espirito Santo's stubborn side frustrated Liverpool throughout normal time. After consecutive cup victories with an ever-shrinking group of healthy players across the previous six days, Jurgen Klopp's 'mentality monsters' threatened to be muzzled until Nunez emerged as their saviour.

The Uruguayan had been denied from point-blank range by Matz Sels moments earlier but left Forest's goalkeeper rooted to the spot with a deft header at the death.

How the game unfolded

Anthony Elanga broke clear of Liverpool's characteristically high backline but was thwarted by Caoimhin Kelleher's left boot in the biggest chance of a tepid first half. The flag may have come to Liverpool's rescue if their goalkeeper hadn't but it underscored Forest's preferred route to goal.

Jurgen Klopp avoided any references to Robin Hood ahead of Saturday's contest and instead described Nottingham as "a great place to play - but a difficult one". And so it proved.

Less than a week on from impressing as one of the embryonic substitutes in Liverpool's Carabao Cup victory over Chelsea, Bobby Clark earned a second consecutive start. Devoid of the inhibitions expected of a 19-year-old on their full Premier League debut, Clark was confident enough to pepper Sels' goal. After a slick move down the right wing, it was a shot from Clark that rebounded into the stride of Luis Diaz, whose effort was blocked from six yards.

Liverpool failed to force Sels into a single save before the break and were limited to just one shot on target before Klopp ushered Nunez off the bench after an hour.

Yet it was the lowly hosts that offered the greater threat in transition. Once again, the ball dropped to Elanga's left foot inside Liverpool's penalty area but the former Manchester United forward fired narrowly wide halfway through the second half.

As the match ticked into the closing stages, Liverpool won a squall of set pieces. Forest rebuffed each effort valiantly, antagonising Liverpool's visibly tetchy bench.

The eight allocated minutes of stoppage time had elapsed when Alexis Mac Allister scooped one last pass into Forest's box. Nunez fought off Neco Williams to guide a header beyond Sels, extending Liverpool's lead at the Premier League summit to four points.

Nottingham Forest player ratings (4-2-3-1)

Anthony Elanga
Anthony Elanga led the line for Nottingham Forest / Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/GettyImages

GK: Matz Sels - 6/10 - Unfortunate to lose his clean sheet.

RB: Neco Williams - 6/10 - Aggressive up against Luis Diaz, knocking the winger off his stride more than once.

CB: Andrew Omobamidele - 5/10 - Less proactive than his Brazilian partner at the back.

CB: Murillo - 7/10 - Hauled himself in the way of numerous goal-bound efforts.

LB: Harry Toffolo - 5/10 - Picked his moments when to reluctantly break forward carefully.

CM: Nicolas Dominguez - 6/10 - Starting in a more withdrawn role but still had the energy to break forward.

CM: Ryan Yates - 5/10 - Snaffling and scrapping around midfield with plenty of endeavour if little end product.

AM: Morgan Gibbs-White - 6/10 - Unfazed by the squall of lavender shirts that tried to smother his every touch.

RW: Divock Origi - 6/10 - Offered an outlet when Forest wisely avoided playing through Liverpool's fearsome high press.

ST: Anthony Elanga - 4/10 - Constantly lurking on the shoulder of the deepest Liverpool defender, Elanga fluffed his clearest chance of the match.

LW: Callum Hudson-Odoi - 5/10 - Eager to weave his way to goal each time he got the ball with mixed success.


SUB: Taiwo Awoniyi (65' for Origi) - 6/10

SUB: Danilo (79' for Dominguez) - 5/10

Subs not used: Matt Turner (GK), Moussa Niakhate, Felipe, Joe Gardner, Ibrahim Sangare, Cheikhou Kouyate, Rodrigo Ribeiro.


Nuno Espirito Santo - 7/10 - Set his side up with a clear game plan to frustrate and break. Needed a few calmer heads to take advantage in transition but was unfortunate not to get a point from this one.

Liverpool player ratings (4-3-3)

Caoimhin Kelleher
Caoimhin Kelleher filled in for the injured Alisson / Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/GettyImages

GK: Caoimhin Kelleher - 7/10 - Standing in for the injured Alisson, Kelleher once again offered a minimal drop-off in performance.

RB: Conor Bradley - 6/10 - Given licence to push down the wing when Harvey Elliott shifted centrally while also wandering infield himself.

CB: Ibrahima Konate - 7/10 - A perfect foil for Virgil van Dijk, shutting down the few avenues that opened up for Forest.

CB: Virgil van Dijk - 8/10 - Calmness personified - particularly when steering a nerveless header back to Kelleher with a red shirt on his shoulder.

LB: Andy Robertson - 5/10 - Struggled physically up against his former teammate Origi.

CM: Alexis Mac Allister - 6/10 - Silkily knitting the game together within a cramped midfield.

CM: Joe Gomez - 5/10 - Never going to be a natural fit at the base of midfield but hardly delivered a calamitous display.

CM: Bobby Clark - 6/10 - Confident collecting the ball anywhere on the pitch, Clark's swagger shone through.

RW: Harvey Elliott - 7/10 - Skulking around in search of space that he used to tee up his teammates.

ST: Cody Gakpo - 4/10 - Shunted to the fringes of proceedings. The one time he found his way on to the ball in a dangerous area, Gakpo got in the way of Van Dijk who had a better sight of goal.

LW: Luis Diaz - 6/10 - Sparky but only in spurts.


SUB: Darwin Nunez (60' for Clark) - 7/10 - Injected some life into Liverpool, never more so than with his late winner.

SUB: Wataru Endo (60' for Robertson) - 5/10

SUB: Dominik Szoboszlai (76' for Elliott) - 5/10

SUB: Kostas Tsimikas (84' for Bradley) - N/A

SUB: Jayden Danns (84' for Gakpo) - N/A

Subs not used: Adrian (GK), Jarell Quansah, James McConnell, Lewis Koumas.


Jurgen Klopp - 5/10 - Desperately tried to shake up a subdued display with his bench and was eventually bailed out by Nunez.

Player of the match - Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool)