Toulouse hoped to end a run of 5 games without a win in all competitions as they hosted Liverpool in the UEFA Europa League. The travelling Reds were also hoping to return to winning ways following a frustrating 1-1 draw with newly promoted Luton Town in the Premier League. The two clubs faced each other last time out in the Europa League with Liverpool winning the reverse fixture 5-1 at Anfield.
Joe Gomez almost provided the first goal of the game, and his career, in the opening three minutes of the game. The England international blindly headed Cody Gakpo’s cross from a free kick onto the crossbar. Mac Allister then had a good chance on the volley, following a cleared cross, but his effort took a wicked deflection via Logan Costa and went out for a corner.
Suazo had Toulouse’s first real chance of the game on the counter as Schmidt’s cross found him alone in the penalty area, but the Chilean couldn’t make any true contact with the ball to beat Kelleher. Doak then had a chance to score his first senior goal as Restes made a mess of a high ball, but the volley from the youngster was straight at the France U21 international.
It would be the hosts who scored the opener though as Aron Dønnum capitalised on a Kostas Tsimikas mistake to run in behind the Liverpool defence and put the ball beyond Kelleher with the aid of a deflection from Jarrell Quansah. This goal in the 36th minute was enough to deservedly send Martínez Novell’s side into the break in front.
Jurgen Klopp, unhappy with what he saw in the first half, made three changes at half-time with Mohamed Salah, Dominik Szoboszlai and Trent Alexander-Arnold replacing Wataru Endo, Kostas Tsimikas and Ben Doak.
Gabriel Suazo had a glorious opportunity in the early stages of the second half as Dallinga got in behind and laid the ball off to the Chilean international but his shot was sliced wide. Thijs Dallinga had thought he had doubled Toulouse’s lead but he was adjudged to have fouled Joël Matip before putting the ball in the back of the net. The hosts continued to be the more dangerous of the two sides.
Dallinga finally had his goal with an emphatic touch and finish from Sierro’s cross which left Kelleher helpless in Liverpool’s goal. The Dutch striker doubled Toulouse’s lead to leave Les Violets 30 minutes away from a historic victory in Europe. Despite three changes at the break, Jurgen Klopp’s men were under immense pressure and looked unable to gain any foothold in the game.
The counter-attacking from Toulouse was exemplary in the second half and it almost resulted in a third goal with Dallinga applying the finish, but the offside flag saved Liverpool from further embarrassment. Liverpool found a break in the game from a Cásseres own goal. A massive stroke of luck for the Reds as Joe Gomez’s header was turned in by the Venezuela international unknowingly via his shoulder.
Liverpool’s hopes of getting a result from the game would then be quashed again as Suazo’s cut back was parried by Kelleher and smashed into the back of the net by Frank Magri. The substitute restored the hosts’ two-goal advantage. Diogo Jota reduced the advantage from the bench as he scored a brilliantly taken solo effort to make it 3-2.
Jarell Quansah had thought he had levelled the game in the last minute of stoppage time following a scramble in the box which was turned home by the young Liverpool centre-back. However, the goal was disallowed due to a handball from Alexis Mac Allister in the build-up to the goal. A somewhat potentially controversial call from the VAR, but it ensured that Toulouse managed a historic victory over the 6-time Champions League winners. It’s now 5 games since the Reds last won in France.
Toulouse player ratings:
Guillaume Restes – 6
Logan Costa – 6
Rasmus Nicolaisen – 6
Moussa Diarra – 6
Gabriel Suazo – 7, The Chilean international was a constant threat in forward areas and found himself free in the box on multiple occasions. He influenced the game in both phases of the game and had a major impact on a much-improved performance from Les Violets.
Vincent Sierro – 7
Cristian Cásseres – 5
Mikkel Desler – 6
Aron Dønnum – 7, The Norwegian punished Kostas Tsimikas to score the first goal of the game. He offered the extra presence in forward areas that Toulouse lacked in the reverse fixture at Anfield.
Thijs Dallinga – 8, The Dutch striker led the line brilliantly and showed his intelligence as he continued to find himself in behind the Liverpool defence. He capped off a superb performance with an expertly taken goal. On another night, Dallinga could have had a hat trick with two goals disallowed for offside.
Niklas Schmidt – 6
Liverpool player ratings:
Caiomhin Kelleher – 5
Joe Gomez – 6
Joël Matip – 6
Jarell Quansah – 6
Kostas Tsimikas – 4, The Greek international was at fault for Liverpool falling behind in the first half as he lost the ball as the last man in defence. He looked as though he struggled with the intensity of the game from the first minute and saw himself substituted at the break.
Wataru Endo – 4, The Japanese international was lucky to be on the pitch at the end of the first half following a challenge which probably should have resulted in a second yellow. He looked sluggish and was subbed at half-time.
Alexis Mac Allister – 5
Harvey Elliott – 6
Ben Doak – 5
Cody Gakpo – 5
Luis Díaz – 6
GFFN | Liam Wraith