Nottingham Forest boss Steve Cooper did something that really disappointed BBC pundit Garth Crooks on Saturday. The Reds were beaten 3-2 by Liverpool at Anfield, slipping to 19th in the Premier League.

Forest put in a vastly improved performance against one of the top sides in the Premier League. At this stage, however, the Reds need points on the board and the situation is becoming perilous.

Crooks Cooper
Photo; Andrew Powell; Liverpool FC; Getty Images

Goals from Neco Williams and Morgan Gibbs-White saw Forest twice draw level. A brace from Diogo Jota and a goal from Mohamed Salah saw Liverpool avoid a huge shock, however.

The big shock and the decision that surprised Crooks came when Cooper named his team. He decided to leave the top goalscorer Brennan Johnson on the bench and that comes with intrigue.

You have to go back to a 5-0 defeat away at Arsenal for the last time Johnson didn’t start in the Premier League for Forest. That game was in October and he’s otherwise been instrumental this season.

Crooks told BBC Sport: “Nobody expected Nottingham Forest to go and win at Anfield, least of all Steve Cooper, who left his leading goalscorer Brennan Johnson on the bench which was a pity really.

“With Johnson in their starting line-up, alongside Taiwo Awoniyi, Forest might have come away with something. Forest might be in the bottom three and staring at relegation but their second-half performance suggests that if they go down, they won’t go quietly.”

Forest boss Cooper disappointed Crooks

It perhaps was a strange move by Cooper to drop Johnson for the clash with Liverpool. Of late, he’s not been at his brilliant best and for a lot of the game, it looked like an inspired decision.

Johnson almost snatched a late equaliser for the Reds. He came off the bench and struck the bar after doing everything right by looping the ball over the advancing Alisson.

Crooks Cooper
Photo; Jon Hobley; MI News; NurPhoto; Getty Images

Forest now have three huge games on the horizon. They face Brighton and Southampton at the City Ground, with a trip to Brentford wedged in between at the weekend.

Crooks is right to question Cooper’s call. Hopefully, however, Johnson can be fully fit and raring to go when Brighton arrive at the City Ground on Wednesday night.

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