Toulouse 3-2 Liverpool: Awful Reds in Europa horrow show

Liverpool produced a truly awful performance and suffered defeat to French side Toulouse in the Europa League.

Toulouse 3-2 Liverpool

Europa League (4), Stadium TFC
November 9, 2023


Donnum 36′
Dallinga 58′
Casseres 74′ (own goal)
Magri 76′
Jota 89′

For Toulouse, who are just one point above the relegation zone in Ligue 1, this was like a Cup final – similar to for Luton on Sunday. Again Liverpool failed to match the fight of their lesser opponents and Jurgen Klopp fumed on the sidelines.

Less than two hours before kick-off came confirmation that Luis Diaz‘s father had been successfully rescued safely, with Diaz being named in the starting XI shortly after for the first time since before his father’s kidnapping almost a fortnight ago.

In total there were nine changes from the draw at Luton, with Joe Gomez and Alexis Mac Allister the two remaining in the side – with the latter suspended for the visit of Brentford on Sunday.

Liverpool started with the majority of the ball and Joe Gomez almost got his first ever goal in his career, glancing a header onto the bar from a set piece in the fourth minute.

From there, the game lacked any energy and the home side took the lead on 36 minutes when Kostas Tsimikas dawdled on the ball and was disposessed by Aron Donnum, whose eventual shot deflected in for 1-0.

TOULOUSE, ENGLAND - Thursday, November 9, 2023: Liverpool's Kostas Tsimikas looks dejected as his mistake leads to Toulouse scoring the opening goal during the UEFA Europa League Group E match-day 4 game between Toulouse FC and Liverpool FC at the Stadium de Toulouse. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

It was the ninth time in 17 games this season that Liverpool had conceded first.

Liverpool offered little in attack, with the only other notable point of the half being Wataru Endo escaping a second yellow for another late challenge.

Half time: Toulouse 1-0 Liverpool

The poor showing in the first half resulted in a triple change at half time, replacing the pretty awful duo of Tsimikas and Endo, plus youngster Ben Doak.

On came the big guns; Trent Alexander-Arnold, Dominik Szoboszlai and Mo Salah.

The hosts should have doubled their lead two minutes after the restart but Mikkel Desler hooked his shot wide.

They did have the ball in the net two minutes later though, Thijs Dallinga firing past Kelleher, but the referee adjudging him to have fouled Joel Matip.

Ten minutes later and Dallinga did have his goal, receiving, turning and firing across goal into the bottom corner. Superb finish, 2-0.

Toulouse had another goal disallowed midway through the half; Liverpool were easily bullied, lacked intensity and produced nothing in attack.

TOULOUSE, FRANCE - Thursday, November 9, 2023: Liverpool's Mohamed Salah looks dejected as Toulouse score the second goal during the UEFA Europa League Group E match-day 4 game between Toulouse FC and Liverpool FC at the Stadium de Toulouse. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Darwin Nunez replaced the hugely ineffective Cody Gakpo with 20 minutes to go.

Liverpool got one back when Alexander-Arnold’s cross-field pass was headed back across goal by Gomez and turned back into his own goal by a Toulouse defender.

Within a minute, though, Toulouse restored their two-goal lead. Frank Magri finished at the back post. Embarrassing stuff from Liverpool.

This was the exact same Toulouse side that lost 5-1 at Anfield a fortnight ago.

Liverpool got their second when another sub, Diogo Jota, had a lovely very Jota-like run and finished calmly into the bottom corner in the 89th minute. It was the type of composure that had been missing in red all night.

Then, in the seventh minute of stoppage time, Jarell Quansah thought he’d hit an equaliser, but somehow, eventually the goal was disallowed for a handball earlier in the move by Alexis Mac Allister. A truly stupid decision via VAR yet again.

Liverpool would have secured qualification and possibly even won their group with a win, but instead they showed many of the worrying signs that plagued last season and led to them being in this competition in the first place.

Far from good enough, and much improvement is needed on Sunday against Brentford, with Man City to follow after the international break.

TIA Man of the Match: Harvey Elliott

Referee: Georgi Kabakov

Toulouse: Restes; Nicolaisen, Desler, Costa, Sierro, Suazo, Schmidt, Diarra, Casseres, Dallinga, Donnum

Subs: Dominguez, Lacome, Cissoko, Cesar, Kamanzi, Mawissa, Begraoui, Magri, Bangre, Keben

Liverpool: Kelleher; Gomez, Matip, Quansah, Tsimikas (Alexander-Arnold 46′); Endo (Szoboszlai 46′), Elliott, Mac Allister; Doak (Salah 46′), Diaz (Jota 81′), Gakpo (Nunez 73′)

Subs not used: Alisson, Mrozek, Konate, Chambers, Scanlon, McConnell, Gordon

Next Match: Brentford (home, Sunday 12 November)