Sunday, July 3

Jota finally finds scoring touch, sends Liverpool to FA Cup semis

Liverpool eased past Nottingham Forest 1-0 in their FA Cup quarterfinal clash at the City Ground on Sunday evening, setting up a trip to Wembley next month.

The Reds controlled possession for the majority of the first half but the only chance that fell to Roberto Firmino was wasted as the Brazil international tried to chip the ball over United States goalkeeper Ethan Horvath. A faster second half saw Diogo Jota presented with a chance inside the box that was tame, and Forest very nearly broke the deadlock on the counter.

Steve Cooper’s side would regret their missed chance as they found themselves behind just moments later. Kostas Tsimikas timed his cross over the defence for Jota, who made no mistake this time around.

Positives

The Reds kept their composure after Forest’s best chance of the game and shortly after took the lead. That was needed with the hosts making enough opportunities that could have resulted in a different story on another day.

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Negatives

Liverpool’s finishing was poor at times that left some attacks wasted after creating good opportunities.

Manager rating out of 10

Jurgen Klopp, 7 — Klopp respected the opposition and deployed a strong team to ensure there would be no diversion from a trip to Wembley. A quadruple substitution on 64 minutes was timed well as Liverpool soon began to attack with more fluidity.

Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best, players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)

GK Alisson, 6 — Not much to deal with as a deflected effort went past the post. Almost conceded through a mix-up in the second half but recovered well. Close to giving away a penalty late on.

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DF Kostas Tsimikas, 7 — A couple of wayward efforts didn’t look to threaten Horvath as the Greece international looked to stretch the play down the left. A perfect ball set up Jota for the opener.

DF Virgil van Dijk, 7 — Dealt well with Forest attacks that looked dangerous as the Championship side looked to find a way past Klopp’s high line. The Netherlands captain was always a step ahead of his marker to clear the danger.

DF Ibrahima Konate, 7 — Applied pressure to Forest strikers looking to get on the end of crosses in the box and was assured alongside Van Dijk, stopping a Forest attack in the final seconds of the game.

DF Joe Gomez, 7 — Tore up the right flank but didn’t always execute the best of balls into the box. Gomez was also solid defensively.

MF Fabinho, 7 — Fabinho set the foundation for Naby Keita and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to advance and didn’t look flustered by the occasion.

MF Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, 6 — Worked hard but sometimes got his final pass wrong, looking visibly frustrated when he was replaced just after the hour mark.

MF Naby Keita, 8 — Keita linked the play well in midfield and often looked like the Liverpool star most likely to make something happen. The Guinea international rarely made a wrong decision on the day.

FW Diogo Jota, 6 — It was a case of third time lucky for Jota, who could have scored before eventually finding the net late in the second half.

FW Roberto Firmino, 6 — The Brazilian should have done better with just Horvath to beat in the first half, and with Jota running alongside him for what would have been an easy tap in.

FW Harvey Elliott, 6 — Looked assured in possession but could have timed his runs in behind a bit better with his midfielders looking to pick him out down the right channel.

Substitutes

FW Luis Diaz, 6 — Linked well with Tsimikas for the opening goal but didn’t have the chance to run at defenders as much as he would have liked.

FW Takumi Minamino, 6 — Wasn’t involved too much when coming on, with Forest often working the ball into Liverpool territory.

MF Jordan Henderson, 7 — Commanded from the midfield and looked to play between the lines to get the ball to the forwards inside the box.

MF Thiago, 7 — Thiago looked effortless as he moved the ball around the pitch, helping Klopp’s side settle down amid pressure.

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