2RWXXWW Toulouse's Thijs Dallinga, center right, celebrates with teammates after scoring his sides first goal during the Europa League Group E soccer match between Union St. Gilloise and Toulouse at the Anderlecht stadium in Brussels, Thursday, Sept. 21, 2023. (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert)

10th-placed Toulouse prepare for “sacred experience” at Anfield with 5th draw in 8

Toulouse can now turn their attention to the “sacred experience” of visiting Anfield following their latest Ligue 1 clash on Sunday afternoon.

The Reds will embark on the third of their six Europa League Group E fixtures on Thursday night at Anfield when the French side will visit for the first time since 2007.

Toulouse finished 13th in Ligue 1 last season but were able to qualify for Europe thanks to their victory in last season’s Coupe de France.

Manager Carles Martinez Novell’s side currently sit 10th in the table having won two and lost two of their opening nine games so far in 2023/24, with five draws coming in the last eight league matches.

Toulouse, France - Wednesday, August 15, 2007: Liverpool take on Toulouse during the UEFA Champions League 3rd Qualifying 1st Leg match at the Stadium Municipal. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The trip to Anfield represents a significant occasion for the club – who haven’t featured in European competition since 2009 – but Novell refused to let his players’ minds wander to Liverpool until domestic business was taken care of.

Speaking ahead of his side’s 1-1 draw with Reims, the Toulouse boss insisted in his press conference – as quoted by Les Violets – that he “didn’t talk about Liverpool to the group at all” as focus has been kept on Ligue 1 matters.

Novell did describe the upcoming fixture as a “sacred experience” for his team but added: “I am sure that this Sunday, our supporters will push us to beat Reims. Liverpool will be another challenge.”

That particular game saw his side pick up a point at home to Reims, with Amir Richardson opening the scoring for the visitors shortly after the break before Toulouse forward Thijs Dallinga levelled the scoring just three minutes later.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Thursday, October 5, 2023: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp applauds the supporters after the UEFA Europa League Group E matchday 2 game between Liverpool FC and Union SG at Anfield. Liverpool won 2-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Novell made six changes to the side that conceded a stoppage-time equaliser away to Brest before the international break, which might suggest that the manager had more of an eye on Liverpool than he was willing to admit!

Goalscorer Dallinga replaced Frank Magri at the top of the pitch, with the latter currently his side’s top scorer this season with three goals from the first nine games of the campaign.

The result leaves Les TFC right in the middle of the Ligue 1 table and means they have won just one of their last six fixtures in the league having opened the campaign with a win away at Nantes.

Toulouse currently sit second in Group E of the Europa League having drawn away at Union SG and beaten LASK at home but face the tough prospect of a double-header with Liverpool across the coming weeks.

Toulouse XI vs. Reims: Restes; Desler, Costa, Nicolaisen, Suazo (Diarra 76′); Sierro; Donnum (Bangre 66′), Schmidt, Casseres (Genreau 89′), Gelabert (Magri 66′); Dallinga (Begraoui 76′)

Subs not used: Kamanzi, Skytta, Keben, Dominguez