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Toulouse vs. Liverpool: 10 key things to know – with a win securing knockouts

In Jurgen Klopp‘s 450th game in charge, Liverpool can secure their place in the knockout stages of the Europa League with a second victory over Toulouse.

Toulouse vs. Liverpool

Europa League Group Stage (4) | Stadium de Toulouse
November 9, 2023 | 5.45pm (GMT)


The Reds are in France for their fourth group game of the Europa League campaign, just two weeks after they first dispatched Toulouse to the tune of 5-1.

Klopp’s men head into the match after a disappointing draw at Luton, but they will not be short on motivation on Thursday evening.

Here’s all you need to know ahead of match at Toulouse.

 

1. Jones, Gravenberch and Van Dijk not available

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, October 25, 2023: Liverpool's Curtis Jones during a press conference at Anfield ahead of the UEFA Europa League Group E matchday 3 game between Liverpool FC and Toulouse FC. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Curtis Jones missed out on the trip to Luton with a minor hamstring issue that the club did not want to take any risks with and he will be out until after the Brentford game on Sunday.

Ryan Gravenberch is also a notable absentee with a slight knee issue, leaving Klopp with a decision to make on the left of midfield.

Virgil van Dijk, meanwhile, is ill and remains on Merseyside. Luis Diaz has travelled with the team.

Andy Robertson, Thiago and Stefan Bajcetic all remain sidelined with their respective long-term injuries.

 

2. A win guarantees knockout football

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Thursday, October 5, 2023: Liverpool's Ryan Gravenberch (C) celebrates with team-mates after scoring the opening goal during the UEFA Europa League Group E matchday 2 game between Liverpool FC and Union SG at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The permutations are simple for Liverpool, win and they qualify for the knockout stages with two games to spare.

And if Union SG fail to be LASK in the other group game, the Reds will automatically finish as group winners and thus avoid the knockout play-off round in February.

Sealing qualification here would give the team needed breathing space during a busy run of fixtures on their return from the November international break. Let’s hope they do it the easy way this time!

 

3. Not smooth sailing for the hosts

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Thursday, October 26, 2023: Liverpool's captain Mohamed Salah (L) is challenged by Toulouse's Rasmus Nicolaisen during the UEFA Europa League Group E matchday 3 game between Liverpool FC and Toulouse FC at Anfield. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Since facing the Reds two weeks ago, Toulouse have lost both of their games played – losing by an aggregate score of 5-1 – to extend their run without a victory to five.

Their last win, in fact, came against LASK in the second group game of this competition, and the 1-0 win was also the last time they kept a clean sheet.

So, plenty of opportunity for Liverpool against the French side, who will be expected to deploy a 4-3-3 system against the Reds after utilising a back five at Anfield.

Possible Toulouse XI: Restes; Desler, Diarra, Nicolaisen, Suazo; Sierro, Spierings, Casseres Jr; Donnum, Dallinga, Magri

 

4. Advice for travelling fans

This is the first visit to Toulouse since 2007 and the trip promises to be one to look forward to for travelling Reds and we have some advice for those making the trip.

“I am confident that the home fans will behave perfectly with us and that it’s going be a big party of people celebrating European football,” Nicolas Souyris, a Toulouse-based Red, told This Is Anfield.

When looking for a place to hole up pre and post-match, St Cyprien, Esquirol, Capitole, la Daurade, Jean Jaures, Jeanne d’Arc, Palais de Justice, Carmes and François Verdier are your best options.

Toulouse’s stadium holds 33,150 and promises to be quite the atmosphere.

A local’s guide to Toulouse: Travel tips for Liverpool fans – and why it’s ‘not like Paris’

 

5. It’s an early start

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Thursday, October 26, 2023: Toulouse supporters set of pyro during the UEFA Europa League Group E matchday 3 game between Liverpool FC and Toulouse FC at Anfield. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

We are used to late kick-offs during the week, but do not fall into the trap of thinking this match is an 8pm start, it actually gets underway at 5.45pm (GMT).

It is the case for all our away games in the group stage and is a nice change from the usual routine.

Let’s hope this one ends with the same result as the first away trip in Europe this season, it would allow for a lot of flexibility for the final two games!

 

6. 10 more changes for the Reds?

Another midweek game makes for more rotation for Klopp, who could retain just one player from the draw at Luton.

With Alexis Mac Allister suspended for Sunday’s match against Brentford, and with knocks for others who can take up the position, he is the likeliest option for the left-sided midfield role.

Wataru Endo may be required on the weekend but he ought to get minutes in Toulouse alongside Harvey Elliott, who has started every game in this competition so far.

As Ben Doak is back to fitness, he can give Mo Salah a break and join Cody Gakpo and Diaz in the starting lineup, so long as the latter feels comfortable enough to do so.

Possible Reds XI: Kelleher; Gomez, Matip, Quansah, Tsimikas; Endo, Elliott, Mac Allister; Doak, Gakpo, Diaz

 

7. A club record on the line

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)

In what will be Klopp’s 450th game in charge of Liverpool, his team have the chance to set a new club record.

If his team win, they will have the most points amassed in a Europa League group stage in the club’s history – surpassing the 10 points achieved in 2010/11, 2012/13 and 2015/16.

In each of those campaigns, the Reds finished top of their group – though they will want to follow in the footsteps of 2015/16 having been the only campaign of the three to be in the final.

 

8. 3 already over 1,000 minutes

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, October 29, 2023: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp (L) and Dominik Szoboszlai after the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Nottingham Forest FC at Anfield. Liverpool won 3-0. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

With Salah, Dominik Szoboszlai and Alisson all surpassing 1,000 minutes for Liverpool already, you do not want to see them anywhere near the starting lineup on this occasion.

They are the type of players who want to play every game, but this is where careful management is needed and Liverpool should be able to get the job done without needing to call on the trio.

Salah (1,128 minutes), Szoboszlai, (1,107) and Alisson (1,080) are the only players to rack up over 1,000 minutes for the Reds so far this season and they are needed on Sunday more than they will be in Toulouse.

They have all travelled but let’s hope the Reds do not need them.

 

9. The man in the middle

SHEFFIELD, ENGLAND - Thursday, September 26, 2019: The assistant referee holds his flag out whilst wearing a Tag Heuer watch during the FA Premier League match between Sheffield United FC and Liverpool FC at Bramall Lane. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

We have a new referee to have a look at, with Georgi Kabakov, of Bulgaria, taking the reigns in the middle – he’s never been in charge of either Liverpool or Toulouse.

Though he has previously presided over games for Man United, Everton, Tottenham and West Ham in European competition.

We have enough referee talking points in the Premier League, let’s hope we keep it isolated to the league.

 

10. How you can follow the match

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Thursday, October 26, 2023: Toulouse supporters set off pro during the UEFA Europa League Group E matchday 3 game between Liverpool FC and Toulouse FC at Anfield. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Toulouse vs. Liverpool will be shown live on TNT Sports 1 in the UK, with coverage starting at 5pm ahead of the 5.45pm kick off.

But if you prefer some biased commentary, then our usual matchday live blog is the place to turn – Sam Millne is at the helm to keep you informed and entertained from 5pm.

Up the Reds!