In pictures: Liverpool v Toulouse
Liverpool overcame a brief scare to keep their perfect Europa League record intact after a 5-1 victory over Toulouse at Anfield on Thursday night. Jurgen Klopp made eight changes from their Merseyside derby victory over Everton at the weekend as he handed minutes to some underused players in his squad and the German would have been delighted with the performance and result, with several players making an impression.
Diogo Jota opened the scoring in some style, taking the ball through the middle about 30 yards out and nutmegging a defender before slotting underneath the teenage goalkeeper Guillaume Restes. But Liverpool weren’t going to have it all their own way after being carved open by a wonderful move from the French side, which was finished off by Thijs Dalling after he sprung the offside trap.
Wataru Endo restored the hosts’ lead with a sumptuous header on the half-hour mark and Darwin Nunez thundered home an unstoppable effort from close range to give them some breathing space. The excellent Ryan Gravenberch tucked home a fourth after Nunez was guilty of missing a gilt-edged chance and Mohamed Salah scored a late fifth, as Klopp’s men cruised to a convincing win.
Express Sport analyses how Klopp’s Liverpool stars performed after their narrow Europa League victory…
Caoimhin Kelleher – 6
The Irishman may feel disappointed with how Dallinga managed to squeeze the ball underneath him, but in truth, his defence’s poorly-executed high line let him down. Little to do otherwise after being handed a rare start by Klopp.
Trent Alexander-Arnold – 7
The obvious choice for the captaincy with Van Dijk on the bench and the right-back led by example, showing an eagerness to take charge of the ball. Toulouse’s setup suffocated the space in which he usually thrives, though, limiting his influence going forward, but his cross for Endo was straight out of the Trent playbook.
Joel Matip – 6
The Cameroonian left Dalinga completely on his own as he stepped up belatedly and was punished for his mistake. How many more errors can the Reds afford before Klopp replaces him?
Joe Gomez – 6
Deployed in the Van Dijk role, this was a match where the versatile defender flew under the radar but he tried some long balls forward from the back.
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Luke Chambers – 6
A big night for the youngster, and it looked as if it may have arrived too soon. His slight lapse in concentration allowed Toulouse to piece together a brilliant three-pass move to level the score, but the 19-year-old quickly moved on from it and coped well on his first senior start.
RYAN GRAVENBERCH – 9 (Man of the match)
What an outstanding performance. From the first minute, the Dutchman looked every bit of a wonderkid that he promised to be in his early days at Ajax, showing a velvet first touch and brilliant dribbling for a player of his height. Showed a cool head to grab his deserved goal – and it’s pretty clear now that Klopp has found his new Gini Wijnaldum.
Wataru Endo – 8
The Japanese hasn’t had many chances to impress but there was something delightful in how Endo – one of the smallest men on the pitch – glanced home from Alexander-Arnold’s cross to put Liverpool back in front. Bossed the midfield at times with a confidence-boosting display.
Curtis Jones – 6
Produced a nice run and shot, which trickled rather fortuitously into Nunez’s path. Once again showed he is prepared to make things happen in the midfield three and showed some neat touches, but his suspension isn’t the only reason Dominik Szoboszlai’s place won’t be under threat on Sunday.
Harvey Elliott – 5
A missed opportunity for the youngster after a quiet evening. As an inside forward, he struggled to get involved and not even Elliott seems to know what his best position is anymore after playing as a midfielder for so long. Booked for a high challenge.
Darwin Nunez – 7
The Uruguayan often tries to make chances himself rather than get end on the end of them – and that’s half the problem. When he moved himself into the box in a position to feed upon any scraps, the £85m striker was in the right place to lash home from close range for his fifth goal of the season. Unfortunately, his open goal miss proves why Klopp still isn’t 100 per cent convinced about him.
Diogo Jota – 8
A beautifully-taken goal from the Portuguese as he glided past two defenders and finished with aplomb to give the Reds the lead early on. Overall, he was lively on the left-side of the front three – and it was certainly good enough to give Klopp something to think about before their clash with Nottingham Forest on Sunday.
Jarell Quansah (on 65) – 6
The defender is clearly on the cusp of the first team and looked tidy in possession.
Calum Scanlon (on 65) – 6
The 18-year-old, the 85th player to make his debut under Klopp, didn’t put a foot wrong.
Cody Gakpo (on 65) – 5
Looked a bit rusty after his injury, which is understandable.
Mohamed Salah (on 69) – 7
Klopp’s decision to bring him on at 4-1 was a strange one given the risk of injury, but the Egyptian delivered a goal in injury time.
James McConnell (on 87) N/A
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