SOUVENIR PROGRAMME

BRUSSELS, BELGIUM - Thursday, December 14, 2023: Liverpool's goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher looks dejected as Union SG score the opening goal during the UEFA Europa League Group E matchday 6 game between Royale Union Saint-Gilloise and Liverpool FC at the Constant Vanden Stock Stadium. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

USG 2-1 Liverpool: Rotated Reds defeated in match of irrelevance

A match that is recorded as a defeat for Liverpool, but it was not remotely noteworthy.

Union SG 2-1 Liverpool

Europa League (6), Lotto Park
December 14, 2023

Goals

Amoura 32′
Quansah 39′ (assist: Jones)
Puertas 43′


With the Europa League group already won, Jurgen Klopp rightly took the opportunity to rest key players and therefore named the Reds’ youngest ever side for a European match, with an average of 22.5 years.

In came youngsters Conor Bradley, Luke Chambers, Ben Doak and Kaide Gordon – the latter making his first appearance since January 2022.

It made for nine changes from the side that started at Crystal Palace, with Jarell Quansah and Wataru Endo the only ones remaining.

Endo, along with Ibrahima Konate, played only the first half as Klopp wisely used his squad.

With such a lineup, of course, Liverpool weren’t exactly fluid – and the poor pitch didn’t help things either.

The Belgians took the lead just after the half hour, although it looked very much like it was offside in the build up, despite VAR allowing the goal.

Liverpool equalised through a superb finish from Quansah off a corner shortly after, but the home side re-took the lead after stretching the Reds’ defence on the break and Cameron Puertas produced a superb finish to fire past Kelleher’s near post.

BRUSSELS, BELGIUM - Thursday, December 14, 2023: Liverpool's Jarell Quansah scores the first equalising goal during the UEFA Europa League Group E matchday 6 game between Royale Union Saint-Gilloise and Liverpool FC at the Constant Vanden Stock Stadium. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Half time: Union SG 2-1 Liverpool

Joe Gomez and Ryan Gravenberch replaced Konate and Endo at the break as Klopp ensured his key players remained as fresh as possible.

More pre-planned subs followed on the hour, with Calum Scanlon and Darwin Nunez replacing Chambers and Doak.

Puertas had the ball in the net for his second but that was disallowed for handball.

BRUSSELS, BELGIUM - Thursday, December 14, 2023: Liverpool players line-up for a team group photograph before the UEFA Europa League Group E matchday 6 game between Royale Union Saint-Gilloise and Liverpool FC at the Constant Vanden Stock Stadium. Back row L-R: Conor Bradley, Ibrahima Konaté, goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher, Jarell Quansah, Cody Gakpo, Curtis Jones. Front row L-R: Kaide Gordon, Luke Chambers, Ben Doak, 19', Wataru End?. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

James McConnell replaced Gordon for the final 15 minutes.

Ultimately, the result here mattered very, very little. The most important thing was no new injuries and some valuable European experience for several youngsters.

Little, too, should be read into individual performances in such a rotated side, played on an extremely poor pitch.

Liverpool’s European adventure continues in March with the last-16 ties. The draw for that takes place on February 23, after the last-32 stage has taken place.

Now, attentions turn to the Premier League, with the visit of Man United and Arsenal to Anfield in the week before Christmas.

TIA Man of the Match: Jarell Quansah


Referee: Orel Grinfeeld (ISR)

Liverpool: Kelleher; Bradley, Konate (Gomez 46′), Quansah, Chambers (Scanlon 63′); Endo (Gravenberch 46′), Elliott, Jones; Doak (Nunez 63′), Gordon (McConnell 75′), Gakpo

Subs not used: Pitaluga, Mrozek, Tsimikas, Hill, Szoboszlai, Koumas, Diaz

Union SG: Moris; Burgess, Machida, Mac Allister; Castro-Montes, Amani, Sadiki, Puertes, Lapoussin; Amoura, Nilsson

Subs: Imbrechts, Wenssens, Rasmussen, Eckert, Teklab, Rodriguez, Terho, Sykes, Huygevelde, Leysen
Subs not used: HERE

Next Match: Man United (home, Sunday 17 December)