Liverpool defeated French side, Toulouse 5-1 at Anfield, solidifying their lead in Group E.
The standout performer of the night was Ryan Gravenberch, whose prowess on the field led Liverpool to their third consecutive win in the competition, creating a commanding five-point lead at the top. Gravenberch’s magnificent strike, 25 minutes from the final whistle, marked Liverpool’s fourth goal of the evening, a moment that followed Darwin Nunez’s unforgettable miss.
Diogo Jota initiated the scoring just nine minutes into the game with a brilliant solo run, but Toulouse swiftly retaliated, equalizing through Thijs Dallinga five minutes later. Wataru Endo then notched his maiden goal for Liverpool, reclaiming the lead, while Nunez added a third before halftime. Mohamed Salah contributed a fifth goal during stoppage time.
With a looming clash against Toulouse in France on November 9, Liverpool could secure their progression to the next round of the Europa League with another triumph. If second-place Union SG, the Belgian club partly owned by Brighton chairman Tony Bloom, were to stumble, Liverpool’s top spot would be confirmed.
Liverpool entered the match aware that a victory would put them tantalizingly close to the Europa League knockout rounds. However, they encountered an ambitious Toulouse side, whose ownership by RedBird Capital also made them minority shareholders in the Merseyside club.
Jurgen Klopp’s team had comfortably triumphed in their previous two games against LASK Linz and Union SG to lead the group but seemed somewhat lackadaisical in the early stages. Meaningful opportunities were scarce until Jota displayed an individual moment of brilliance.
Liverpool made eight changes from their recent win against Everton, including 19-year-old academy product Luke Chambers making his first start. Trent Alexander-Arnold, alongside Ryan Gravenberch and Diogo Jota, was among the few retaining their spots from the Merseyside derby.
Jota, the Portuguese international, carved through Toulouse’s defense, nutmegging Logan Costa before delivering a composed finish that sent Anfield into a frenzy. Nevertheless, complacency crept in after taking the lead.
Toulouse exploited a swift counterattack, breaking Liverpool’s high line. Captain Trent Alexander-Arnold inadvertently played Dallinga onside, allowing the Toulouse forward to speed through on goal and emphatically score past deputy goalkeeper Caohmin Kelleher after 16 minutes.
Klopp’s squad had a brief wobble, but Endo’s first goal for Liverpool, a header following Alexander-Arnold’s cross from a corner, set them back on track after half an hour. Nunez, who had not scored in four games for Liverpool, then hammered in their third, asserting the hosts’ control.
Kelleher almost handed Toulouse an opportunity to claw back into the game with a wayward pass, but Gabriel Suazo’s shot went straight to Alexander-Arnold, preventing an almost certain goal. Nunez then spared Suazo’s blushes with an even more embarrassing moment, hitting the post with an open goal as he rounded Toulouse’s teenage goalkeeper Guillaume Restes. Gravenberch capitalized on the rebound, scoring with ease, underlining Nunez’s blunder. Salah sealed the victory late in the game, leaving Liverpool on the brink of qualification.
In his post-match comments, Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp praised the standout performances of Gravenberch and Endo. Klopp noted Gravenberch’s exceptional first touch and acceleration with the ball, emphasizing his potential for further improvement. He also commended Endo’s goal-scoring ability, his performance, and his ability to break lines with his passing, viewing it as a significant step forward for the player.