Jurgen Klopp says Liverpool won “for our brother” Luis Diaz after claiming victory over Nottingham Forest “in the most difficult of circumstances” at Anfield.
Diogo Jota, surrounded by his team-mates, held up the Colombia player’s number seven shirt after firing the Reds into a 31st-minute lead when Matt Turner turned Darwin Nunez’s attempt into the Portuguese forward’s path.
“The best thing we could do is win the game for our brother,” Klopp told Match of the Day afterwards.
“We played the game in the most difficult circumstances I’ve ever had. After more than 1,000 games [as a manager] you would think you’ve experienced everything.
“But it’s not about us. We all pray that everything will be fine. The only thing we could do is fight for our brother and that’s what they (the players) did. The boys fought for their brother.”
Jota said the decision to hold up Diaz’s shirt after scoring was “to show we’re with him” in an “unimaginable situation”.
“Luis was with us in the hotel [before the game] then he went home,” he added to MOTD.
“He was going to play. I played instead of him and I showed him his shirt to show we’re with him and we hope everything works out.”
Liverpool were dominant and, after Jota’s opener, Uruguay striker Darwin Nunez doubled the advantage four minutes later with his sixth club goal of the campaign after a cutback by the impressive Dominik Szoboszlai.
Forest’s miserable day was complete when Turner and substitute Harry Toffolo got in a tangle, allowing Mohamed Salah to become only the third player in Liverpool’s history to score in each of the opening five home league matches of a season.
Klopp’s side are fourth is the table, three points behind leaders Tottenham, while Forest, who failed to seriously test Liverpool keeper Alisson, are 16th, five points above the relegation zone.
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Salah landmark as Reds keep focus
Liverpool fans chanted the name of Diaz, who joined for an initial £37.5m in January 2022, as their team maintained their 100% home winning run in the league.
The 26-year-old had been due to play before news emerged on the eve of the match about his parents.
The late change did not disrupt the Reds on the pitch, however, with Klopp’s team having now gone a year without losing at home in the league.
Liverpool finished a distant 22 points behind champions Manchester City last season. With more than a quarter of this season gone, they are proving much more of a threat near the top of the table.
But for Forest keeper Turner, they would have won by a more handsome margin as he made fine saves to deny summer signings Ryan Gravenberch and Szoboszlai.
But Turner was then involved in the error that led to Salah making it 3-0 in the 77th minute and claiming his 145th Premier League goal for Liverpool.
Turner was well outside his area when Szoboszlai launched the ball forward from his own half, with the in-form Salah taking advantage of the mix-up between the keeper and Toffolo to score his 10th Liverpool goal in all competitions this season.
The Egypt forward joined Harry Chambers (1922) and John Aldridge (1987) in achieving the feat of scoring in each of the opening five home league matches of a season.
Frustrated Forest can’t end Anfield hoodoo
Forest’s long wait for a win at Anfield, which they last achieved in 1969, goes on after injury deprived them of fielding a recognised striker in their starting XI.
Taiwo Awoniyi and Chris Wood have scored six of their team’s 10 goals this season, but Awoniyi – on Liverpool’s books before joining Union Berlin in 2021 after a loan spell in Germany – started on the bench after a groin problem, while Wood was ruled out with a hamstring issue.
With Callum Hudson-Odoi and former Reds player Divock Origi also missing through injury, it was left to winger Anthony Elanga and midfielder Morgan Gibbs-White to lead a makeshift attack.
They only seriously threatened after Liverpool had established a 3-0 lead, with Elanga hitting the woodwork in the closing stages before volleying a good chance over.
Turner’s error only compounded Cooper’s misery with Forest now without a goal in three away games.
“It’s frustrating,” he said. “The idea was to keep the pitch as small as you can. When you open up the pitch that’s when Liverpool are at their most dangerous.
“We look at the goals and think, ‘we should’ve done better’.”
Player of the match
with an average of 8.31
Squad number9Player nameNúñez
Squad number8Player nameSzoboszlai
Squad number18Player nameGakpo
Squad number20Player nameDiogo Jota
Squad number19Player nameElliott
Squad number3Player nameEndo
Squad number11Player nameMohamed Salah
Squad number10Player nameMac Allister
Squad number4Player namevan Dijk
Squad number2Player nameGomez
Squad number38Player nameGravenberch
Squad number5Player nameKonaté
Squad number1Player nameAlisson
Squad number66Player nameAlexander-Arnold
Squad number21Player nameTsimikas
Squad number7Player nameN Williams
Squad number21Player nameElanga
Squad number10Player nameGibbs-White
Squad number1Player nameTurner
Squad number30Player nameBoly
Squad number40Player nameMurillo
Squad number6Player nameSangaré
Squad number19Player nameNiakhaté
Squad number16Player nameDomínguez
Squad number5Player nameMangala
Squad number43Player nameAina
Squad number24Player nameAurier
Squad number9Player nameAwoniyi
Squad number22Player nameYates
Squad number12Player nameAndrey Santos
Squad number15Player nameToffolo
- 66Alexander-ArnoldBooked at 19minsSubstituted forGomezat 89′minutes
- 4van Dijk
- 10Mac AllisterBooked at 58mins
- 38GravenberchSubstituted forElliottat 58′minutes
- 9NúñezSubstituted forEndoat 80′minutes
- 20JotaSubstituted forGakpoat 58′minutes
- 30BolySubstituted forAwoniyiat 69′minutes
- 40Santiago Costa dos Santos
- 43AinaSubstituted forToffoloat 69′minutes
- 10Gibbs-WhiteSubstituted forN Williamsat 83′minutes
- 5MangalaBooked at 33minsSubstituted forNascimento dos Santosat 83′minutes
- 6SangaréBooked at 90mins
- 16DomínguezBooked at 52minsSubstituted forYatesat 69′minutes
- 7N Williams
- 12Nascimento dos Santos
- Chris Kavanagh
Match ends, Liverpool 3, Nottingham Forest 0.
Second Half ends, Liverpool 3, Nottingham Forest 0.
Attempt saved. Anthony Elanga (Nottingham Forest) right footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Ibrahim Sangaré.
VAR Decision: No Goal Liverpool 3-0 Nottingham Forest.
GOAL OVERTURNED BY VAR: Cody Gakpo (Liverpool) scores but the goal is ruled out after a VAR review.
Offside, Liverpool. Harvey Elliott tries a through ball, but Cody Gakpo is caught offside.
Attempt missed. Harvey Elliott (Liverpool) left footed shot from outside the box is too high.
Ibrahim Sangaré (Nottingham Forest) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Cody Gakpo (Liverpool) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Ibrahim Sangaré (Nottingham Forest).
Attempt blocked. Ibrahim Sangaré (Nottingham Forest) header from the centre of the box is blocked.
Attempt blocked. Ibrahim Sangaré (Nottingham Forest) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked.
Corner, Nottingham Forest. Conceded by Alisson Becker.
Substitution, Liverpool. Joe Gomez replaces Trent Alexander-Arnold.
Attempt missed. Anthony Elanga (Nottingham Forest) right footed shot from the centre of the box is high and wide to the right. Assisted by Neco Williams with a cross.
Attempt missed. Andrey Santos (Nottingham Forest) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the right following a corner.
Corner, Nottingham Forest. Conceded by Kostas Tsimikas.
Cody Gakpo (Liverpool) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Ryan Yates (Nottingham Forest).
Anthony Elanga (Nottingham Forest) hits the bar with a left footed shot from the left side of the six yard box. Assisted by Ryan Yates with a cross.