Player ratings as Jota double secures hectic win

Liverpool had Diogo Jota’s double to thank as they battled to a 3-2 win over Nottingham Forest on Saturday.

After a gritty, goalless first half, the two sides shared five goals inside the first 25 minutes of the second period. Jota bagged two but saw his efforts cancelled out by Neco Williams and Morgan Gibbs-White before Mohamed Salah struck to cap off the win.

The early proceedings were dominated by Liverpool, who boasted close to 90% possession in the first ten minutes. Cody Gakpo fizzed wide from range and Ibrahima Konate nodded past the post soon after, but Forest’s resolute defence was standing strong.

Keylor Navas was called on to deny Virgil van Dijk midway through the first half, before Gakpo saw a scrappy effort cleared off the line by Williams, with Liverpool looking to ramp up the pressure on Forest’s goal.

Liverpool’s frustrations continued as Jota headed wide late in the half, with one of many excellent balls from Trent Alexander-Arnold ultimately coming to nothing.

Clear-cut chances were at a premium in the first 45 and that was entirely down to Forest’s game plan. Steve Cooper’s side had just 14% possession and were more than happy sitting deep to push Liverpool away.

However, Forest’s resolve would be broken just two minutes after the break. Alexander-Arnold’s corner caused problems and eventually found Fabinho whose header across the box was bundled home by Jota.

Just a few minutes later and Forest were back level. Williams drilled towards goal from well outside the box and a deflection off Andy Robertson left Alisson with no chance.

The goals were flying in at this point, with Jota putting Liverpool back in front almost straight after. The winger picked up a free-kick without any pressure at all and he made no mistake with a classy volley.

Jota nearly had a third ten minutes later, but Navas’s excellent diving save kept Forest alive, and it proved to be a huge moment as the visitors went down the other end and drew level through Gibbs-White’s volley.

Yet again, however, there was an instant reply as Salah drilled home from Alexander-Arnold’s cross, putting Liverpool straight back in front.

Forest thought they had their own immediate response but Brennan Johnson’s lob over Alisson came flying back off the crossbar.

An ambitious triple substitution from Forest in the dying embers led to a hectic finale, but Liverpool held on for all three points.

GK: Alisson – 6/10 – Barely involved aside from picking the ball out the back of the net.

RB: Trent Alexander-Arnold – 8/10 – A sensational threat with some unbelievable passing. Deserved plenty of assists but had to settle for one.

CB: Ibrahima Konate – 6/10 – Decent defensively but his reluctance to try things with the ball at his feet was a noticeable issue. Finally pulled that killer pass off in the second half and Jota nearly scored from it.

CB: Virgil van Dijk – 6/10 – Had a sloppy start but slowly sorted himself out. A nice header to test Navas.

LB: Andy Robertson – 6/10 – Struggled up against the deep block. Wasn’t given the space to get in behind. Unlucky for the deflection but went straight down the other end and assisted Jota.

DM: Fabinho – 5/10 – Another whose attacking limitations were huge. Plenty of sideways passing without ever really trying to get anything going.

CM: Curtis Jones – 5/10 – Declined to make the cutting pass on a number of occasions.

CM: Jordan Henderson – 5/10 – The wrong skillset for this sort of game. Doesn’t have the passing range for a deep block.

RW: Mohamed Salah – 7/10 – Couldn’t get going in the first half but the open nature of the second half played into his hands.

ST: Cody Gakpo – 5/10 – Some nice runs to give Alexander-Arnold something to aim at, but couldn’t make the most of his opportunities.

LW: Diogo Jota – 7/10 – Looked isolated out wide and wasted a great chance to open the scoring late in the first half, but soon made up for it. Took his goals well.


Darwin Nunez (60′ for Gakpo) – 5/10

Thiago (60′ for Fabinho) – 5/10

Luis Diaz (81′ for Jota) – N/A

James Milner (81′ for Jones) – N/A


Jurgen Klopp – 5/10 – Got his starting lineup wrong and failed to calm the game down with his substitutions.

GK: Keylor Navas – 6/10 – Made some nice saves when Liverpool got through.

CB: Felipe – 6/10 – Enjoyed the battle that came from Alexander-Arnold’s crosses. Didn’t win every header but usually did enough to cause problems.

CB: Moussa Niakhate – 6/10 – Threw himself in front of everything to try and stop Liverpool from getting anything going.

CB: Scott McKenna – 6/10 – Put in a shift before being forced off early through injury.

RM: Neco Williams – 7/10 – Some excellent defensive work. Really looked up for the fight against his former club. A scrappy goal but absolutely deserved it.

CM: Orel Mangala – 7/10 – Did his defensive duties well to frustrate Liverpool.

CM: Remo Freuler – 6/10 – Glued himself to Fabinho and usually won the battle.

LM: Renan Lodi – 5/10 – Switched off the opening goal, undoing all his side’s hard work.

AM: Danilo – 4/10 – Had the job of man-marking Alexander-Arnold but couldn’t get anywhere near the right-back.

AM: Morgan Gibbs-White – 6/10 – Visibly low on confidence but his impressive volley might just fix that.

ST: Taiwo Awoniyi – 5/10 – Left on an island up front but nearly pulled off a gorgeous overhead kick.


Joe Worrall (30′ for McKenna) – 5/10

Brennan Johnson (76′ for Freuler) – 6/10

Emmanuel Dennis (87′ for Felipe) – N/A

Sam Surridge (87′ for Awoniyi) – N/A

Andre Ayew (87′ for Lodi) – N/A


Steve Cooper – 6/10 – Made the bold call to bench Johnson which looked like the right move in the first half. Will be questioned with hindsight but there’s no denying Forest put up a real fight here.

Player of the match – Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool)