Taking it Seriously
Well, that was thoroughly enjoyable, wasn’t it! Liverpool showed just how seriously they were taking the Europa League as they maintained their 100% start to the group stages with a hammering win over Toulouse. For what could have been a quiet Thursday night, we had five different scorers, woodwork being struck, both teams creating chances and overall a very exciting game. Three different youngsters made their debuts for the club, Endo visibly grew during the game, and it would be hard for Jurgen Klopp to be anything other than delighted with what he saw here. We look at the lessons learned from a buoyant Anfield where the hosts more than played their part.
Grav Stars Again
Hard to imagine in a 5-1 victory with different scorers that there was an indisputable man of the match. Following up an excellent showing in the derby, Ryan Gravenberch looked a class apart before his substitution and more than deserved his goal, which came in the most bizarre of circumstances. Bayern Munich will no doubt have realised the mistake they made in letting the Dutchman go, and £34 million looks like highway robbery. He went past Toulouse defenders time after time, won the ball back high up the pitch, and his mazy run was instrumental in Nunez’s goal. The 21-year-old now already has two goals and two assists in just 426 minutes. Hard to argue he’s anything but a nailed-on starter right now.
Forward Strength in Numbers
Jurgen Klopp’s forward options really do rival any managers in world football just now, and it was good for a few to send him reminders ahead of the weekend. Diogo Jota’s mazy run and finish, as well as Darwin Nunez’s left-footed smash into the roof of the net, saw them both move on to five goals apiece for the season. It was also great to see Cody Gakpo back playing after what looked like it could have been a long-term injury before the international break. While no one needed the reminder, maybe it was Mo Salah just confirming he can use his right to good effect too. We’ll all likely have our favourites and who we believe should be the starting two alongside Salah, but it’s competition that’s spurring them all on right now. Long may it continue.
Nunez Serves Up Everything… Literally
Like you, everyone else is just thinking how Darwin?!?!? The number nine had done all the hard work, having beaten the defender and rounded the keeper before inexplicably firing onto the post. Gravenberch somewhat spared his blushes, but overall it was another good showing from the Uruguayan who’s been in good form this season. Whilst it was great to see him on the scoresheet, another impressive moment was the composure in the first half to switch feet and sit down the defender and get his strike away. Shame that same composure wasn’t there in that second-half moment, but Jurgen Klopp removed him just after the hour to save legs for Forest on Sunday. Whatever you say about him…….absolute box-office.
Toulouse Wins Over Liverpool and Anfield
A joyous element of the Europa League so far has been the new away fans visiting Anfield and leaving their mark. Union SG certainly did, but Toulouse took it to a whole other level. They banged their drums and made a racket all the way from central station to the ground, just supporting their team and nothing else. This time it wasn’t the Kop where the pyrotechnics were being snuck into with a show bonfire night may struggle to match. Similarly to the Belgians, there’s a hope they’ll be as welcoming in the reverse of the fixture, and there were some great social media posts of both fans mingling together happily. Fair play to them and safe journey home.