Liverpool produced a truly awful performance and suffered defeat to French side Toulouse in the Europa League.
Toulouse 3-2 Liverpool
Europa League (4), Stadium TFC
November 9, 2023
Casseres 74′ (own goal)
For Toulouse, who are just one point above the relegation zone in Ligue 1, this was like a Cup final – similar to for Luton on Sunday. Again Liverpool failed to match the fight of their lesser opponents and Jurgen Klopp fumed on the sidelines.
Less than two hours before kick-off came confirmation that Luis Diaz‘s father had been successfully rescued safely, with Diaz being named in the starting XI shortly after for the first time since before his father’s kidnapping almost a fortnight ago.
Liverpool started with the majority of the ball and Joe Gomez almost got his first ever goal in his career, glancing a header onto the bar from a set piece in the fourth minute.
From there, the game lacked any energy and the home side took the lead on 36 minutes when Kostas Tsimikas dawdled on the ball and was disposessed by Aron Donnum, whose eventual shot deflected in for 1-0.
It was the ninth time in 17 games this season that Liverpool had conceded first.
Liverpool offered little in attack, with the only other notable point of the half being Wataru Endo escaping a second yellow for another late challenge.
Half time: Toulouse 1-0 Liverpool
The poor showing in the first half resulted in a triple change at half time, replacing the pretty awful duo of Tsimikas and Endo, plus youngster Ben Doak.
The hosts should have doubled their lead two minutes after the restart but Mikkel Desler hooked his shot wide.
They did have the ball in the net two minutes later though, Thijs Dallinga firing past Kelleher, but the referee adjudging him to have fouled Joel Matip.
Ten minutes later and Dallinga did have his goal, receiving, turning and firing across goal into the bottom corner. Superb finish, 2-0.
Toulouse had another goal disallowed midway through the half; Liverpool were easily bullied, lacked intensity and produced nothing in attack.
Liverpool got one back when Alexander-Arnold’s cross-field pass was headed back across goal by Gomez and turned back into his own goal by a Toulouse defender.
Within a minute, though, Toulouse restored their two-goal lead. Frank Magri finished at the back post. Embarrassing stuff from Liverpool.
This was the exact same Toulouse side that lost 5-1 at Anfield a fortnight ago.
Liverpool got their second when another sub, Diogo Jota, had a lovely very Jota-like run and finished calmly into the bottom corner in the 89th minute. It was the type of composure that had been missing in red all night.
Then, in the seventh minute of stoppage time, Jarell Quansah thought he’d hit an equaliser, but somehow, eventually the goal was disallowed for a handball earlier in the move by Alexis Mac Allister. A truly stupid decision via VAR yet again.
Liverpool would have secured qualification and possibly even won their group with a win, but instead they showed many of the worrying signs that plagued last season and led to them being in this competition in the first place.
TIA Man of the Match: Harvey Elliott
Referee: Georgi Kabakov
Toulouse: Restes; Nicolaisen, Desler, Costa, Sierro, Suazo, Schmidt, Diarra, Casseres, Dallinga, Donnum
Subs: Dominguez, Lacome, Cissoko, Cesar, Kamanzi, Mawissa, Begraoui, Magri, Bangre, Keben
Liverpool: Kelleher; Gomez, Matip, Quansah, Tsimikas (Alexander-Arnold 46′); Endo (Szoboszlai 46′), Elliott, Mac Allister; Doak (Salah 46′), Diaz (Jota 81′), Gakpo (Nunez 73′)
Subs not used: Alisson, Mrozek, Konate, Chambers, Scanlon, McConnell, Gordon
Next Match: Brentford (home, Sunday 12 November)