Neil Atkinson’s post-match review for The Anfield Wrap after Nottingham Forest 0 Liverpool 1 in the 2023-2024 Premier League season…




Look at the state you got this place.

How on earth is Saturday meant to happen from here? Theoretically, only 3,000 Liverpool supporters can watch this match in the UK. Theoretically. Legally.

Theoretically, 0-0 on 97 should be the end of the matter. Theoretically.

Liverpool don’t stop. They just don’t stop. They find one more angle, one more corner, two more attempts. They find Alexis Mac Allister on the edge and on the half turn, and on the idea that he is a winner, that he is the best player, the smartest player, the one who knocks. He does so one more time and the ball couldn’t be better in 30 attempts, but still its intended recipient had to head it like Gullit to find its way home. Mac Allister backs him.

Its intended recipient. Last week we got to see what it meant to him as he hurdled teammates, hoardings and gates to find his way through. He isn’t alone and that’s what matters. Some of us are more ostentatious than others and none are more ostentatious than Darwin Nunez, but what his display suggests is that this is a squad entirely all in on what the rest of this campaign is about. They are together as a crew, as a gang and then today for him to get what he gets is picture perfect. The truth is this: Darwin Nunez wants to win the league more than you.

He’d made a difference from his arrival. The game was disintegrating, but there was Darwin as a focal point, living on the shoulder, seeing in behind. He isn’t a miracle worker, but instead is a constant worker, certain space will explode, the chance will come and he will find his way.

The game was disintegrating. They do well. Anthony Elanga is a perfectly passable centre forward and Divock makes sense off a flank, but the moment Taiwo Awoniyi comes on Nottingham Forest look like a dangerous side. I like them an awful lot on paper, but football isn’t played on paper. It is, instead, played in Alexis Mac Allister’s mind and that is where matters become dangerous for them.

Mac Allister shows yet again that he is a winner, that he has Neo From The Matrix style time in all phases of play, that the next move is one he has already written. He was at the centre of everything good.

Let’s be clear – there is a version of this review where the goal doesn’t go in and instead the chat is about the fact that Cody Gakpo looked tired, Harvey Elliott looked tired, Conor Bradley looked tired, because they did in that way which isn’t about the body or brain lacking, but the last detail just being beyond.

However, Ibou Konate and Virgil van Dijk didn’t and they were the springboard everything could possibly be. van Dijk believes in his men so much – as much as he backs himself. His brain is constant, his gambles crystal clear – you want to shoot on your left or find an angle, you want to work it once more? You pick, kid. I’ll be fine.

He backs all of these gambles up in a way which is absolutely correct, but still takes some courage. Whereas Konate smothers – he’s never seen a grenade he wouldn’t fall on.

It’s there for Liverpool now. As the clock ticked down I remembered me pouring over fixture lists in July and plotting the course where it was in our hands before the game next Sunday against the Champions. Over and over I looked at everything and wondered if we could get there with a lead and decided that we could.

A month ago the question was the same – will all roads lead to Mothering Sunday? I love a festival, love a feast day. Will that feast day offer the chance of all the marbles? Being fair, Arsenal have complicated the question, but we know this – a draw at worst keeps us level with Arsenal and a point clear of City with 10 to go.

At worst.

There is, well, all the best. There is what we have achieved to this point with footballers on their knees, with Conor Bradley and Bobby Clark not having 10 league starts between them, with everyone working it out during games.

There is the space the manager has created, the space for everyone to play a part, the space for everyone to believe, to dance, to fall in love. The no-game-is-dead-till-we-say-so space. This is the best night out in the world. Space. Look at the state you got this place space.



We shall not be moved. It’s an act of love.

Mac Allister to Nunez. I found you.


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