Nottingham Forest vs Liverpool preview: How to watch, team news, predicted line-ups and ones to watch
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The Merseysiders and East Midlanders’ first meeting since April 1999 has an intriguing look to it.

Both clubs – who were regular rivals at the top of English football in the late 1970s and early ‘80s, in particular – head into this tie in good shape.

Cooper – formerly a Liverpool youth coach – has genuinely galvanised Forest since he took over in September, lifting them from bottom to ninth (at time of writing) in England’s second tier.

With 12 league matches to go – and games in hand on the teams around them – a place in the play-offs looks a very real possibility.

That momentum has only been enhanced by their enthralling run in this competition.

They have beaten Premier League outfits Arsenal and Leicester City 1-0 and 4-1 respectively, and Championship rivals Huddersfield Town 2-1, on the way to this quarter-final.

A quarter-final which, like each of those ties, will be played in the electric surroundings of The City Ground.

Klopp’s side, meanwhile, come into this off the back of a crucial 2-0 win at Arsenal on Wednesday night – one which took them just a point behind Premier League leaders Manchester City, with them and City each having nine league games left to play.

They’ve overcome Shrewsbury Town 4-1, Cardiff City 3-1 and Norwich City 2-1 in three Anfield FA Cup ties thus far and – having lifted the Carabao Cup at Wembley last month – can still win four competitions this term.

They’ll be aiming to take a big step forward on one of those four fronts – and earn another chance to play under the arch – at 6pm on Sunday.

This is also the first time the clubs have met in the FA Cup since the 1989 semi-final. That was, of course, the scene of the Hillsborough disaster before the Merseysiders won the rescheduled match 3-1.

Earlier this week, Forest supporters laid a floral tribute at Anfield’s memorial to the 97 Liverpool fans unlawfully killed, while 97 seats will be left vacant at The City Ground on Sunday as a mark of respect.

Team news

Cooper will be without centre-backs Steve Cook and Scott McKenna, left-wing-back Max Lowe and top scorer Lewis Grabban through injury. 

In his pre-match press conference on Friday morning, Klopp revealed that Trent Alexander-Arnold would be out for “weeks” with a hamstring injury. That ruled the 23-year-old out of this weekend’s match as well as the England squad, which he had been named in on Thursday.

The German boss also explained that Mohamed Salah – who came on in the 56th minute on Wednesday – had again felt his foot after the match, having injured it four days earlier in the 2-0 win at Brighton.

Alongside this, James Milner and Kostas Tsimikas – both of whom are likely potential options for Sunday – have been ill in recent days, which saw them left out of Wednesday’s matchday squad.

There’s a good chance they will be Klopp’s go-to full-back options on Sunday but – as the German boss hinted on Friday – their involvement will be dependent on how they have recovered.

Goalkeeping clarity was offered by the 54-year-old too, as he stated that Alisson Becker would start between the sticks.

Ones to watch

Nottingham ForestDjed Spence

The right-wing-back, on loan at Forest from Middlesbrough, has justifiably earned plenty of praise for his barnstorming displays in recent months.

That was reflected by the 21-year-old receiving his first England U21 call-up earlier this week.

He continues to be linked with several top European clubs, including Bayern Munich, but he is very much a Forest contributor at present.

And another big contribution arrived on Wednesday as his majestic, dipping 30-yarder brought the hosts level in their crucial 3-1 win over play-off rivals QPR.

Spence has been a dynamic, incisive and often ruthless presence on the right of Cooper’s 3-4-1-2 shape and he will likely be a significant outlet for his team again on Sunday.

He could well ask plenty of questions of the visitors’ left side. 

Liverpool – Curtis Jones

Another exciting 21-year-old, who will join Spence in that squad, Jones has started each of the Merseysiders’ three FA Cup matches so far in 2021/22.

In truth, there’s a reasonable chance the young midfielder won’t start this one, but there feels a decent enough probability that he will feature again.

He is a creative, forward-thinking presence in the central third – as well as an increasingly disciplined one.

Striking a healthy balance could, again, prove crucial here.

If he does start, there is every chance that he will play on the left of Klopp’s midfield three and, in that case, he will have to maintain an awareness of the likes of Spence and Brennan Johnson, who are likely to be aiming to operate within Liverpool’s outside and inside-right channels.

Jones has the potential to unlock elements of the game for the Premier League side, while he can also prove a crucial source of balance and security.

Predicted lineups

Nottingham Forest (3-4-1-2): Horvath; Worrall, Figueiredo, Panzo; Spence, Yates, Garner, Colback; Zinckernagel; Johnson, Davis

Liverpool (4-3-3): Alisson; Gomez, Konaté, Van Dijk, Tsimikas; Oxlade-Chamberlain, Henderson, Jones; Minamino, Origi, Firmino

Form guide

Forest are unbeaten in their last nine games in all competitions, registering six wins in that time.

They also come into this on a three-game winning streak. It’s form that, as mentioned earlier, has put them in with a real chance of getting themselves into the play-offs come the end of the season – and that has propelled this cup run.

Liverpool have also built up a healthy level of momentum. Their win at Arsenal on Wednesday was their ninth successive Premier League victory and they have won 14 of their last 15 in all competitions.

The 1-0 defeat to Internazionale in the Champions League round of 16 second-leg at Anfield – which brought a 2-1 aggregate victory – is Klopp’s side’s only loss in 2022 as it stands, while the 2-1 reversal at Cardiff City in late January is Cooper’s team’s only reversal thus far this calendar year.

Prediction

These are, therefore, two teams who currently have a healthy habit of winning.

Forest have shown themselves to be a real force both physically and technically in recent times – especially at The City Ground.

This will be a significant test on several levels for Liverpool and it should be an enjoyable match to watch.

The Merseysiders, though, have also shown themselves to be a consistently imposing force. If they can manage the game efficiently, they have the quality – potentially both from the start and the bench – to win this one by a couple of goals and earn that place in the mid-April semi-final.

Prediction – Nottingham Forest 1-3 Liverpool

How to watch

The match will be available to watch in the UK on ITV, with kick-off at 6pm. Highlights will be shown on BBC One on Sunday night, on The FA Cup highlights show – which is scheduled for 11.05pm.

The semi-final draw will also be conducted on ITV at 5.30pm, with Nottingham Forest and Liverpool due to be ball number two.

(All times GMT).

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