After a very good run of results recently was ended by that draw at Luton, fans might have hoped for a bounceback performance in Toulouse. Not so, as Liverpool were dismal and suffered a 3-2 defeat in the Europa League.
Toulouse 3-2 Liverpool
Europa League group stage, Municipal Stadium
Thursday 9 November, 2023
Goals: Donnum 35′, Dallinga 57′, Magri 75′; Casseres OG 73′, Jota 89′
Caoimhin Kelleher – 4 (out of 10)
Hasn’t really had the best of starts to the season in the few games he’s been able to start. Beaten by the first real effort on goal, albeit via a deflection. Didn’t have much to do before that.
Made one save at the start of the second half and then had no chance at the near post by a strike which was ruled out; beaten at the far post by a fine low effort before the hour mark which wasn’t.
Another disallowed strike flew past him very centrally and he didn’t get anywhere near enough on a tip-away for the third; sure, Kelleher was left exposed on the night but his shot-stopping was very much not on show tonight.
Joe Gomez – 6 (Man of the Match)
Skipper on the night and very nearly his first-ever Liverpool goal – in fact, his first-ever goal for anyone in senior football! A flicked header grazed the crossbar early on.
Defensively he was tight, making one great sprint back to intercept a runner and a couple of very strong one-on-one challenges. Moved left-back second half and had a few nice deliveries, runs down the flank and defensive battles, but too few matches his intent.
Assisted the own goal with a header to the far post.
Joel Matip – 4
Didn’t have too much to do but was found a bit wanting when a first-half cross was met at the far post – the shot was slid just wide. Clearly tripped for the “second” goal which was ruled out correctly, then elbowed in the face a minute later.
Perhaps that affected him for the second goal? He just opted to stand and watch the striker free in the box until it was far too late, in any case.
Jarell Quansah – 5
Very composed, very impressive, very deliberate about his passing. But this time he had more defensive work to do and it wasn’t all perfect.
Of course, he’ll make a few errors with his defensive choices as a youngster and perhaps not closing down the shot quicker for the opening goal was one of them – it ended up flicking off him past Kelleher. Earlier he had clattered through one challenge poorly too, while for the second he was a yard deeper than he might have been and beaten on the line for the third.
A learning curve of a night – but also should have been a joyous one as he battered in his first goal and what would have been the very, very late equaliser before it being ruled out.
Kostas Tsimikas – 3
Not the most refined character is he? Naturally it’s tough to be on top form without a run of games, but he should be getting that now with Robertson out and he’s not exactly showing he’s a must-have in the team.
His error cost the goal, losing possession in his own half with no defence behind him. Subbed at the interval and there will be a question over him starting at the weekend in the league once more.
The Greek Alberto Moreno.
Wataru Endo – 4
Didn’t really get to control matters an awful lot – most of his passing was passive, short and sideways, handing on too much responsibility at times.
Booked for an over-stretch which stamped somewhat on his opponent’s foot; gave another foul away shortly before half time that he could have subsequently walked for.
Won none of his four ground duels.
Given this could be seen as an audition for starting him at home to Brentford at the weekend with Alexis suspended, Endo didn’t exactly pass with flying colours. Subbed at the break.
Harvey Elliott – 6
Energetic, full of movement and trying to get involved in the Reds’ build-up play, but never really with too much incision or end product. One curled shot was headed away inside the six-yard box.
Tempted to bump up his rating for actually working hard and trying, where others did not appear to bother, but ultimately he just wasn’t able to be very good.
Alexis Mac Allister – 5
Given a more attack-minded role than usual but didn’t exactly dictate or create in the way we’d have hoped for.
Back into his No.6 role for the second 45′ and saw one shot deflected just wide but again didn’t really bring much in the way of defensive sturdiness or attacking invention.
Won just two of his eleven duels in the match.
Luis Diaz – 5
Must have been fired up, relieved and raging at the same time, given the news about his father’s release shortly before kick-off. Says a lot about his strength of mind that he opted to play.
Adopted a bit of a shoot on sight policy first half but showed his dribbling and tenacity at times too, while second half he was kept on the fringes by both Toulouse’s aggressive approach and the Reds’ inability to do much of anything.
Cody Gakpo – 4
Struggled to really impose himself on matters first half, outside of a lovely clipped free-kick for Gomez’s effort.
Attempted a couple of dribbles from time to time but they amounted to nothing of use and he was reduced to being a bit of a target man who didn’t hold much up.
Is he really a centre-foward?
Ben Doak – 5
Almost scored with a fierce half-volley but it was straight at the ‘keeper.
Didn’t really have too much else going for him on a night when the Reds played too slowly; a couple of dribbles momentarily looked interesting but ultimately led him down blind alleys.
Another learning curve for the teenager who has somewhat harshly hooked at half time.
Mohamed Salah (on for Doak, 46′) – 5 – Clattered on the head, did nothing else in an attacking sense really.
Trent Alexander-Arnold (on for Tsimikas, 46′) – 4 – Had to race back straight after coming on to thwart a big chance. Too slow for the third. Terrible set-pieces.
Darwin Nunez (on for Gakpo, 72′) – 5 – Did little.
Diogo Jota (on for Diaz, 80′) – 7 – Came on, took on three, scored with a lovely finish.
Subs not used: Alisson, Mrozek, Konate, Chambers, Scanlon, McConnell, Gordon
Jurgen Klopp – 6
A fairly routine night for the boss in terms of lineup, with the only usual senior starters being Alexis – who is suspended at the weekend – and Diaz – who hasn’t played much of late obviously.
He wouldn’t have been too impressed by a first half which was slow, one-paced, lacking much counter-pressing and very sloppy around the middle third of the pitch at times.
And once the Reds fell behind, it was absolutely certain changes would be made: a treble sub to bring Salah, Szoboszlai and Alexander-Arnold on told everything we needed to know about Klopp’s displeasure and wanting to get the job done.
Ultimately, Liverpool lost and played dreadfully, but is that Klopp’s fault on this occasion? Not really – the players let themselves down an awful lot with a performance which didn’t get started until injury time and left themselves feeling aggrieved when a single officiating call went against them.