On Thursday night, Liverpool further solidified their standing in the UEFA Europa League’s knockout phase with a resounding 4-1 triumph over the French side Toulouse.
Diogo Jota kicked things off with a goal at Anfield, and although Thjis Delinga responded with a spirited run for Toulouse, which was a sign of the competitive spirit brought by Toulouse, Liverpool took a strong lead before half-time with a first goal from Vatru Endo and another from Darwin Nunez.
The standout player of the match, Ryan Gravenberch, later added icing on the cake with a superb strike.
In stoppage time, Liverpool’s standout player, Mohamed Salah, added to his tally with his fifth goal for the team.
Here’s how the game unfolded:
Liverpool Takes an Early Lead:
Liverpool wasted very little time taking the lead, with Jota breaking through the challenges within the first 10 minutes, calmly finding the bottom left corner. The Reds continued to press heavily, and Darwin Nunez’s goal before half-time gave Jurgen Klopp’s team a comfortable advantage.
As the match progressed:
During the opening half, Toulouse encountered difficulty leaving their mark, but their determination shone through following the second goal they conceded. Liverpool’s captain, Con Keleher, saved Toulouse from equalizing when he aimed his shot towards the goalpost, but it went wide.
Toulouse didn’t mount a significant threat until the second half, and Liverpool’s defense, with Alexander-Arnold in particular, held strong.
Toulouse had an opportunity to level the score, but Trent Alexander-Arnold made a brave attempt to thwart it, and Toulouse’s goalkeeper successfully kept it from turning into a goal.
Liverpool’s Dominance Continues:
Liverpool didn’t take long in the second half to extend their lead. Curtis Jones spotted an opening and passed it to Alexander-Arnold instead of aiming for a small corner. Toulouse’s goalkeeper faced little pressure from Liverpool, allowing the captain to head it in with a cross.
Not much time passed before Liverpool scored their third goal. Jones’ attempt turned into a high shot with his left foot, and Uruguayan forward Nunez was there to tap it in with his left foot. Gravenberch turned the situation into a possible goal with a driving forward run.
Toulouse’s Fight Back:
Toulouse showed some signs of life in the latter part of the first half. However, due to several gaps and misplaced passes, they failed to create a real threat. Nevertheless, Liverpool’s goalkeeper Alisson Becker had to express gratitude to Alexander-Arnold for stopping Gabriel Suazo’s shot on the goal line.
With pressure building in the fourth quarter, Gravenberch forced Restes to make a remarkable save. Endo was also willing to advance and saw that his own attempt was only a fraction away from being a goal. Restes once again denied an excellent Gravenberch.
Salah Seals the Victory:
Salah added the fifth score for Liverpool, with his shot from outside the penalty area finding the back of the net, securing Liverpool’s triumph.
Player Ratings (4-3-3):
Goalkeeper: Caoimhin Kelleher – 5/10 – Had very little to do, allowing Toulouse to come back into the game.
Captain: Trent Alexander-Arnold (C) – 7/10 – Toulouse equalized for a while, but he scored a crucial goal for Liverpool and made a miraculous goal-line block later.
Centre-Back: Joao Gomez – 6/10 – Liverpool maintained strong control of the ball and displayed a solid defensive performance. However, not completely assured from the team’s side defensively.
Player Ratings (4-3-3):
Centre-Back: Joel Matip – 6/10
Once again, there were many balls at his feet, but they lacked solidity, and he gave Toulouse plenty of chances.
Left-Back: Luke Chambers – 5/10
A solid start, but a challenging night for the young player.
Central Midfield: Curtis Jones – 8/10
Creatively pulled the strings and created several opportunities.
Central Midfield: Vatru Endo – 8/10
Since becoming a part of the club, he has consistently displayed tremendous dedication and undoubtedly showcased his finest performance.
Central Midfield: Ryan Gravenberch – 9/10
Another all-action Europa League performance. Created the third goal with his driving run and ensured Liverpool remained in control. Deserved his goal.
Right-Wing: Diogo Jota – 7/10
A fantastic start and broke the deadlock early on.
Striker: Darwin Nunez – 7/10
Clinical with his goal, but missed some easier chances in the second half. At least Gravenberch made a rebound, and he could have laughed it off.
Left-Wing: Harvey Elliott – 6/10
Made it difficult to have the same impact as some of his attacking partners.