Liverpool knew a win at Toulouse would secure their place in the Europa League knockouts, and another result going their way would secure a last 16 berth – but they didn’t hold up their end of the bargain.
After games against each club in Group E, Liverpool were nine points from nine and top of their group at the halfway stage.
If Liverpool won in Toulouse and Union SG dropped points against LASK, the Reds’ place in the last 16 would have been confirmed with two games to spare.
The latter was achieved with LASK winning 3-0, but Liverpool holding up their end of the bargain proved significantly harder than first thought after losing 3-2.
Klopp even had to call upon Trent Alexander-Arnold, Dominik Szoboszlai and Mo Salah at half-time to try and get the Reds going, something he should not have required against a relegation-threatened side.
A win would have ensured they finished as group leaders with time to spare – with two games left in the group stages and both to be played during an intense schedule, there was no shying away from how important a win in France was.
The ability to rotate and subsequently rest the first-choice XI cannot be understated. and while Klopp will continue to do so, it would have been without any jeopardy in the final games had they won here.
At the end of matchday four, Liverpool do still sit top of Group E with nine points, two ahead of Toulouse as they look to avoid the round of 32 and head straight for the last 16.
The Reds can only confirm their place as group winners if they beat LASK on November 30 and Toulouse fail to win against Union SG – if the French side win they will take the group to the last match.